33 Jul 1992My sister and I, very pleased with my new walkman.


How to Bokeh

Bokeh ay, I’ve been meaning to try it out for over a year, and now I’ve finally cracked it. It was much easier and much more fun than i first imagined. I’m not at all skilled with manual photography, and this was relatively easy for me.

Bokeh is a work used to describe two things:

1. Photographing something in crisp focus with the background blurred (bit boring)

2. The exciting kind, where you photograph lights using a lens cut into a shape, i.e. hearts, triangles, lightening bolts, arrows and each separate light becomes that shape.

The type of Bokeh I’ve experimented with is the second kind, and I make this the focus of my images. Most bokeh has the focus on an object in the foreground, but I just love the light being in different shapes, and got a bit carried away with this. I’ll call it ‘level 1 bokeh’!

So I made a tutorial of how you make your own Bokeh lens:

Here’s what you need: your camera, masking tape, a scalpel, scissors, thin cardboard (half a cereal box is perfect) and a pencil

1. Draw around the lens of your camera

2. Cut the circle out, leaving 1/2 an inch of extra circumference

3. Then use the cardboard to cut a seperate  2-inch wide strip of cardboard which will fit around the side of your lens, leaving 1/2 an inch spare of length at the end. Tape this to the lens using the masking tape, then slide off

4. Pick up the circle, and cut into that 1/2 an inch of extra circumference, creating a bit of a frill/flap, all the way around, making cuts every half a centimeter or so

5. Bend those frills/flaps down

6. Use a scalpol to cut out a shape of some sort in the centre of the circle (ideally you’d measure where the centre is). My favorite is an arrow

7. Now you attach the strip and the circle together to make your Bokeh lens. Use one bit of tape to start off with, then keep tucking the flaps in and sticking

8. Work your way around the circle, until it’s all tucked in and stuck down with a few pieces of tape

9. Nearly there

10. On the inside, stick some tape there too – to make it more of a rigid structure

11. Finish off the lens by making taping over all the gaps on the outer side

12. Done! Go and photograph some lights


And here are the technical things:

The size of the shaped hole depends on two things: the aperture of your lens and the focal length you’re using.

Try using these calculations, which I copied from DIY

Take the focal length that you wish to use (e.g. 100mm)

Divide this by the aperture value that is smallest on your lens (e.g. f/2)

Equals the largest diameter of the cut out shape (shape should be smaller than this) (50mm)


50mm f/2 – shape must be under 25mm

75mm f/2 – shape must be under 37.5mm

100mm f/2 – shape must be under 50mm

50mm f/2.8 – shape must be under 17.5mm

50mm f/3.5 – must be under 14.2mm


Other important things:

  1. Make sure the shape you create is in the centre of the circle
  2. The lights you shoot need to be really bright (traffic lights, car lights, city lights, amusements, street lights, carnivals, bright bulbs)
  3. When you’re focusing, make sure the lights are out of focus, otherwise the shape won’t come through
  4. If you’re shooting an object infront of the bokeh lights, focus on that object with distant lights out of focus behind (a shallow depth of field)
  5. If the image is coming out too dark, increase the time the aperture is open. This means a longer exposure, letting more light in, and the image will be brighter

Here’s some more of the images I created:

Fairy lights

Car brake lights

Auckland Sky tower & the city


Photography, Wedding

Know someone who’s getting married next year?

England is getting a treat! Jel Photo are returning to the UK for a little trip somewhere around July/August 2012. They are a husband and wife team based in Auckland, New Zealand. The pair have the most incredible skill at photographing weddings and their wedding photography has been featured on Style Me Pretty, Polka Dot Bride, Boho Bride & Magnolia Rouge wedding sites. They have done plenty of international weddings and love the whole experience.

They are not charge anything extra for their flights, just their normal photography rates. You’d ideally be located in Dorset or Hampshire, but it’s no issue if you’re not. In fact, they are even stretching this opportunity to the rest of the world (ideally Dubai, LA, Japan, which are all en-route to the UK when flying from NZ)

If you want to contact them, here’s all their information:
Twitter: @JelPhotography

Retro Perspective

Review Below taken from 247 Magazine (Words: Ben Random)

