It’s easy to get addicted to the soft, surreal look bokeh provides. Transforming light outside of the focal point into fantastic abstraction is the perfect companion for any portrait photographer looking to eliminate foreground and background distractions. In this tutorial, Mathieu Stern offers his unique brand of creativity in a hack that brings explosive bokeh bursts into your composition to create a picture brimming with life:
The only thing necessary to recreate his fantastic looks is a lens you wouldn’t mind parting with. In this example, Stern dissects a MIR-1B 37mm f/2.8 lens, an inexpensive third party Russian model available online. Any sort of lens will work for this particular hack, but you’ll likely want to opt for a cheaper lens. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to risk damaging equipment worth hundreds of dollars for a modification that may very well be irreversible.
Once you have your lens in hand, do as Stern demonstrates and remove the outer plastic element that holds in the front lens element. This can be done by carefully prying with a pointed object. Once you’ve successfully gotten it out of place, all there is to do is flip the lens piece and reinsert it into the device.
When changing the angle of the convex lens piece in comparison to the series of glass pieces already inside of the camera, you’ll notice an immediate difference in the looks produced by the lens itself. Though you’ll lack the ability to sharply focus on everything within the image, the out of focus edges will beautifully capture bokeh to frame the existing central focal point.
Of course, the modified lens will be fully functional during the daytime as well as the night. However, for those looking to incorporate the night’s sparse bokeh into moody portraiture and still lives, this is just the trick for you; this simple adjustment produces dreamlike results you won’t be able to get enough of.
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