Soon, very soon, the party will be over. All the presents will be opened, and you will sit in the peace that is Christmas Day evening. What to do? You spent a lot of time on those decorations, so have a little fun with the lights before you rip them down. If you own a DSLR camera or any camera that will allow manual focusing or adjustments to shutter speed, you can create some really cool photos. The trick to getting that nice bokeh (out of focus balls of light) in the background is for the Christmas lights to be completely out of focus.
“That’s great”, you say, “but why do I care about a blurry Christmas tree photo?” Stick with me here. Now place a loved one in front of the Christmas tree. Bring them forward farther than you normally would so that there is a greater distance between the subject and the lights of the tree.
NOW! On to fun with a slow shutter speed! If you are less familiar with manual settings on your DSLR camera, place it in “s” for shutter priority. Bring the shutter speed down to 1 second. This is VERY slow. The shutter will be open for one full second. Most of the time if you are shooting outside, the camera may be working at 1/2000 of a second or faster. Point the camera in the direction of some lights. It doesn’t matter now whether they are in focus or not. Press the shutter button and move the camera. The results are so much fun!
I hope this inspires you as you take a last look at your holiday lights. Grab your kids. Get the camera. Take some soothing bokeh photos to remember your 2012 Christmas and some fun disco light photos in honor of 2013.