Entries in bokeh (51)
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!
I met Julianna this morning for our second of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. Our first lesson last week was a general overview of how to use her Canon 7D with 18-55mm lens in manual mode and which settings needed to be changed when. Today we swapped lenses and used her 50mm f/1.8 lens the whole morning.
I am a big fan of 50mm lenses and how they can "create something out of nothing" because of their great ability to make very shallow DoF shots. When you can make the entire background become bokeh with ease, you can be very selective in how you portray your subject in frame. In the above shot Julianna modeled for a demonstration of using natural light and shallow DoF to make a fun portrait right on a plain city sidewalk.
Julianna also learned to be careful when creating such shallow DoF shots and that framing the shot first and then moving the single focus point on to the subject is safer than the usual set the focus point in the center on your subject, then recompose.