Bokeh! show it off

Discussion in 'Cameras and Photography' started by treserious, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. treserious

    treserious Post Punk Junkie

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    Bokeh - The Japanese word Boke derived from the verb "bokase" meaning to smudge or make blurry. Pronounced BO-KEH in English. The blurry, or out of focus region behind a subject is called the bokeh. A pleasing bokeh is one which has soft, round edges to the objects


    please tell us the settings, model, and lens when it was shot.

    canon XSI, 35mm-70mm 1:3.5-4.5
    shutter 1/250
    iso-400
    focal length 64mm
    f/4.5
     

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  2. Fancy word to use for shallow depth of field. :D
     
  3. treserious

    treserious Post Punk Junkie

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    yep!
    that's the word being used for it on photo sites like flickr and deviant art.
    its usually used to describe the rounded type of blur. not just every out of focus part is described as having bokeh.
     
  4. 2long4u

    2long4u Active Member

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    55-200vr at 200mm I was as close as I could get and be in focus, between 2.5 and 3 feet. Same in both pics. The spider I did have to crop quite a bit, and the flower is as composed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    1970's Fan likes this.
  5. chillwolf

    chillwolf "Play 'em off!"

    Here are two examples of some bokeh in two photos I shot of dragonflys. The white out of focus points of light in the background are one of the things that a lot of photographers strive to get when trying to get some bokeh in the shot.
    Photos shot with an Olympus DSLR using a Sigma 55-200mm lens, can't remember aperture setting.

    Small points of light on this one
    [​IMG]

    Larger points of light on this one
    [​IMG]

    Definition of Bokeh
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  6. jocko_nc

    jocko_nc Super Member

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    This looks like a fake background, but is the flowers in front of our house.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010

     

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  7. similost

    similost Rockin and Rollin....

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    Here's what I got... not sure all the details.. It's a Nikon D50, and not sure which lens I had on it or any of the settings..

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Acoustic

    Acoustic This Amp Is HOT!!

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    Here's my example using a Nikon 80-300.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mark W.

    Mark W. Nut house of the Universe

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    I'm confused I'm a moderator on Photo.net and have been discussing Bokeh for 9 years now.

    And most of these shots have examples of Bokeh but in almost ever case it's the type you don't want to end up with.

    The last example of the Hawk the bokeh is so bad as to ruin what could have been a beautiful shot.

    The white hot spots is not a desired effect I have ever heard of.

    The shot of the little dog is not bad for bokeh

    The spider has no Bokeh showing and the bee and flower has pretty nice Bokeh for the subject the large red shape is a bit distracting.

    The OP's flower shot while having decent bokeh the white circular highlites are a spoiler and that photo does not appear to have a point of focus.


    Generally what you would look for is a softening of the back ground colors into an almost unidentifiable blur of soft colors that would tend to give the main subject a 3d look or causing it to POP off the page.

    But just as Bokeh can be good it can also be bad and still be called bokeh.

    Least that is what I get from talking about it way to much over the years.
     
  10. similost

    similost Rockin and Rollin....

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    OK.. so I'm learning... I did like the way the light sharpened the edge of the knob though..
     
  11. HandyHamlet

    HandyHamlet dissatisfied customer

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    Well then as a moderator I'm sure you are well aware that there are varying degrees of skill levels among photographers. And while constructive criticism is always welcome it is meaningless in my humble opinion if the critic does not post an example of (preferably) his own work to illustrate his point.

    I only just became aware of this term last night. From what I could find on the web it looks like this is yet another endless debate topic. Your definition seems to sway towards more of an indistinct background while other definitions I find lean exclusively on the soft circles of light effect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009

     

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  12. Acoustic

    Acoustic This Amp Is HOT!!

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    Sorry to disappoint you. I felt it did so I posted it. Is bokeh a personal taste subjective opinion or a factual black and white objective judgment? And, yes, please post a photo of good bokeh whether it's one of yours or someone else's. Also the lens I used, a Nikkor AF-S VR 70- 300mm F/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED has been rated high for 'good bokeh'. My example displayed similar results... so I 'assumed'... I guess.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  13. 2long4u

    2long4u Active Member

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    Good bokeh is when the edges are softer then the center. I'll post up some example pics and link.

    [​IMG] Fig. 1. Poor Bokeh. This is a greatly magnified blur circle showing very poor bokeh. A blur circle is how an out-of-focus point of light is rendered. Note how the edge is sharply defined and even emphasized for a point that is supposed to be out-of-focus, and that the center is dim.

    [​IMG] Fig 2. Neutral Bokeh. This is a a technically perfect and evenly illuminated blur circle. This isn't good either for bokeh, because the edge is still well defined. Out-of-focus objects, either points of light or lines, can effectively create reasonably sharp lines in the image due to the edges of the sharp blur circle. This is the blur circle from most modern lenses designed to be "perfect."

    [​IMG] Fig. 3. Good Bokeh. Here is what we want. This is great for bokeh since the edge is completely undefined. This also is the result of the same spherical aberration, but in the opposite direction, of the poor example seen in Fig. 1. This is where art and engineering start to diverge, since the better looking image is the result of an imperfection. Perfect bokeh demands a Gaussian blur circle distribution, and lenses are designed for the neutral example shown in 2.) above.

