Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 9, 2013

Christmas Lights Bokeh

I pinned this picture on Pinterest awhile back and totally forgot to try it last year.  I decided to give it a whirl. Looks easy, right?  Just cut a design in the center of a circle, tape it on your lens and shoot.  

Me being, well, me, (i.e., impatient and never one to read directions first) I cut out a circle with a design in the center, taped it to my lens and shot a couple of pictures.  They didn't come out good at all and I deleted them.  Then I went back to this original picture, HERE, and decided to read the comments under this picture.  Most people that tried this effect were not successful based upon the photograph.  In the comments I discovered a link HERE on how to do this correctly.  

To obtain these results you need a tripod and to manually focus and control the shutter speed.  You also need to build a little 'hood' for the camera lens (with cardstock taped around the outside of the lens).  The first circle design I tried was a heart and I shot directly at the tree lights, but I didn't control the shutter.  They look more like triangles than hearts!!

Upon closer inspection, the heart that I cut was not very good at all, and looked like a triangle.  So I cut a new design, a 3 tiered tree and the results were much better.  Again, I just used the 'flash off' setting.  I did try a shot using 'bulb' but it really made no difference except making it brighter.  

I think with some practice, and a better template - perhaps a small hole punch design - this would be a cool way of taking Christmas light pictures.


  1. Neat effect. I had to read your instructions to understand how it worked. I've taken tripod shots with special lenses, (stars, multiples) but never a home-made one. This post piqued my art side and my photo side, thanks for sharing, JoJo.

  2. What a cool effect!! I think you got pretty cool results. I don't have a tripod so if I tried it probably wouldn't work at all, but you never know!

  3. Awesome blog!!!
    Can we follow each other via gfc bloglovin and G+?

  4. What a clever idea, and I love the results. I hope you'll post more of these.

    Blessings and cheer to you, JoJo.


  5. would never have thought of that - seems to work well, too..

  6. This is so cool! I never had heard of doing this before - very neat effect JoJo!