Photo Ideas # 3 of 10: More Photo Tricks Using Plastic Wrap!
In the last blog post I described a method for placing plastic wrap, cling film, cellophane, or even a plastic bag in front of a camera lens to add a soft focus look to an image. While photos made using this technique are not of the same optical quality as those made using specialized glass filters, the technique works with any type of camera. It’s also a fun and an inexpensive way add a distinct, dreamy or soft focus look to certain images.
By making a small change to that same plastic material, I have used a similar technique to draw the viewer’s attention to a certain area within a photo. Bokeh is a photographic term in which one area in a photo is clear and in sharp focus while the remainder of the photo is less so. While all cameras can produce images in which everything in the scene is in focus, some professional-level camera lenses have the ability to produce bokeh in which only one part of the scene is in sharp detail. (Technically this is done by using a lens capable of a large aperture setting, such as f2 or f1.8). Below is an example of an image in which only the two horses are in sharp focus.
Occasionally I want to create a bokeh-like effect with a lens that lacks the capability. And, to do so I use a variation of the idea presented in the last post. This is also something you do on your own, but it works best with cameras that have larger size lenses such as DSLR cameras and certain point-and-shoot. Begin by cutting a small hole roughly .5 inches (12.7 mm) in diameter in the center of some several layers of plastic wrap, cling film or cellophane and then hold it in front of the camera lens. If you then preview your image by looking through the viewfinder or LCD screen you will notice that one area of the scene is in sharp focus (the area revealed by the hole in the plastic) while the remainder is not. By varying the size and shape of the hole you can vary the size and shape of the area that remains in focus. Here are two examples made using this technique.