So I finally found out that this super cool technique of taking photos of lights is called "Bokeh" (I know, I'm probably really behind on this one). I love how it looks like confetti. Love it.
I am by no means a photographer (nor do I really know camera and photographer terms, etc) and credit all of my semi-decent photos to my amazing Canon Rebel XTi, and now my 50mm f/1.8 lens. I was on pinterest the other day and came across this tutorial on taking photographs like this and was glad to (finally) know what it is called. I experimented and was SO excited about how the photos turned out.
I used my Canon 50 mm f/1.8 lens with these settings:
The dial on top is set to "M" and I adjusted the f-stop by pushing the Av +/- button and turning the other wheel on top to 1.8 (all seasoned photographers reading this, my apologies for my lack of knowledge on terms ;)). If you go here, there is a basic tutorial on changing all of these settings.
I took the photos at night so there wasn't any extra light (like the tutorial suggested) except for a nearby 60-watt table lamp. I used the manual focus (so no auto focus). The photos below show how the lights become bigger circles as you un-focus (?).
I also experimented with a plain string of Christmas lights. The photo is in focus and progresses to completely out of focus.
And I then made a lens hood (?) to create different shapes of light. Seriously, I was giddy about how fun these were turning out (the picture below shows my other lens 18-55mm as an example - I took these pictures with the above-mentioned lens). Basically you put the hood on the lens and do the same thing as above, only the lights are now shapes.
Flowers and Hearts! Yay!