focal length: 105 mm
shutter speed: 1/60
aperture: f/3.2
ISO: 1000
flash: none

I was playing with my 105mm macro lens today, or as Nikon calls it, micro lens. It behaves much differently compared to my regular zoom lenses as it had a very long focal range. My last Christmas post about Light Painting was more popular than I had anticipated, so, I decided to have a little fun capturing the lights in another way using a different technique, that I made up, and is just as easy.

Although there is nothing “in focus” in the image above, because the light blobs have fine edges, it renders a feeling that the picture is in focus and I still feel comfortable looking at it. I guess it’s a bit like an abstract photograph?

To get this look using auto-focus, I tried to “focus” on a neutral wall or ceiling to throw off the focus on purpose and let the lens hunt for a focal point. As it was hunting, I quickly pointed my camera at the tree and pressed the shutter release button down all way to snap the shot. I experimented a few times to adjust the size of the light blob by waiting for the focusing ring to adjust itself and snapping when when the size of the lights was right. I didn’t have to move myself at all as I let the lens do the “sizing” work.

Of course you can easily do this by manually adjusting the focus yourself after turning off your automatic focus. Just turn your focusing ring until you get the look you want.

You can change the look of the light circles by using a different sized aperture or add special effects to your out-of-focus highlights by changing the shape of the aperture using black paper with a cut-out of your desired shape placed over your lens.

Give it a go if you like and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. If you have any questions, please do ask!

Here are a couple other images where the lights are at different sizes:

I’m planning on printing all three images as a set to hang on the wall in our home. Festive isn’t it?

Laura is a Vancouver wedding and portrait photographer. Visit