Project Alicia : WW: Twinkling Lights & Bokeh Tips

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WW: Twinkling Lights & Bokeh Tips

Often times we paint a beautiful picture... when the reality behind the blog is anything but.

I prefer to focus on the beauty, but when life becomes busy and chaotic this becomes a bit of a challenge. So, if you haven't heard from me lately this may be why. I'd rather not blog than whine...

I'm healthy. I'm blessed with a roof over my head. I have beautiful children. Hubs was even home for Christmas this year.

But I've had to say no to many of our annual holiday traditions. I'm still working to get us situated in our temporary home, knowing full well I could be doing this same thing in a year. We have had multiple techs out to fix the appliances in the kitchen. And Little Man has not taken well to the pet dander in this rental and we have been working like crazy to make our home safe for him. Life is not without obstacles. And there are times I feel overwhelmed. Blogging has taken a backseat to the pressing issues in my life.

Forgive me. I'm human.
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Now on to the regularly scheduled post...

Hope you aren't sick of Christmas pics yet.

I'm happy to report in spite of the chaos, I got a tree up. There is nothing better at Christmastime than sitting and watching those twinkling lights.
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It makes everything else melt away, if just for those few moments...

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It also makes for the best bokeh. I haven't had much practice with this technique, but I had fun playing with my camera settings. I found my 50mm to work well.

Five Bokeh Tips
1. Use a lens that allows for the highest possible aperture. I put the f-stop at f/1.8 (on aperture priority mode). This allows for a shallow depth of field, making the background blurry.
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2. The lower the aperture (higher the f-stop) the less round the bokeh will be. It's ok, just a little different. It could be fun to get more extreme with your settings...
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3. Choose a focal point in the foreground. The closer the better. The further away from the tree the subject is, the larger the bokeh will be.
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4. If your lighting is poor, use a tripod and/or lamp for additional light on your subject.
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5. Get creative while you break all the conventional photo rules to get a beautiful out-of-focus photo. The possibilities are endless.
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If you have a DSLR and haven't given it a whirl, you should.

Thanks to Jenny Rain for the inspiration. I still have much to learn before I master this, but what fun.

Psst... guess what I got from Santa?
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If you guessed a fisheye lens, you would be right. I snapped it on and this was the first shot captured as Little Man was bringing me a present from under the tree. Not exciting, but I'm really looking forward to getting it outside and really playing with it.

I didn't take many photos, but I'm happy for the few memories captured of our first Christmas in South Carolina.

I hope that ya'll had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Happy WW! Let's get this party started. Grab a photo and come join me! Just link your post below.
And feel free to stop by some of my favs...


and then, she {snapped}The Paper MamaLive and Love...Out Loudseven clown circusBetter in Bulk NapTime MomTog Live, Love, TRAVEL




67 comments:

  1. Great tips, Alicia.
    And, what a fabulous gift for you!!!! Love your photos, looking forward to all the beauty you'll capture in 2012!!
    HUGS!!!

    Tammi
    My Organized Chaos

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  2. Love these photos, Lish! And great bokeh tips too. Glad that you're still afloat in the crazy sea of life. Been thinking about you...

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  3. I've missed your posts. I hope everything is getting better every day. Lovely bokeh. I tried it this year and loved the effects. Heart shaped is my favorite.

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  4. Hope things get sorted out for you soon. Blessed Christmas and have a Happy New Yr! :)

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka
    Join in: Wordless Wednesday Linky Party

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  5. Beautiful shots! I'm sorry things are hard right now. I don't know if we've talked about living in SC before. I live in Lexington and have for about 7.5 years. Let me know if you have any questions about this great state (said with a hint of sarcasm, but mostly love for the state).
    Sarah:)

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  6. My dear Lish,

    I hope everything will become perfect for you and your family soon! I´m glad your husband was home for Christmas! I love how the Christmas tree looks blurry in the background. I need to get a better camera so I can take pictures like yours. Well, my birthday will soon come. ;D

    Have a wonderful and happy new year! You deserve it!

    xoxo
    Verena

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  7. thanks for the linky and for linking with me, those pictures are beautiful

    Ces of http://momdaughterstyle.blogspot.com/

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  8. Thanks for hosting,such beautiful photo,Happy New year :)

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  9. those are so beautiful trying the bokeh out..and sorry for linking up twice gah!!!

