A Great Lens for Bokeh

December 13th, 2012

On Tuesday night I was having a nice chat with some blog friends (Marian, Maria, and Cathe) at Marian’s book signing in my hometown and we were discussing blogging and photography, and the consensus was a that a 50mm 1.8 lens (or the more expensive 1.4) is a great blogger tool for those desirable beauty shots.

The 50mm is a fixed focal length (or “prime”) lens with wider aperture capability (refer to this post for a more in depth explanation on aperture.)  I bought my 50mm lens last December as an early Christmas present because I wanted the ability to snap pretty close-ups and to take Christmas tree bokeh pictures like this.  The ones with those pretty twinkle light orbs!

twinkle light bokeh

This image was taken with the little bowl of ornaments 7 feet away from the tree of twinkle lights and me positioned another 4 feet away from the bowl.   Camera settings with 50mm lens:  f/stop 1.8,  shutter speed 1/40,  ISO 800.

If you don’t know how to use or change the Manual setting yet, get ready to learn how with these fabulous online videos for visual learners that I’ve mentioned before offered by Shoot Fly Shoot.  Once you know how to change the aperture (or f-stop) to a wider setting, you’re all set to take great holiday bokeh shots, but it only works when you have a lens with that capability.

Kit lenses don’t go below a 3.5 f-stop, so you’ll achieve beautiful bokeh and shallow depth of field when you invest in a lens that allows you to go to a wider aperture of 2.0 or lower numerical setting.  A really nice affordable version is the 50mm f/1.8, offered for both Nikon and for Canon and for less than $125. 50 mm for canon and nikon

 

The lens isn’t just great for those pretty orbs in the background at Christmastime, it’s perfect for all those beauty shots where you want to achieve shallow depth of field beyond your subject matter (where the background or foreground beyond your focal point is blurred).

 

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Spicing Up Subway Tile

December 12th, 2012

Mid week greetings friends!  Today I bring you a topic we all love to chat about, home improvement that beautifies spaces!  I’ve invited contributing writer Liz from It’s Great to Be Home back to share her insight on spicing up a design classic: subway tile.   You all know Liz as a talented home remodeler, and she’s a wealth of information on everything from structural changes to cosmetic upgrades.  Please welcome back Liz!

“Hey there, peeps. Let’s talk tile today!  It seems that you can hardly look at a kitchen or bathroom in a design magazine or on without seeing subway tile. That little 3 x 6 inch white tile has a well-earned reputation for being the “little black dress” of tile – it goes with everything, never goes out of style, and can be dressed up or down. Sounds pretty great to me!

spice up subway tile

 

Traditionally, subway tile is installed in an offset brick pattern, end on end in staggered rows.

classic white kitchen

House and Home

 

classic subway tile in bathroom

Southern Living

 

While this is a timeless look, what do you do if you want to spice up your space with a fresh twist?   Here are six options!

1.   Changing the color of the grout that surrounds your subway tile is one option which makes a graphic statement. 

white kitchen backsplash gray grout

Veranda Interiors

 

gray grout white tile

Design*Sponge

Tip: Use a shade of gray for the grout – darker gray will have a more dramatic impact but will also highlight any imperfections in your tile job.  Avoid grout in shades of tan when working with subway tile – it will just look dirty.  (I may have learned this one the hard way!)

 

 

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