Examples of Bokeh

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by jstuedle, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I didn't want to hijack Groupcaptainbonzo's thread, So here I offer up a few examples of what I call pleasing bokeh from three differant lenses. Enjoy and hope it starts a good discussion.

    1) This one the background is almost all the same color, but trees and foliage are OOF in a pleasing way I believe. BTW it is a white lion, it's color is correct. Nikon D1X, Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 AFS @ f/2.8

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    2) This was shot w/Nikon D1X, Nikkor 35-70 f/2.8 @ 70mm - f/8

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    3) Nikon D1X, Nikkor MF 400mm f/3.5 @ f/4.0 and TC14 teleconverter

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    4) Repost of a shot taken this past week. Also shot w/Nikon D1X, Nikkor MF 400mm f/3.5 @ f/3.5. Hand held, no tele-converter, at about 16 feet in the rain.

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  2. I think the best example here is the last image. I see very little Bokeh of any kind with the lion (cool shot, though, btw), and the parrot and the hawk backgrounds are simply out-of-focus, but so far out-of-focus that they are no longer recognizable. Please don't misunderstand, they're lovely images, I'm just commenting on the way Bokeh comes into play here.

    To qualify my comment: to me Bokeh is about taking something out-of-focus, and either giving it a contextual, recognizable quality, and/or to give the image an additional creative element. I know that is not the typical definition but I find that by itself Bokeh is meaningless. Kind of like it's equally over-rated cousin "Sharpness". To some degree, you could hit my particular definition equally easily by working with a LensBaby, but I'm not quite that divorced from the technical definition, either.

    The last shot is beautiful - the leaves and branches create a dream-like environment that carries your eye from the bird, into the background, and back to the bird.

    Here's an example from me, posted in the Gallery as well. Everything in the background is familiar, and you can wander around the image visually, but ultimately you return to the subject.

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    Or notice in this cafe shot how the bottles in the distance through off individual light reflections like drops of water - that gives you context, although it is totally out of focus and unrecognizable without the in-focus area to give it context:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is my contribution. Some might not like the bright white-ish bulbs in the bokeh. BTW, you find some strange spellings of "bokeh" sometimes ;)

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  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree for the hawk, but not at all for the parrot. In the latter case you can see the tree which adds a lot of context to the image.

    In your two shots (quite nice ones actually), the contains even vital parts of the scene and story, hence it is a more important part of the images. Nevertheless in the parrot case the bokeh is more than just a blurred background.
     
  5. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    That is the perfect creamy bokeh! You see the subject and the background is beatifully out of focus therefore centering all the focus on the lion.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think, what Iron Flatline wants to say is that in that image the subject is not separated from the background, but the background is actually eliminated and becomes totally unimportant, it is not part of the story anymore.

    It certainly serves this image well, in other compositions you might want it different though. For my bird I would not want to have it totally out of focus, since it contains detail which belongs to the scene and gives the context. Would be different for a close-up of the bird ...
     
  7. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    I had a second look at the image and I see what he means. I like the creamy background look. Here's a couple of mine.

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

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  9. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    My work doesn't let me access the link. maybe I'll check it out later.
     
  10. Ok, I see what you mean, I stand corrected.

    "Creamy bokeh" is a junk phrase from the internet. I know that's going to sound offensive, please note that I mean the phrase, and not you. But I hear it on a lot of forums recently, and it is nearly meaningless. It just goes hand-in-hand with my main pet peeve right now, which is technical admiration outside of the creative context. If you want to swirl everything into a colored mass, like water-colors endlessly mixed together till it's just brown, you don't need to use a camera. Just do it in Photoshop.

    For me, the goal is to take the photographic tools that are available, and use it to tell a story. In the case of the Lion, he could be in a zoo in front of a green wall, or in the jungle, or standing in front of a cammo-green truck. I just don't know.
     
  11. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    I find that very, very few images qualify for the use of the term "bokeh".

    It is not just the effect of the lens itself, but more importantly WHAT the background geometry is. OOF sticks and leaves seldom create a pleasing pattern that becomes an element of the overall scene.

    It is not just 'nature' shots that the term relates to. I have seen striking shots of racing venues that were accomplished by dragging the shutter during panning.

    Bokeh...a much overused and misapplied term.
     
  12. EOS_JD, that flower is a great example of using Bokeh well - I love the second flower, and the way the OOF ends up being a "reflection" if you will, a multiplication of the subject. And it's not JUST OOF, it's actually quite pleasingly OOF - and that's where good Bokeh trumps lumpy background blur.
     

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