fun with apertures

So the other day as I was taking pictures of my wee Christmas tree I was reminded of how fun it can be to play with the aperture, making shapes with the bokeh.

I had my 50mm f/1.8 lens on. Quick lesson: The f/1.8 refers to the aperture value. The aperture is the hole that lets light into the camera, like the pupil in your eye. On a bright day, your pupils get smaller, but in a dimly lit room, your pupils get larger. On your camera, you need to adjust the size of the aperture like your eyes do automatically. Unless you’ve had those crazy eye drops at the eye doctor.

Anyway, I love to use a lower f-stop because you get a much softer image. I’ve been known to wipe drool off of my chin after playing with a f/1.4. Yes, the change from f/1.8 to f/1.4 is big. In the photo above, I switched my lens to manual focus and made it way out of focus because I wanted the blur. Then lowered my aperture as far as it could go (i.e. f/1.8) and got those lovely round circles of bokeh from the Christmas tree lights. If I had used a higher f-stop of f/3.5 or so, the shape of the aperture comes through and you would see hexagons rather than circles. I wanted a circles.

Then I decided I wanted hearts and stars.

So I left my lens on manual focus, made myself a few little aperture shape filters like you can buy here, and had fun!

And of course life isn’t complete with out a little birdie.

So if you have some scrap cardboard, gitcha some scissors and let the creative juices flow. Here’s the ones I made. The holes are about the size of a nickle while the cardboard around it is still big enough to cover the entire lens.

I even saw this in a video and it really made me want to get a new DSLR that captures video. Someday! You can see it here around the 1:00 mark (and other times).