Just Playing Around
The other day I woke up early and decided to play around with taking some pictures of the lights on the Christmas Tree.
This first image is pretty much a straight shot of the tree. I had my camera on a tripod and all the lights in the room were off except for the tree lights. I pre-focused with a room light on, then after locking the focus, I turned the room light off. It was actually pretty dim outside, but because of the long exposure, it looks like it was daylight.
I like this one because of the way the lights reflect on the presents at the base of the tree, and even though it looks bright, you can still see that the tree lights were on.
Then I tried some bokeh. I haven't done that in about 4 years and almost had forgotten the process. After a few tries, I got it. This would have looked a lot better with a foreground subject, but I still think it's kind of funky and it was fun refreshing my memory of the technique.
For this last image I used a technique that I really love--although it can't be used too much or else it's too much, if you get my drift.
I set my lens for a wide angle shot of the tree and put the camera on a slow shutter speed. I began rotating the lens before I pressed the shutter button and continued rotating the lens slowly the entire time the shutter was open. This technique yields random results, so you have to take several shots so you can have some to choose from.
Originally the bottom part of the image was practically black, which wasn't too appealing. When I put it in photoshop, I lightened all the dark areas, and that yielded some detail in the bottom area, which I think helped "make" the image.
All of these images were made while the camera was on a tripod. The last two could be done while hand-holding, but I think that by using a tripod I was able to get more pleasing images because I was shooting in such dim light and the exposure time was so long. In the past I've done both bokeh and zooming by hand-holding, but because there was more light, the results were fine.