Bokeh Tricks

To make a shot like this you need a room about 20′ long

One of the tricks you can play with Bokeh and depth of field.

To make a shot like this you need a room about 20′ long. Drape strands of Christmas lights over a door or hang them over a dark curtain at the far end. Tape or affix them in a funnel shape. Position the vase, jar, bottle, or other container on a table or TV tray mid-room, lined up with the tip of the light strand funnel shape you created.


Set up your camera on a tripod or a beanbag on a table so that it’s lined up with the vase and lights. Make sure to look over the top of your lens so you get the right perspective – move the vase, lights or table as needed to make it seem that the lights are steaming or spraying out of the vase.

Set your camera to manual, and then set the lowest f-stop combination you can with the lens you have for starting this shot. Zoom the lens to the farthest distance setting you can go with the vase in focus so that your plane of focus is right at the vase, keep adjusting until you get the vase sharply focused and the background lights blurred the right amount for the mood you want. If you create too flat a depth of field then the lights will be too blurry and smeary. You might have to move the camera closer or further away, and to get it right might take up to ten or fifteen minutes – be patient, you will find the spot. Keep the ISO on the camera at 100 or 200, you want a sharp photo of the foreground vase. Once you get the focus set, set a shutter speed of 2.5 seconds to start. Later you will adjust it for your light. Set the camera to timer or use a remote; you want to avoid camera shake.

Turn off all room lights and close all the doors and windows. Snap a picture, review it, and adjust the shutter speed to longer if the vase is too dark, or shorter if the shot is over exposed. The Christmas lights will be warmly out of focus, and the vase or jar will be sharply in focus if you did everything right.

Optional: put a mini mag light inside the vase to create a light coming out of the vase.

What I’m Listening to: July Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these so this will be a compilation of the past few months of songs I’m listening to that are relatively new. Keep in mind I am not posting the inescapable uber hits that you are going to hear anyway for the next six months because everyone already knows about Maroon5, Katy Perry, Skrillex, and Flo Rida. Also note that I’m going to try out a new Amazon widget thing that should let you hear some of the tunes if I get it right — it’ll be down at the bottom if you just want to start sampling the songs now.

Leading off is manicanparty, a new group blending African chorals and percussion into modern alternative & hip-hop in elegant and spartan arrangements. They’ve picked up a sponsorship from VEVO, and have a remix already after their video.

TuNe-YaRds is an easy followup to Manicanparty, they fit well together.

I’ve also picked up “Shiver Shiver” and two other songs from Walk The Moon, a group better known for face paints and the song “Anna Sun

Recently arrived on the tough yet tender girl punk rocker scene is Dead Sara with “Weatherman“, sounding every bit as riveting as Joan Jett.

Alt rock duo Imaginary Cities hails from Canada, and their new song “Hummingbird” is approaching sixties easy listening sounds, but in updated format.

Also noteworthy is BTR, who skillfully lifted and updated the major hooks from Blur’s “Song 2” — and hey, who didn’t like that “WOOOO HOOO” song?

The Latest Obama Derangement Syndrome Email

President Obama has made inroads with our military who at first doubted him. He’s shown that he is a competent commander in chief intent on protecting U.S. interests abroad. Witness the hostage rescue from the Somali pirates early in his term, and the continuing drone strikes that have killed many specific enemies of the US, including Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al Awlaki.

Here’s the text of the email followed by a link to the truth. Please share the Snopes page widely since outright lies like this need to be debunked immediately, and there are so many gullible people in the GOP who will automatically believe this without checking because they want to believe it.


If you are a veteran, you know.
If you are not a veteran, ask one.
I’m sure they’ll tell you.

Only 3 Times…Only 3

In all the years since D-Day, there are three occasions when the president failed
to go to the D-Day Monument that honors the soldiers killed during the Invasion.

The occasions were:

1. Barack Obama 2010
2. Barack Obama 2011
3. Barack Obama 2012

For the past 68 years, all presidents, except Obama, have paid tribute to the fallen soldiers killed on D-Day. This year, instead of honoring the soldiers, he made a campaign trip on AirForce One to California to raise funds for the upcoming election

The Truth from

Cicada Wasp

We had a Cicada Wasp die on the patio yesterday, I’m assuming one of the neighbors insect sprayed or that it ran into something. These get quite large (this one was about 2″ long) but are harmless to humans unless you try to squish them.

Cicada Wasp, "Sphecius speciosus"
Cicada Wasp, “Sphecius speciosus”

Friday Morning Moon

The moon appears bigger when it is low on the horizon, but the detail that reaches the photo sensor is not as sharp. The light has to travel through a much longer column of air to reach the camera lens so there’s much more opportunity for distortion and diffraction to effect the final photo. The clearest moon shots are when it’s directly overhead.

Friday am moon