Driving in the Rain Bokeh

We’ve had a lot of rain lately. And I drive a lot. In following the “always have your camera” advice, I’ve tried to shoot more often. A couple of weeks ago I tried something a bit different, shooting deliberately out of focus. I wanted to capture interesting bokeh patterns and water droplets. I was pretty happy with how these turned out.

Once again I shot with my trusty Nikon D5300 and my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 – wide open. These are minimal edits – some cropping to get rid of the dashboard or mirror. I’m not the most creative person so I thought it would be good to try something different.

Disney Coffee Cup Bokeh

One thing I really like about the online photography community is the willingness to share great photo ideas, tips for post processing, and software tutorials. Sure, some of the authors are trying to sell something by offering a cool tutorial or plug-in set for free, but most of the time, I find the content really helpful. I usually at least check out what it is they’re trying to sell.

Whether the tutorial is someone’s effort to get their work “out there”, or sell something, sometimes you run across something to try. In my case, I thought I’d try a coffee cup bokeh trick using just a few items: my trusty Nikon D5300, tripod, Disney coffee cup, and a string of lights. I’d seen this done a few times before, but seeing this again on Pinterest this week led me to do this again.

Disney Coffee Cup Bokeh (5 of 5).jpg
35 mm, ISO 125, f/1.8, 1/10 sec

The weather this week was terrific – until the weekend! I’d been wanting to shoot something, anything, but didn’t feel like getting out in the rain. Soon I’ll try that again. My ¬†foray into shooting a rainy commute to work will have to wait until another post.

Nothing too tricky here – position the light string far enough behind the cup to get some nice bokeh, and make it look like the lights are coming from the cup. I shot this in a fairly dark room to add a late-night, comforting feel. Or tried to, anyway.

After shooting, I brought this into Lightroom, and really didn’t make any edits other than adding a little vignette. I also shot in manual mode (with Autofocus though!), because I’m trying to get away from Auto mode. I may never totally do that, but I want to get more of an idea how a shot will turn out before I start working on it in Lightroom or Photoshop, and the only way I know to do that effectively is to force myself to use Manual mode when I can.

I’ve seen this done with champagne flutes, wine glasses, you name it. Give it a try. It’s a great rainy day/evening project you can do with minimal setup and gear.