Christmas Tree Light Bokeh


Out-of-focus lights on our Christmas tree create an interesting look known as bokeh

Out-of-focus lights on our Christmas tree create an interesting look known as bokeh. And yes, I meant for this photo to look like this. Because sometimes it is fun to do something a little different.

I was looking for things to photograph on our Christmas tree. As the camera was taking its time focusing, I saw this view through the viewfinder and immediately liked it. You probably see photos like this every year around this time, but I don’t believe I have ever posted one before. So here you go.

This photo is a good example of bokeh. What is bokeh, you might ask? I thought you might. So here is an answer from Wikipedia:

In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.


Sometimes you see bokeh as the background part of a photo because it does create a pretty cool background effect. But here, I decided to make it the main focus (so to speak) of the photo. Nice and colorful, too!

How To

It is actually pretty easy to do something like this. It works best with a lens with a wide aperture, such as the f/1.8 lens that I used. But it will actually work with most lenses.

All I did was set the camera to manual focus. Then I turned the focus ring until everything was way out of focus. And then I pressed the shutter button. That was it. Nothing more to it than that. In fact, for this photo, I did not even do any processing at all. What you see is the photo straight out of the camera, except for the watermark, of course.

If you have an object in the foreground that you want to keep in focus, that takes a little more effort. That is also much easier to do with a prime lens with a wide aperture, to be able to have a shallow depth of field so that the foreground is in focus while the background is blurry enough to produce the bokeh effect.

But as I stated, if you just want a completely blurry photo, that is pretty easy to do. I can even do that without trying sometimes! But that is another story.

Bible Verse

Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. - Zechariah 1:3

About the Photo

Not all that much else to say besides what is above. This does take some setting of your camera, mainly in getting the largest aperture setting possible, which corresponds to the lowest f-stop number. And also turning off automatic focus. But that’s about it.

Photo: A single Raw exposure. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 50mm f/1.8
Date: December 4, 2019
Location: Home, Williston, Tennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.