Holiday Decor

O Christmas Tree + Capturing Bokeh

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Our family spent the weekend doing all things holiday related, from selecting and decorating our tree to shopping for gifts to attending a production of The Nutcracker. Our little ones are still true believers in Santa so we’re constantly looking for little ways to keep the magic alive and even enlisting help from our two resident elves!

We spent some time decorating the “fancy tree” in the living room – the kids have their own smaller version in the study and we split the family ornaments between this one and the kids tree. After three years of flocked white trees, I was inspired to go au naturel and return to green Douglas Fir and its desirable scent, covering it in gold, silver, and white garland and ornaments.

christmas tree and piano

This year’s tree continues the metallics + touches of green palette that began with the mantel. I was inspired by this beautiful tree at BH&G so I purchased a dozen paper moravian stars online, then painted them white.

Golden leaves, snowflakes, shimmery golden ornaments, and a medley of family favorites are also present on our tree. We reused the same wine barrel from two years ago as a basin for a rustic touch.

christmas tree decorations

christmas tree centsational girl

   

As nice as it is to see a Christmas tree in focus, we all love those beautiful bokeh shots too! I took a series of images over the course of the day and created a combination of images, turning it into a time lapse .gif – if you have a tripod, it’s easy to do, simply position your camera in one place, then take snapshots as the decorating progresses. (Photoscape has an easy .gif maker if you have a PC.)

christmas tree

 

You’ll notice there are a series of bokeh shots included. If you want to capture a bokeh shot of your Christmas tree or any holiday twinkle lights it’s a simple three step process.

First, you do need to know how to shoot in manual. To learn how, I recommend classes from Shoot Fly Shoot. Second, use a lens with a low numerical f-stop/aperture capability. I’ve mentioned my 50mm 1.8 specifically for bokeh, but for this tree shot I used this 35mm 2.0 which worked just as well.

Set your aperture at a low numerical setting (anywhere from f/1.4 to f/2.8) for shallow depth of field, then set your shutter speed and ISO so you have ample light entering the lens. The third step is to fool your camera and force it to focus on something in the forefront instead of focusing on the tree in the background.

Hold an object a few feet in front of the camera and focus the camera’s focal point on the object. Matt is demonstrating here, he’s holding up a metal bottle cap in front of the camera about 3 feet in front of the lens. Once I focused on the metal cap, he dropped his hand and I snapped the image. You’ll get larger bokeh orbs by focusing on an object closer to the lens, and smaller bokeh orbs by focusing on an object farther away from the lens. I encourage you to play with the process, it’s fun!

set up for bokeh shot

It’s that shallow depth of field and a focus on the object in the foreground that allows you to capture a tree with bokeh twinkle lights beyond.

twinkle light bokeh

That’s the simple way I capture those pretty little twinkle light orbs from a tree!

 

..

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare

Mixed Metallics Christmas Mantel

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Christmastime is here! Long time readers know Christmas is a really big deal in our house, we go all out with a big party for our friends and family each year (we’re talking 100 peeps!) and so the decking of the halls has begun!

Having recently painted the living room Rockport Gray, I started this year with the mantel. I love mixing metallic sheens and layers of white so I’m at it again. This year’s mantel is a merry and bright winter scene complete with a dash of sparkle and a bit of green.   

christmas living room centsational girl

 

mantel with branches and wreath

I reused my ancient mixed metallic wreath again because I love it so. I bought it at Target six years ago and it always ends up somewhere (see it here and here in Christmases of yore).

Glitter tape dresses up a plain vase filled with light up branches and sit next to my favorite pair of reindeer. Our Pottery Barn quilted stockings are hung with simple ornaments to embellish.

ornaments on stockings

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare

Holiday Greenery Giveaway

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

One of the most wonderful things about decorating in December is the scent from fresh evergreens on display in the home. When I come through the door, I pause and breathe in – it’s not Christmas without that smell! Fresh holiday evergreens are a wonderful gift for yourself or to send to someone on your list.

I’ve ordered evergreens for photo shoots from Lynch Creek Farm several times over the years and I love when the box arrives on my door a few days later filled with fresh greenery from the state of Washington. I ordered holly, a wreath, and garland in October to stage a few vignettes for the fabric and gift wrap lookbook and when I was done, I layered it in the living room – it lasted for weeks!

evergreen wreath and garland on mantel

This week, the kind people at Lynch Creek Farm are giving away three store credits for $75 so you can order whatever you please and have it shipped to your door in December. Winners will be announced on Sunday in time to order for holiday shipment.

lynch creek farm evergreens

Eligibility to win one of three $75 online shop credits to Lynch Creek Farm:

1) Visit Lynch Creek Farm and pick a favorite evergreen – garland, a wreath, swags, or a centerpiece, then name it in a comment here.

2) For a second chance to win, mention this giveaway on either Facebook or Twitter, then leave a second comment sharing where you linked (FB or Twitter.)

Three winners chosen at random, giveaway ends Saturday November 23, 2013 at midnight PST. By entering this giveaway you agree to this site’s giveaway policy and Official Rules of Entry.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Winners: #217 Ashley; #679 Joanne B; #904 Wendy F.

Winners notified via email.

.

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare