Friday, 28 March 2014

What is the Bokeh Effect in Photography?

What is the Bokeh Effect in Photography?

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

What is the Bokeh Effect in Photography?

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:52 PM PDT

Final Reminder: Only a few days left! in the deal on the: Bokeh Landscape Photography eBook

If you are new to photography you have probably only recently learned about the concept known as “bokeh”. It is Japanese in origin and refers to blur or a blurry quality, and in photography it is a very recognizable technique.

bokeh photos

“bokeh blues” captured by Jeff Laitila (Click Image to See More From Jeff Laitila)

Let’s first understand the fundamental differences between soft focus and bokeh. In soft focus photography there is an intentional blurriness added to the subject while the actual edges are retained in sharp focus, but in bokeh it is only an element of the image that is intentionally blurred. Additionally, bokeh tends to emphasize certain points of light in the image as well.

Bokeh tends to appear in the areas of an image that remain outside the focal region. Because of this the most common technique used to add it is a shallow depth of field created through a wide open aperture.

In order to create an image that contains what is known as “good” bokeh, the photographer must first find a subject which is easily captured in a close up or short focal distance. For this discussion we’ll select a daffodil blooming in the bright spring sunshine. We will want to be sure that the sun shining down on the bloom is also apparent in the background behind it. This is the way to allow the points of light behind the flower to be forced out of focus and create the round blooms which are so common to images relying on bokeh for their overall effect.

bokeh effect in photography

“Blue is my color” captured by Edgar Barany (Click Image to See More From Edgar Barany)

We’ll position the camera on a tripod and use the manual settings to focus the flower sharply. The next step is to actually un-focus the bloom slightly so that the background is completely blurred, but the flower is still a recognizable item. We must then decide upon the exposure settings for this image, and this involves the proper shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Because we don’t want any graininess to ruin the prints of this image we will raise the ISO no higher than 400. This means that we will want to also keep the aperture open wider to allow a shorter shutter time too (remember that high ISOs and long shutters are the most common reason for digital noise).

For this exposure an f/5.6 is selected and a shutter speed of 125 is what the meter recommends. The wide open aperture creates an even shorter depth of field, and the background that we have already forced into a blur is going to become even more unrecognizable and dotted with brilliant points of light. This is what is referred to commonly as good bokeh.

About the Author:
Amy Renfrey writes for She's photographed many things from famous musicians (Drummers for Prince and Anastasia) to weddings and portraits of babies. Amy also teaches photography online to her students.

For Further Training, Bokeh Deal Ends Soon:

The new edition of this popular guide is designed for landscape photographers – those who know the basics of landscape photography, but want to push their limits into a new realm of shallow depths of field & bokeh – to create landscapes that are unique and powerful. But anyone looking to learn bokeh will benefit from this 120+ page guide. For the launch of this new version, the publisher is offering a discount of 50% off until the end of the month. Simply remember to use the discount code BOKEH at checkout.

Now available here: Bokeh – Creating with Shallow Depths

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: Climbing to the Top of the Empire State Building

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 05:08 PM PDT

In 2000, Vincent Laforet climbed to the top of the Empire State Building to shoot some maintenance workers fixing the iconic skyscraper’s antenna. When he reached the three-foot-wide crow’s nest at the peak, he turned around, lay down on his stomach, hooked his shoes into the gap near the needle because he wasn’t wearing a harness, held his breath and captured this image:   


And to think: the photographer wasn’t even wearing a harness. (Via Imgur. Click for larger image.)

As if vertigo alone doesn’t set in by just looking at the shot, judging by Laforet’s description on his blog years later, the conditions were no walk through Central Park, either:

“When people hear this story… they call me crazy. The real scary part about the walk up was that there were 14 million watts of radio/TV waves coming from the top of the Empire State Building—you're not supposed to stand up too long, or you may never have kids… My pager was going off non-stop… And then it was windy—and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the tower sways when it's windy… just to add to the fun.”

Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Climbing to the Top of the Empire State Building

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

The Challenges of Photographing Backcountry Ice Climbers (Video)

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 02:55 PM PDT

Ice climbing is what people who enjoy extreme sports consider “too extreme”. Armed with two sharp hooks, climbers heave their way up a wall of solid ice–in this case, the 60-meter-tall yellowed wall of “HMR”, a remote ice sheet in Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This video gives an excellent and rare look at what it’s like to photograph the action:

The video is hosted, shot, and edited by Mike Wilkinson, whose career as an adventure and landscape photographer often finds him in his own freezing Michigan backyard.

In an article on Fstoppers, Wilkinson had this to say of the day’s weather conditions:

“A lot of factors were working against me on this day. Temperatures ranged from below zero at night to only about 18°F during the day. 4-5 miles of snowy trails laid between us and our location, with about 1.5 miles of that being unbroken powder up to my hips. A 40lb pack included photo, video, and climbing gear. Lastly, with time to only shoot 2 climbs at the most, I had to hustle on location to get my shots.”


Mike Wilkinson preparing to shoot the HMR.

The crew cross-country skis and snowshoes through three miles of waist-deep snow to reach HMR. We see Mike take three types of shots: portraits before the climb, long-distance landscapes to expose the scope of the endeavor, and in-action shots.

The latter are the trickiest to nab. Mike has to rappel down the ice sheet beside the climbers, hauling all his gear and aiming not to collide with the climbers themselves. We see his entire process, and the remarkable results he captures:


The behind-the-scenes view.


The end product.

Mike shoots with a Canon 5D Mark II, along with a host of lenses, including Canon’s 70-200 f/2.8L IS for zooming and Sigma’s 17-50 f/2.8 IS for closer portrait angles. For a strong variety of shots, you need a strong arsenal of lenses.


“Part of what makes a great climbing image is revealing the landscape and the exposure that the climb is set in.” – Mike Wilkinson

Go to full article: The Challenges of Photographing Backcountry Ice Climbers (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Pro Photographer vs. Cheap Point-and-Shoot Camera, Beach Action Shot (Video)

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 11:35 AM PDT

Professional epic photographer, Ben Von Wong, was stoked when he was asked to do a video clip with DigitalRev. So excited, in fact, that he quickly loaded up his gear bag with a Nikon D800, a Nikon 24-70mm, 85mm f 1.4, 70-200mm, 14-24mm, a pair of speedlights ,and a waterproof Nikon AW 1. With all that gear Von Wong would be ready for just about any project Kai could throw his way. Or so he thought…

After being asked to set aside his beloved equipment, Von Wong was given a cheap point-and-shoot camera that offered little in the way of manual settings–much to his dismay. The Caplio R6, the camera provided to Von Wong for this cheap camera challenge, lacked a lot of the features and functions DSLR users have grown accustomed to, but he was determined to make the best of what he had. This behind-the-scenes footage gives us a look at the challenge from Von Wong’s perspective:

Von Wong quickly discovered how to trick the exposure setting into getting a fast shutter speed–which would be necessary for the photograph of fire he was planning on taking–by pointing the camera toward the bright, sunlit sky and pressing the shutter release half way down to lock it onto a quick shutter speed. With the shutter speed still pressed half down, he quickly aimed the camera at his subject and snapped the photo:


One of the final images edited on Von Wong’s phone with Snapseed.

The challenge of using a cheap camera can keep a photographer sharp by forcing him or her to think things out more thoroughly in order to get a good shot. As Kai mentions in the video, things often go wrong during photo shoots, and it’s up to the photographer to deal with the blows as they come and figure out how to work around them.

Go to full article: Pro Photographer vs. Cheap Point-and-Shoot Camera, Beach Action Shot (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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