Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shameless Bokeh Technique Rip

After playing around with some bokeh shots with Mel last week, I want to try something a little different and get a bit more creative. My shot below was nice, but didn't really "grab" me.

So after a bit of poking around the intertubes, I grabbed this idea from the guys over at about how to change the shape of the bokeh your lens produces. Neither myself or Mel have the fantastic (and expensive) lenses mentioned here, but I think with a bit of finessing we can manage something workable with what we have. This opens a lot of creative doors! Instructions:

Bokeh is an adaptation from a a Japanese word meaning blur. In photography this term is used to describe the quality of the areas in the picture which are not in focus.

When referring to Bokeh, we can distinguish some of it characteristics:
  • Is the light/dark gradient smooth or sharp?
  • What shape will a small dot of light take what it is in the Bokeh area? (mirror lenses for example, create a bagel like Bokeh)
We can play with those two variants to create a special Bokeh.

You will need:
  • One large aperture lens (a Canon 50mm 1.8 is used here, but Nikon 50mm 1.8 will also do, and the superb Nikon 50mm 1.4 will work even better)
  • One sheet of black paperboard
How to do it:
  1. Cut and shape the sheet to make a fake lens hood. The Diameter is made so that it snugly fits on the lens.

  2. In the middle of the filter the wanted bokeh shape is cut out - in out example a heart is used. I’m not sure how big a hole the shape can be. But you can check it right away by just looking through the viewfinder. On the 50mm lens @ F1.8 a 15mm heart gives a metering value equal to F3.2, so it can probably be a little bigger (you can use a puncher or cut it by hand).

  3. Set your camera to its lowest aperture value (completely open).
Regular Bokeh:

Heart Bokeh:

With coloured lighting:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lomo Bridgework

Lomo Bridgework
Originally uploaded by lensfodder
I've been wanting to take a photo that'd do this bridge justice for a while...think I might've just pulled it off.

Friday, July 17, 2009

MAKE: A Camera Bean Bag!

I sourced this from the wonderful folks at

Going to try this one out really soon!


If you've got the coordination necessary to use a camera, you can certainly handle making a beanbag tripod.

The fabric you use for the sack should be nonabrasive, tightly woven, and tough enough to withstand hard knocks and rugged use without ripping. Denim is perfect; a section of old jeans leg is ideal . . . and is half-finished before you even touch it. Just cut a piece of leg to the length you want your bean pod to be, sew one end shut, fill the resulting pouch loosely with the "beans" of your choice, and sew the top shut. (For added strength, the seams should be double- or even triple-stitched.)

Naturally, the dimensions—and to some extent, shape—of your beanbag will be determined by the photo equipment you'll use with it: A tiny rangefinder camera will rest comfortably on a 3" X 6" pant's pocket filled to a thickness of less than an inch; a massive 500mm lens attached to a motorized 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) camera body might require a large bag as much as 6 inches thick. If you'll be resting your makeshift tripod over the windowsill of your car or truck, as my friend the wildlife photographer does, give it some floppy "legs" to hang down either side of the door. And when maximum stability is your goal, think big.


For added versatility, you can make an "inflatable" beanbag by sewing a zipper into one end of the sack. (Plastic zippers are less durable than metal ones, but they're also less likely to mar expensive and delicate photo equipment.) To assure that you don't lose your beans at an inopportune moment, make several extra passes over the ends and corners of the zipper with strong thread.

This closeable opening will let you pack a virtually weightless and bulkless wad of cloth deep into the woods or to the top of a mountain—where you can fatten the slack sack with wild nuts, stream gravel, sand, dirt, or whatever natural materials are at hand—and have an instant tripod for that "I've been there and I can prove it with pictures" photo session.


A quick burst on Zipper-Sewing-Scariness!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Chase

The Chase
Originally uploaded by runnerone
Been a while since I've blogged anything up, so I thought I'd throw up this shot from the Australian F1 GP recently.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Triptychs and Halftones

Mel in Triptych
Originally uploaded by runnerone
I put this one together on the weekend after seeing the "comic book" effect on a Mythbusters episode.

How did I do it?

Once I'd cropped the image to a suitable size, I did a bit of calculating to figure oout how much room I'd need for three images to sit side by side.

Leaving a bit of extra room for a border and spacing between the three, I created a new image at the size I'd calculated.

Then in the original image, I cleaned the image up, desaturated it, applied a Cutout filter to the point that most of the detail was contrasted out, then applied a Halftone Paper filter.

Next, I copied the image into the file image I'd created earlier.

Once I was happy with the image I duplicated it into three seperate layers, and applied a coloured Fill Layer to each.

Then it's just a matter of merging the three images (once spaced appropriately) and getting the background layer colour sorted.

Finally I cropped the image where necessary and flattened it.

That's it ;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Candid Shots

Candid Street Life
Originally uploaded by runnerone
This one was taken in Beijing last year on the walk back to the hotel. It's great if you can capture people at their most relaxed.

Next up I'll be attempting a little photo-art. I've got hold of some new brushes and patterns and will be experimenting over the weekend to see what I can come up with.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bug Face

Bug Face
Originally uploaded by runnerone
Here's another angle of the same Lucky Bug.

Oh, these are apparently ranked in the top 3 of the loudest insects in the world. I'll vouch for that...