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  10. how fun! I will be interested to see what kind of shots you get with your fish eye lens. my friend heidi got a super wide angle lens a while back and I didn't think I wanted one until I saw what she could do with it. Good luck getting settled into your new home as well. xxoo

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  11. Beautiful photos!

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2011/12/wordless-wednesday-pampered-chef.html

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  12. thanks for the tips. I wonder if my P+S sony cybershot has any of this? I keep experimenting with things, but then I forget what I did on what photo! I hope you get the pet dander down, is it in the carpets or draperies? maybe some steam cleaning. You did an amazing jog getting unpacked & decorated in time for the holidays.

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  13. Moving is incredibly stressful and you've done it already twice this year. No wonder you are feeling overwhelmed. Hopefully you will feel settled in before too long. Interesting effect with the lights. Have fun with your fish eye.

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  14. oh so lovely!! thanks for sharing them :)

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  15. Lovely bokeh Christmas pictures.. I'm so dying to get a DSLR so that I'll be able to play around with different lenses.

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  16. Lovely Christmas pictures!

    Wishing you all the best and less chaos in 2012!!!

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  17. I hear you about the pressures of life, blog taking a backseat bit. Nonetheless, gorgeous holiday shots! And, I hope the dander situation gets better...

    Gillian from Baby Talk without the Babble

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  18. oh my.... as always, your photos are amazing, but I absolutely love the couple in front of the tree! You are such an amazing photographer, and I hope you have fun with your new fisheye lens, I'm totally jealous! hehe ^.^
    -Samantha
    www.kreativekaring.com

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  19. "Blogging has taken a backseat to the pressing issues in my life.

    Forgive me. I'm human."

    ================

    No need to ask forgiveness. It's called setting priorities, and it sounds like you have your priorities down correctly. I am glad you were able to get some nice holiday photos, and will keep you and your family in my prayers as you continue to get things straightened out. Moving *can* be a real pain (last time I moved, we got hit with a major hurricane less than a month later!) - but, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

    Happy WW, and Happy New Year!

    ~EdT.

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  20. Beautiful Photos! Now my son wants pics of his lego guys in front of the tree =)

    I hope everything works out. Fighting allergies is so hard.

    Enjoy the fish eye!

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  21. I do hope everything pans out. I know a lot about pet dander. When we moved in here, my allergies were pretty bad! I paid to have the ducts cleaned. That helped a lot. Moving alone is a lot of stress and changes. Some good changes, some not so good.

    Your photos are amazing. So fun that you got a new lens to play with!

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  22. I certainly understand how life and blog sometimes don't work well together. You'd be forgiven whining right now because moving is very whining worthy. I'm so glad to read your tips on bokeh. I just tried this for the first time, and now I want to try it again using your tips.

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  23. Sorry to hear things aren't as they should be yet. Hang in there!

    Your bokeh pictures are beautiful! I'm surprised you've not practiced this before. I certainly can't tell from your photos. :)

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  24. I LOVE bokeh, and Christmas is the perfect time for these beautiful photos. Happy holidays!

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  25. Just gorgeous! You've really captured all the magic and beauty of Christmas season in those pics, Alicia! I LOVE the first picture especially...

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  26. I could never be sick of Christmas pics. These are beautiful! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

    Diana - Toronto Teacher Mom

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  27. So true!! Christmas trees and twinkly lights make everything quite a bit better. Glad you're settling in, sorry that it's been so tough!

    Happy WW! Gorgeous pics! I love bokeh :)

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  28. I came by from Kim's blog...I love the top image and the one with the sheet music...very well done!

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  29. I don't understand bokeh beyond the fact that Picnik can make that effect but gosh you do wonders with it! And please know that human is okay - it seems like almost everyone I talk to is in that same overwhelmed boat (even without the move, etc. etc.). Take care and thanks for sharing with us - enjoy your fisheye!!

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  30. your bokeh shots are really wonderful!!

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  31. Thanks for the wonderful photos -- as always -- & the great information about "bokeh," which I'd never heard of before. (In a graduate Japanese printmaking class, we were introduced to the concept of "bokashi," which is the blurring of colors into each other to create a smooth gradient, as would be seen in the sky at dawn or dusk; I suppose the two words/concepts come from a common root.) Happy New Year to you & your family!

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  32. Beautiful photos Alicia! So excited for you for your new lens! Those are so fun to play with! Happy WW!

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  33. Those are beautiful - I think you can stop learning more :) Love the first one and the one with the notes. Wishing you less stress for 2012!

    Link up your Christmas post to my Xmas post Linky!

