Monday, November 17, 2008

Bokeh Baby!

* You will need to give yourself some distance between you and your light source.
* If you do not have a big aperture you will need to use a smaller hole.


Let's start on the pronunciation, shall we?

Bokeh is like "you say potato, I say potato, potato, potato" , "you say tomato, I say tomato, tomato, tomato, let's call the whole thing off ". I pronounce bokeh to rhyme with mocha, and I don't even drink coffee! So, maybe you pronounce it bo-kay, and that's okay, let's just get some bokeh!!!

Bokeh refers to the blurring of the background when you have a shallow depth of field. And we all know what DOF or depth of field is, right? Good I thought so, and if not just take a peek back at Cy's post here.

Personally, when I think of bokeh I don't just think of DOF, I think of what is happening with the lighting in the background. Leaves in the sunlight will often produce some great bokeh. In this next shot there is some bokeh going on in the back (hard to see with that punk that is goofing off, I know).

But what I really wanted to focus on today was getting SHAPED bokeh. Are you in? Here is a string of Christmas lights on the floor. Using manual focus I focused on the lights. Wow, spectacular isn't it! Just kidding, just looks like a tangled mess ready to happen. But now look at what happens when I manually move my focus away from the lights and closer to me....

Pretty cool, huh? Now that you get what I'm doing here let's start taking it a little further.

Ahhhhh, heart bokeh.

Some ordinary looking candles but look what happens when I turn off the lights and I try to get a shaped bokeh to appear for me.......

A-ha! Heart bokeh!

And here is how you are going to get it....

You'll need to use your biggest aperture (smallest F-stop) for this. I used my 50mm lens which has a f-stop of 1.8. If you don't have this you may need to just play around with the size of the hole you are working with.

Start by tracing around your lens on a black piece of paper. Cut that out and then to make it easier to use with your punch/hole or use with multiple shapes cut another section out of that circle.

And with another small piece of paper cut or punch out your shape. Tape it onto the large circle and wah-lah....

If you decide to give this a try, please submit your pictures so we can see what you came up with.

If you are not part of this group and want to give this a try, let me know by leaving a comment and we can get your pictures up here too!

Have fun with your bokeh.


Tash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It does sound like you had some fun with this one! Depending on the holiday season a person could do some pretty neat things with this!


Kristen said...

Very cool post. The things you can do with photography is only limited by your imagination it seems now.

Thanks for the invite Carin, but I think I better decline...I don't know near what all of you do. I come here to educate myself. ;)

Jenny said...

Very cool. I will have to try this one. Christmas tree shape? Would that work too?

Carin said...

Jenny, you should be able to do just about any shape as long as it is the same size (or smaller) than your aperture. Give it a try and let us know how it worked!

Cy said...

I'm using an f/4.5 lens which has a pretty small apature. As a result, I'm having trouble getting the concept to work.

Since my wife is a scrapbooker, I have access to a vast array of punches. However, most of them are too large for my apature, so I'm going to try to hand cut a shape that is smaller.

Not sure Carin, but I think the hole out side the camera has to be smaller than the hole inside the camera. In fact, I think the hole inside the camera has to be about 2 1/2 times larger than the hole outside the camera (it's a Nyquist thing I know about from other, unrelated, sources). I'll let you know.

Be encouraged Kristen, the doing of little challenges like this is what develops confidence and results.

Carin is right Jenny, any shape will work as long as the shape is smaller than the apature size.


Cy said...

Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sure others are having it too. The apature on my camera is so small that I can't get a punch small enough.

I've tried cutting a small hole, but the results are really mixed. I'll keep it up. Also, I'm using white paper that is somewhat translucent. I'll also try some black opaque paper and see if that makes a difference.