September 30, 2023


How Art Works

Give your bokeh Christmas aptitude with this DIY lens filter

5 min read

Feeling artful? This straightforward lens modifier is a enjoyable one for the vacations and solely takes a couple of minutes to organize. Bonus: Your children will adore it!

I really like taking pictures large open to seize lovely bokeh behind my topic: The blurry, out-of-focus blobs which are attribute of large apertures. Bokeh takes on the form of the aperture, which is why high-end lenses are constructed with plenty of curved diaphragm blades (the iris that lets gentle by the lens) to get the aperture as completely spherical as attainable.

On this DIY, nonetheless, we’re going to intentionally change the aperture form, thus sculpting the bokeh into enjoyable vacation shapes! It’s kitsch however enjoyable: In different phrases, good for Christmas. Don’t fear, this can be a non-destructive craft: No modifications to the precise lens are required, I promise.

Methods to create bokeh shapes with a large aperture lens

You’ll need:

  • A large aperture lens of no less than f/1.8, resembling a nifty fifty (50mm f/1.8 lens). The 50mm f/1.8 will work effectively for this exercise on each a full body or a crop sensor digital camera. No matter lens you select, be sure it has no less than 50mm for the focal size (longer could be much more efficient).
  • A step-up ring on your lens (a step-up ring is used to suit filters which are bigger than the lens thread). The smaller diameter of the ring must match your lens thread diameter. For those who can’t get a step-up ring, use Technique 2 under as an alternative.
  • A sheet of skinny (e.g. 2mm) black craft foam, the sort you’ll use for scrapbooking or card-making.
  • Craft knife (e.g. an X-ACTO knife or comparable).
  • Scissors and a pen.

Non-compulsory extras and alternate options:

  • For those who can’t get craft foam or a step-up ring, an A4 sheet of black cardboard and sticky tape will work (see Technique 2 under).
  • Hole punches in several shapes, small quantity of black cardboard, and glue (for Technique 3).

Technique 1: Shaping bokeh with craft foam and a step-up ring

That is the simplest technique and takes just a few minutes. Listed below are the steps:

  1. Hint the broader diameter of your step-up ring onto the craft foam.
  2. Minimize out the circle, on the within of your traced line. Fastidiously trim the perimeters till the froth circle matches firmly inside the broader diameter of your step-up ring.
  3. Within the middle of the froth circle, draw your form (e.g. star, coronary heart, and many others.). It ought to be about 1 cm in dimension. Minimize out the form with the craft knife.
  4. With the froth circle fitted within the large diameter of the step-up ring, screw the ring onto the top of your lens. Your lens ought to now be lined with the black foam, with the form cut-out within the center.

Now you’re able to shoot!

bokeh shapes

Technique 2: Shaping bokeh with a cardboard cap

For those who don’t have a step-up ring, this cardboard technique works effectively:

  1. Minimize a strip of black cardboard about 5 cm large from the lengthy aspect of your A4 sheet.
  2. Wrap the cardboard round your lens to make a tube. Tape it closed.
  3. Slide the tube off the lens and hint the top to make a “lens diameter” circle on the remaining cardboard.
  4. Draw (by hand) one other circle across the traced one, about 1 cm (half an inch) greater.
  5. Minimize out the larger circle.
  6. Snip the larger circle at common intervals, again to the “lens diameter” circle, to make tabs (see the diagram under: Minimize the dotted traces).
  7. Fold the tabs inwards in order that they sit at 90 levels to the circle.
  8. Draw and lower out your 1 cm form, as in Technique 1, in the midst of your circle.
  9. Tape the circle to the top of the tube utilizing the tabs.
Snip at intervals (dotted traces) from the surface to the interior “diameter” ring, to make tabs.

To shoot, slide the tube onto your lens in order that it’s capped by the cardboard circle.

bokeh shapes

Technique 3: Making an interchangeable bokeh shaper

For those who’re a sophisticated craftsgineer, you would possibly like to do that technique. Right here, we make cardboard “slides” with different-shaped holes, and a “bracket” on the circle to slide them in. I like this technique as a result of the outlet punches give cleaner shapes than I can lower with the craft knife. Additionally, you solely have to make one “cap” and might change the bokeh form on the fly.

You may make this bracket on both the froth circle/step-up ring modifier (Technique 1) or the cardboard cap (Technique 2).

  1. Make your cap as above, however as an alternative of reducing a selected form, lower a 1.5 cm sq. within the middle.
  2. Minimize two 0.5 cm by 3 cm strips of cardboard or foam, and glue one on either side of the sq. cutout (as per the crimson rectangles within the diagram under), to make the “bracket.” Solely put glue on the very ends of the strips (blue dots within the diagram).
  3. Minimize “slides” approx. 2 cm large x 3 cm lengthy.
  4. Punch every slide with a distinct form.
  5. When the glue is dry, push a slide below the bracket in order that the punched form of the slide is over the central sq. cut-out.
bokeh shapes
Minimize a sq. gap in the midst of your lens circle, stick two strips down for the bracket (in crimson), placing glue solely on the ends (proven in blue).

Now you might be able to shoot, and altering shapes is as straightforward as slipping one slide out and one other in.

bokeh shapes
An outdated movie canister makes a helpful and nostalgic storage case for the bokeh slides.

Subsequent time I’ll share some ideas and tips for utilizing your modifier. Till then, glad crafting!

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