C is for…

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R, who was out on the razz last night while I sat at home all on my own (sob), arrived back in this morning and bore me off out to Stratford for a soothing bowl of vegetarian pasta at Carluccio’s, before the madness of the approaching meat feast. All carbed up, we then yomped around town doing errands, one of mine being to try to find some small templates with which to make bokeh cut-outs, and though I didn’t find exactly the thing I was looking for, we did come home with a bag of foil shapes – one of which R used to cut me the small star I’ve employed here.

I know that some of you are interested in trying this sort of fartnarklery, so I thought I’d set down some of the things I’ve learned. If nothing else, it may stop me having to reinvent the wheel next Christmas.

1. Telephoto lenses work better than wide angles – or even the nifty fifty, which I had thought might give the crispest bokeh, but didn’t. I used my 90mm macro here.

2. Cut the smallest shape you can – the star I used here is 2.5cm from point to point, but an even smaller one would have been better yet.

3. Use your widest aperture – this is probably self-evident, but I did play a little just to check, and confirmed it.

4. Your subject should be a fair distance in front of your back lighting – but you’ll also need to be a reasonable distance in front of the subject, because with a small cut-out you get quite significant vignetting. You can see it here, but because it doesn’t cut into the subject I could easily pretend that I’d added it for effect.

And that’s it. Simples!