Entries in bokeh (52)
This morning I met long time DSLR Photography Lesson student Stacy in Crescent Lake Park, where I knew it was very likely we would be able to photograph a goose or two. I suggested she bring a blanket so that she could lie down comfortably on the grass in order to be able to get at eye level to the birds. I got down low myself for the shot above.
In this lesson I pointed out even more to Stacy that the meter gives just a suggestion, as to get a good exposure of the geese in the deep shade they were standing in, it was necessary to use settings that the meter thought would result in an overexposed shot. That was mostly due to the background being much brighter than the foreground. Also, I recommended that there is no need to change aperture to fix the exposure. The aperture should be set first (when shooting in manual mode) so to set the depth of field, and then the shutter speed should be set as needed to get the desired exposure.
Just a simple dandelion at the end of its flowering life ready for the wind or a young child to come by and send its parachuted seeds in flight. Do kids still even do such things on warm spring days out in open green spaces? I hope so.
I like to photograph motorcycles with a 50mm lens. I saw this Harley-Davidson parked in downtown St. Petersburg Florida. Using a 50mm f/1.8 lens lets me select only a part of the motorcycle to show in focus by using a large aperture creating a shallow DoF. I like this style for motorcycles where the bike is shown in ever increasing blur from front to back.
Using a 50mm lens up close also means the whole motorcycle cannot be fit into the frame, which I think is a plus. It is much easier to get creative with composition with focal length restrictions.
If you have a photograph that you wish had a bokeh (out of focus) background, you can still add one in Photoshop using the Gaussian Blur filter. This can be an easy way to add a whole new look to a photo. In the above example of mother and daughter sunset beach portrait, I chose to have the background in detail by using a small aperture and wide focal length. I like the shot as it is, but I was curious to see how it would look with the background out of focus (bokeh). The following describes my digital workflow:
- Use the Quick Select tool to select just the mother and daughter (foreground subject)
- Choose the Inverse of the selection
- Apply the Gaussian Blur filter
In this case, it was a pretty simple process. I chose to select the people rather than the sky, then do the inverse because I felt that was a simpler selection to make. For other photographs, you may want to select the background itself if that is easier. Then you also do not have to select the Inverse of the selection.
Let me know in the comments below how this bokeh photography tip worked for you.
Some more examples of one of my favorite subjects to photograph in St. Petersburg, Florida -- brown pelicans. The males, like the one featured here, are actually rather colorful in their plummage. I thought the line of buoys in the background matched the colors around the bird's beak and eyes.
Photographing a pelican straight on always produces a weird looking shot. It kind of makes me uncomfortable even now looking at the pelican in the eye!