Photo Project Challenge – Christmas Bokeh

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not you have got to appreciate all of the joyful decorations strewn about this time of year.  I for one set up my Christmas tree about two months before Christmas.  Of course, by setup, I mean pull it fully decorated out of the unused shower stall in my office and plug it in…  It’s a man thing.  I couldn’t imagine delicately pulling each ornament from its Tupperware resting place each year and hanging it ever so carefully on the tree, mostly because they all stick to one another and it makes me want to fling them out of the window in a less than Christmas spirited way.  I digress…

PPG Plaza Ice Rink
Ice skaters at PPG Plaza Ice Rink

Now that we have nailed down that fact that everyone can appreciate a good Christmas decoration, no matter their race, creed, or religious beliefs…  Let’s talk about creating some photographs!  Every year I approach this season determined to create unique images of the season that captures its beauty but without being redundant.  Every year this gets more and more difficult with the copious amounts of photographs being taken and uploaded to the deep dark internet every minute of every day.  So, this year I decided to take a new approach.

Point State Park Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree made of lights taken from Point State Park in Pittsburgh

I decided that since everything looks so similar when you photograph in popular areas, the areas with the most beautiful decorations, that I would throw my camera out of focus for each shot.  The interesting thing about shooting out of focus like this is that because there is such a large area of variation between focus and out of focus you end up with a large number of variations of the same scene to choose from.

Point State Park Christmas Tree
Close up of the “tree” at the Point State Park in Pittsburgh.

The challenge I have for you is to join me in this Christmas Bokeh Project by uploading your out of focus bokeh images to the PhotolisticLife Flickr page and I will feature the best ones on PhotolisticLife.  Please only upload images you have taken since reading this article, let’s not raid our photo archives for this one.


Are you a creative soul?  Do you have photography ideas that you think readers would find interesting?  PhotolisticLife is looking for someone like you, someone to head up a weekly photography challenge right here on the site.  Email us at if you’d like to share your creative genius with the rest of the world.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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2 replies on “Photo Project Challenge – Christmas Bokeh”
  1. says: Becky

    Ok so normally I capture bokeh by focusing on something in the foreground with a large aperture and it blurs the background much like the chainlink fence with the hole in it from week 2 of Photo 365. This does not seem to be the approach you took with the photos here. Did you deliberately manually set out-of-focus?

    1. says: John Barbiaux

      Yes, I used manual focus and then rotated the focus ring until I had the effect I was looking for. It gives the same result as focusing o something close to the lens with a wide aperture only there is nothing in focus in the foreground.

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