Monday, December 20, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright

On Saturday night, after a wonderful, cozy day in the house, we got ourselves out to go into Monza - I wanted to capture the lights. I must be honest, I wasn't feeling too inspired by them. I know, shocking, but even with me sometimes that happens. So I played around with creating some intentional bokeh by shooting out of focus. It wasn't until I got home and saw the two images  side-by-side in the computer, out of focus and in focus, that I really got excited. Sometimes something new just hits you out of the blue - I wondered if I could combine them for an interesting effect. What you see above is the result, and I love it.

Here's how I did it...I started with the "out of focus" bokeh photo in Photoshop Elements, this one:
Then I pulled the "in focus" one in, this one, as a layer above the "out of focus" photo:
I combined them by using a blending mode of soft light, at 75%. Finally, I stretched and tilted and adjusted the "in focus" photo until the stars closely overlayed the "out of focus" ones. These were taken handheld, so while they were taken from the same location and angle with the same zoom, they are slightly different compositions and needed to be matched up. If I had used a tripod (heaven forbid!), I would not have needed this last step.

I tried lots of different blending modes and opacities, they all came out slightly different - the one I'm sharing today is the one I liked best. Let me know what you think!

I interrupt my regularly scheduled participation in 9 Muses Musing because I wanted to share this photo for Sweet Shot Tuesday and Touch Up Tuesday. And, to be honest, I also didn't have anything specific in mind for today's prompt of FAMILY. :) Be sure to stop by and see all the other shared stories on FAMILY  at Mortal Muses though! Tomorrow's prompt is CANDLE.


  1. Wow - you're so clever! This is amazing. I'm thinking of all the out of focus photos I've taken - most of them :-) and how I can turn them into masterpieces. That's me busy for Christmas!

  2. Beautifully done :-)

    Merry Christmas!

  3. So interesting! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  4. that is really neat. i love it!

  5. Really fabulous technique. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. Very interesting photo and how to! I love my easy to use digital camera combined with Picknik, which is also easy to use. During my current season of life, that's the perfect "speed" for me. But someday, I would love to delve into Photoshop so I really appreciate these tips. :)

  7. I love how you have done these.

  8. So nicely done Kat, and it is beautiful!

  9. Beautiful - I love the composition!


  10. Wow - I love this idea. Beautiful

  11. Awesome idea! I took some Christmas light pics last week and liked my bokeh shots better then the in-focus ones... but thanks to you, I may need to play around and combine some of them... Thanks!


  12. i love the bokeh versions so much. yes looking up is very good this time of year.


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