Ben Durham

Out-of-focus Christmas lights (bokeh) photos

multicoloured string lights, out of focus

Where we shot

Sometimes you want a variety of bokeh, but you don’t have enough samples. Natalia and I went out the other day because we needed a bunch of our own Christmas lights bokeh samples. So, here’s a gallery of high quality, high resolution, downloadable bokeh photos!

Learning the equipment

This was a “learning” photoshoot for Natalia and very purposeful! I’ve done many, many shoots before but I’ve never actually gone out to do a shoot specific photos like these. For those who aren’t sure of what “bokeh” is, here’s the Wikipedia definition:

In photography, bokeh (/ˈboʊkə/ BOH-kə or /ˈboʊkeɪ/ BOH-kay; Japanese: [boke]) is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.

My expensive Sony A7Sii full-frame camera is being retired in place for the robust cropped sensor Canon 90D.

Technically, this is a camera downgrade… but it’s more of the tool for the job in my case. We borrowed an 18-300mm variable aperture lens from a friend… which -again- isn’t the best. But it’s what we had, so that’s what we used. I would’ve preferred to just use an f/1.8 50mm lens (which is about an 85mm on Canon’s 1.6x crop factor), but I actually sold mine off a while ago when I’d decided to switch entirely to Sony systems. I’ll be grabbing another Canon 50mm soon, now that I’m switching back to the Canon system.

Photo details

The images have been exported from Lightroom at 72 PPI, 90 percent quality, and “long edge” 4000px. We shot at fairly high ISOs (2000-3000 ISO because of the super slow lens), so the images are a bit grainy. But if you use the “Noise Reduction” tool in Lightroom, that can go away very easily. Otherwise, the noise is honestly kinda pretty! It’s like old film grain. If you want any of the DNG files, let me know in the comments or contact me directly. Cheers!

Download instructions

Below are five galleries (multi-coloured, Christmas tree, blue, yellow, and mall lights). You can click on each photo to be brought to its link. Then you can “Save As” to download the one(s) you want.

Sample galleries

Multi-coloured Christmas lights bokeh

Christmas tree lights bokeh

Blue Christmas lights bokeh

Yellow Christmas lights bokeh

Mall lights bokeh

Natalia and I are a fan of the “lines” of lighting in the first image here. Kinda resembles something you’d see in a futuristic sci-fi movie! Might shoot more of those in the future!

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ben in red shorts on a yellow ebike in a snow storm with a bright yellow jacket on, laughing

Ben Durham

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Just an average person on a bike who’s focused on getting more people out of their cars and on to bicycles or electric last-mile micro-mobility solutions!

That, and rooting for active transportation infrastructure upgrades in North America (we need to catch up)!

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