Monday, February 8, 2010

Shallow Depth of Field and Bokeh

Anyone who knows me knows I heart the bokeh. Big time. And not just because it comes in handy when I'm writing a poem and want something to rhyme with mocha. (Besides polka.)

Ree Drummond AKA The Pioneer Woman, has another contest this week on her photography blog. She is asking for shallow depth-of-field photos which demonstrate something called bokeh. Bokeh is a Japanese word for haze or blur. It's that lovely, blurry, out-of-focus background you get behind a subject in sharp focus in the foreground. Well, there's aperture, focus length, foreground distance and background distance which all come into play but for the sake of this discussion, "blurry background" will do.

Apparently there is "good" and "bad" bokeh. Fie, I say. Just like chocolate, all bokeh is good bokeh.

(Hang on. White chocolate would be the bad bokeh in this scenario. I hate white chocolate.)

Because Bush Babe asked, I thought I'd share some of my shallow DOF photos. I ended up submitting the middle one below. It could be a lot sharper (okay, I just spell-checked this post, and I had originally typed "I could be a lot sharper" which is up for debate) but I didn't have my tripod, and the bug was buzzing about like crazy. Did I mention it was also windy? And hot. It was really hot and windy. Sharp was not an option that afternoon. Also, photography is not for wussies.

Pretty painterly background in this one and the colours contrast nicely.

This one is not as blurred, so I cut it, but I still like it. That's one crazy plant, no?

This is the one I used:
A closer shot of the bee and the flower, but the bokeh is only meh:

I love this one, but I thought it might be too ordinary. Also some like the white blurs in the background which suggest other blossoms, and others find them distracting. I guess that constitutes bad (white chocolate) bokeh:

Check out BB's blog to see her entry. Her photo of a rusty spur is beautiful, as is the woman who sent it to her halfway across the world.


BB said...

They are great Pam... I am quite drawn to the last one actually! I like the mystery of those blurry white bits...

Lottery Girl said...

LOVE these. I do adore that bee because of his beautiful neon color against that purple flower. I clicked on it to enjoy it at full screen.

Wonderful group!

A Novel Woman said...

LG, I'm going to try to capture the bee and flower again next summer, and with a tripod. The colours were amazing. I wouldn't have even seen it if I hadn't had my micro lens. I was looking at something else entirely.

Deborah Carr said...

I think they are all quite fabulous. Nice work!