    Dagmar
    Dagmar's momsense

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  34. You are such a good sport for always taking the time to post WW even in all this madness that is your life right now. I hope 2012 treats you and yours good, is full of surprises, happiness and little wonders. And lots and lots more photos like these! Happy New Year.

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  35. Beautiful images. I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling, I hope things fall into place and you're all feeling more settled soon.

    -----------------------------------
    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography on etsy and Society6 and bring home something beautiful today!

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  36. I hope you can get everything on track in the house soon - been there too so I know how physically and mentally exhausting the whole thing can be.

    Congrats on the new lens - I'm looking forward to seeing how you use it as I'm undecided about getting a fish eye or an ultra wide.........maybe I need both LOL.

    Love your bokeh shots especially the one with the sheet music - I think all I've used my 50mm for this Christmas has been to get bokeh.

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  37. Thanks for the tips - can't wait to try them with my new camera! Good luck with the house and everything {{{hugs}}}, and hope 2012 is a happier, calmer year for you :)

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  38. Thanks for the tips on the bokeh. I will try for sure. Good luck with getting settled. ((HUGS))

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  39. Dander would do JDaniel in! His allergy to pet fur makes him sneeze, cough, and wheeze!

    Your pictures are lovely.

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  40. I know how you feel. I prefer honesty when I read blogs, so I love that you share what is really going on in your world. Your photos are beautiful and magical. Thank you for sharing both the beauty and the not-so-beautiful. Merry Christmas!

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  41. Fantastic photos ty for sharing :-)

    Happy New Year to you and your family :-)

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. Oops. Meant to say

    Great tips. Thank you Alicia. :)

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  44. All the twinkle lights make me want to go back and relive Christmas!

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  45. These are all beautiful - and get yourself some rest (I'm trying to do so myself) - I know life is keeping you busy and we'll still be here when it slows down.

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  46. These are seriously gorgeous. Sorry about the pet dander. Hopefully you all can get that taken care of.

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  47. These are so gorgeous!! I really need to learn how to take pics like this in low light. Mine always end up so yellow!

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  48. So sorry to hear about all the troubles Lish & that they don't seem to have gotten any better since we last talked about them. Still praying for you all that these transition hurdles will ease.

    The decorations look beautiful, the bokeh so scrumptious & can't beat getting a new lens to play with. :)

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  49. Beautiful bokeh! I had fun practicing with Christmas lights this year! I haven't had time to post the pictures, but oh well!

    Hooray for a new lens. It always makes for more fun photography!

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  50. LOVING your bokeh shots!! so pretty and I can't wait to see more pics from your new lens!! how exciting!!

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  51. Love the bokeh shots! I wish I had more time to practice this holiday season.

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  52. Hi there, I found you VIA mama to 4 blessings WW hop
    hope you can spare a minit to check out my blog and follow ...
    I'm fairly new and truly appreciate EVERY follower I can get
    You can Check me out here;
    http://krystylco.blogspot.com/

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  53. Gorgeous photos... As always! I don't think blogging about your troubles would be whining, though! Your readers care about you, and your friends will support you when times are hard... :) Hang in there, girl! Keeping you in my prayers!

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  54. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos! And your house looks amazing! My goodness, I don't know how you did it all?!

    Yea for the new lens - what fun :)

    Wishing you many blessings of peace and joy in the New Year!! :)

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  55. 1-congrats on surviving the move and all of its challenges.
    2- love the photos and the tutorial too. You inspire me.
    3-congrats on the new lens.
    4-hugs lots of hugs and wishes for a very happy new year!

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  56. Beautiful Christmas Pics. My life has been really stressful and it was so hard to be happy this Christmas but I agree with you-there were moments of peace and content with all the lights out looking a the Christmas tree. It's not much. But it's something.

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  57. Beautiful photos.

    Visiting late for WW. Happy New Year!

    Simply Delicious

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  58. I love the richness of the colors!!! so pretty!

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  59. Your bokeh is gorgeous - I love the one with the beaded tree in it! I'm sending my wishes for a Very Happy New Year!

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  60. Love the tips and love your photos! The ones with the red in them provide such a beautiful contrast with the white bokeh. Thank you for sharing!

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  61. wishing you and yours a very happy new year!

    your blog/photography is truly fabulous!

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  62. So glad to hear from you. Thinking of you as the New Year begins and hoping your move has a huge silver lining and blessings you did not expect.

    Tiffany

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  63. Beautiful photos.Just beautiful.

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