“Bokeh” is a Japanese term for the “out-of-focus” areas of a photo. It is a wonderful effect in photos from the simple blurring of backgrounds to the blurring of shapes and lights. It becomes even more fun when you get to make your own shapes such as Mickey. During the holidays, I was inspired to make my own DIY camera filter to turn all of Disneyland’s bright lights into magical, Mickey-shaped bokeh. I was finally able to make my very own filter and use it at the parks. All things considered, it is very simple to make for a one-time use in the parks. (It is made out of paper, so depending on the state of your filter by the end of the day, you can use it more than once).
Without further ado, let’s get to construction!
Constructing your own Mickey bokeh filter
- Cardstock/Construction/Magazine Paper
- Pen/Marker/Pencil to trace with
- Hole Puncher
- Lens Cap
- Rubber band
- Trace your camera’s lens cap onto a sheet of paper. (In terms of paper, I recommend using a thick, glossy magazine cover. This worked best for me in terms of durability and practicality.) 2. Cut out the shape of the cap leaving three rectangular ends as so.
3. In the middle, use a hole-puncher to create a Mickey shape. If the hole puncher cannot extend to the middle, cut a hole then glue another piece of paper with the hole-punched Mickey shape on top.
Using your own Mickey bokeh filter
Place the filter over your lens using a rubber band to secure it in place. Make sure you are on manual focus. This lets you control the size and clarity of the Mickey bokeh. Also, it is recommended to be further away from the subject and to use a long focal length, a wide aperture, and a slow shutter speed. Of course, this all varies depending on the amount of available light and other atmospheric conditions. Just keep shooting, play around with the settings, and have fun!
I personally tested my filter at the park and discovered that it works best on bulbous lights like those on Main Street, the Jolly Holiday, and at Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters! For this particular visit, I only photographed the lights themselves. I look forward to experimenting with the filter later by using a wider lens and live subjects in front of the Mickey bokeh.
Make your own Mickey bokeh filter and discover a new way to photograph the parks! Sends us your pictures @DisneyExaminer on Twitter and Instagram!
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