    Full article here.
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/bokeh.htm
     
  14. treserious

    treserious Post Punk Junkie

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    please post some of your examples.
    In my shot, the point of focus is an inner flower, not one of the outer ones. that was deliberate.

    How are the white circular highlights a spoiler? I personally like them.
    Is it that they distract from the subject?




    I would have to say that for myself, bokeh is a matter of personal taste.
    I like somehwat defined circular highlights, as long as they are large, and arent all over the image.
    when the circles are small and pretty much everywhere, like on that hawk pic, I find it very distracting. makes it look harsh.
    but, a good soft blur, with some circular highlights I find lends a little bit of magic to the image, a touch of the surreal.
     
  15. 2long4u

    2long4u Active Member

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    The pink thing was a bucket. Bokeh doesn't have to be little spheres, it could be anything as long as hard lines are softened. The spider pic had some corrugated roofing material in the background and if you notice the darker part going through it the edges are softened. Granted the background isn't very interesting but it was a macro shot and I wasn't looking for good or bad bokeh.

    Here's another pic of the flower where you can clearly see the bucket.
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. 2long4u

    2long4u Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    I know a lot of people don't like him but he's knowledgeable about many things. Sure he might be a little biased but that makes him stand out.
     

     

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  17. HandyHamlet

    HandyHamlet dissatisfied customer

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    Out of focus stuff in the foreground of a shot makes some people's brains explode. It's considered bad form by some. This is another topic of debate.

    I personally do not find the pink distracting in the least. I think it's a fine shot.

    chillwolf's shots have circles and soft backgrounds. He is a Bokeh Master!!!

    :thmbsp:
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  18. treserious

    treserious Post Punk Junkie

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    well, considering bokeh is just a fancy word for depth of field, this thread lends itself very well to that kind of discussion.
    Many of you are accomplished, talented and knowledgeable photographers, so I respect and look forward to discussion on this and any other aspects of photography.

    I have heard that it is bad form to have out of focus stuff in the foreground(I have been told by several other hobby photographers), but I like changing things up a bit.

    when the subject is in the foreground and in focus, and the background is out of focus, the eye is automatically drawn to the subject, and everything else is disregarded as background noise, perhaps it has an interesting color or texture, but it doesnt hold the eye for long.
    it makes the subject pop out and lets the viewer know that this is what you are supposed to be looking at.

    when the subject in focus is in a midground, with out of focus elements in the foreground, and background, I find it draws the viewer into the image. I like the effect of the eye being drawn into the image, rather than the subject leaping off the image at the viewer.

    but, thats a matter taste, artistic license, intent of the photographer, the context of the image, and the subject matter.

    I wouldn't do that with any portraiture, but i think it does have its place in certain nature shots so that the viewer is drawn into the image and is psychologically drawn into the subject matter.

    my intent with that pic was to draw the viewer into the cluster of flowers, wrapping them in soft fuzzy flowers, bringing in the focus within the image, rather than bring the flowers to the viewer. I find the concept somewhat romantic(at least with the subject matter being flowers)

    seeing my intent was it an abject failure? I dont think so, I know I have a lot to learn about composition, but I think that the "drawn in" effect I was going for worked fairly well, i could have chosen a bit of a better angle, but I was taking a walk in the woods, and had so much more to explore.

    well, if you're following my criteria, yes, they are very pleasing shots. good angles, good depth of field, and just enough "magic" to give the images a little bit of something to give the viewer a bit of wonderment in nature.

    I like how bokeh can give an image "sparkle" like as if you are looking upon something mystical out of a Tolkien or other fantasy book.

    here is another attempt at that effect
    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=177546&d=1257300550

    attached is another example of my experimenting with middle ground focus, unfortunately the bokeh in this shot is not pleasing. its too busy and jittery. very distracting.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  19. treserious

    treserious Post Punk Junkie

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    here is another
     

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  20. HandyHamlet

    HandyHamlet dissatisfied customer

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    Okay. Do you see the difference between the day lilies and the other shots?

    The lilies work for me, very nice by the way, because although the foremost petals are soft they do not distract the viewer's eye. It actually draws it into the shot. Your other shots have lots of white in them. The eye is drawn to light and bright colors. Dark recedes and light, bright colors pop giving the brain an illusion of 3D. The brain likes to work subconsciously.

    However.

    With the white out of focus flowers in the foreground (which are larger than the subject/ intended focal point) and also in the background my eye/brain cries. Subconsciously I can't figure out what is the foreground vs background. As my pot addled brain tries to figure this out the eye misses your intended focal point. There is not a natural flow through the shot. The eye races around instead of getting drawn in. All the while the brain tries unsuccessfully to pull the white from the background into the foreground. And then I get a self induced brain cloud.

    For these two shots an exploration into vignettes might suit your intentions?

    Of course this is just my opinion. And I never even heard the word Bokeh till you posted.
     

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