In an age of ubiquitous cameras (where the term ‘citizen-journalism’ is chucked around with abandon, every geezer with a camera-phone thinks their snapshot of a celeb counts as reportage, and shaky-cam footage from the mainstream media camped outside the kettle is considered front-line reporting), the value of a real photographers eye is greater than ever.
Mattko (aka Matthew Smith) has an eye that is crisp, clear and bullshit-free, and it can be seen in full effect at ‘RETRO-PERSPECTIVE’, an exhibition of thirty photographic prints at the Bank, Stokes Croft, Bristol, until 11th April.
Even when swept up in the chaos of an eviction, or facing down the private security hired to police anti-road-building protestors, his instinctive knack for a telling composition, a background that tells its own story, or a split-second of eye contact that invites us into someone else’s world, is unerring. Beautiful black and white prints drawn from twenty years of surviving the highs and lows of the counter-culture lead us through a thousand lives in close-up, and remind us that for all the talk of British tolerance the powers-that-be don’t hesitate to try to crush those who step too far out of the ‘work-too-hard-spend-it-all-on-shite’ economic model we seem stuck in.
Sweaty ravers and smiling cuties, traveller sound-systems and anti-capitalist marches, art performances and the cutest site kiddies you will ever see all add up to a unique record of the last few decades. Mattko’s mistrust of the mainstreams ongoing attempts to co-opt underground culture shines through, with the most recent images hinting at the growing fightback against the corporate agenda that is manifesting itself through the failed economics of the current strain of spam-faced puppet politicians. Whatever happens next in post-Great-Recession-Britain we should be thankful that Mattko will continue to be there to document the hidden corners for us.
Highly recommended.

Click here for the event on Facebook. The show is at The Bank of Stokes Croft until 11th April and all work is for sale.


Pictures from recently

  • A birthday present, both wrapped and unwrapped
  • Sobraine cigarettes as birthday presents
  • Chair painting for Light Box

Hipstamatic on my drive home

Ah, the long drive from Bournemouth to Bristol. Made more fun with the ‘Hipstamatic app’ for the Iphone. Photo’s include: a New Forest pony, an icy bamboo field and a den. More info about the Hipstamatic app here

Interesting and Inspiring, Photography

My Week in Pictures

So I’m now back to work! The family I nanny for a bit are home from their month long holiday, and Light Box is back after it’s month off too. I had a lovely week back home in Bournemouth, seeing my brothers and parents.

I’m really happy that I took my camera and focussed on taking lots of pictures last week. I had a lovely time on my dad’s boat, snapping away and making us super-noodles whilst he fixed something, and I took some shots of a very old greenhouse at my brother’s next-door-neighbours in Wimbourne.

A very old green house
Love this plant – the one which attracts all the butterflies. Budlia?
Space-age mushrooms. Love the color of them
Hello greenhouse again
What is it?
Tallest mast in Keyhaven, Lymington
Pretty patterned rope
The trampoline part on the catamaran
Big light
Speckled mouldy mastic
Keep off the sea
Lovely colored buoys
Old boat in need of love
amazing colors
Just Lucy, just me
20 eggs
20 egg shells ann squished together (vary satisfying and sensual)
Party in the bath
Smoke in the eye
House on the hill at Branksome Beach, Bournemouth
Sea cam
Majestic Molly (who swam for the first time that day)
Ben and his brolly
My niece and nephew being gangster
Beautiful Bethany
Lovely seaside
Bristol, Photography, Wedding

Summer Wedding

Hello me
I helped out with a wedding recently, a semi wedding stylist if you will. Main jobs were making cake stands and designing the look of the cake table, (the bride asked every one in her book club to bake a cake each, instead of the regular wedding cake) creating the place settings and designing the table plan.


Table Plan
I hand-cut everyone’s initial and stuck them onto the plan with velcro – this made it easy to make last-minute changes to the seating plan if guests couldn’t make it. They chose trestle tables – with couples sat both opposite and next to each other. I was hoping that the plan would spell out something, but it didn’t – not enough vowels. I would like to make something out of the letters, as a post-wedding present.
Cake table
The whole day was a dream. Bristol Florists Bella and Fifi worked hard on the flowers, they were gorgeous too – some wild flowers, all seasonal and locally grown.
Looking for a photographer in Bristol? All the above photographs were taken by Bruce, here’s his portfolio. He also photographs the Invisible Circus lots, so if you’ve ever been to one of those nights, you should have a look and see if you can spot yourself in the galleries.

Pinhole Photography workshop

Yesterday I attended a Pinhole photography workshop, lead by Justin Quinnell (who has a great pinhole website) we made three camera’s and took some pics with the beer can cam, and took away a camera made from a film canister, which is a 6-month pinhole camera, which I am going to set up somewhere in Bristol. Where?? I have to set it up on June 20th, on the Summer Solstice, pointing south. the sun burns into the photo, here’s an example of one of Justin’s: Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The workshop has given me loads of ideas…. putting a pinhole in a helium balloon in the sky, on my car whilst driving, posting one, putting one in a clock, photographing a yoga class, tying one to Trevor’s bike, putting one in my mouth, playing tennis with one.