Sunday, April 17, 2011

WAW #6 - Bokeh

I am seriously behind on my weekly assignments and like a guilty student, I am stressing to catch up. Luckily we have a flexible group leader who was willing to give us a week to do just that ;)

Our weekly assignment #6 was to play with bokeh. Our good friend Wiki defines bokeh as:
"the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." [...] Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. However, bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image."
 Basically when there is an in-focus object (usually) in the foreground while the background is blurred. This is usually achieved with a low aperture and creates a shallow depth of field. 
I thought that this assignment would be a cinch because these types of shots are what my Olympus does best, and since I started out shooting with my Olympus, I think that my eye defaults to these types of shots. I love up-close detail shots with a blurred background. For example from my Olympus Pen F:

But, shooting bokeh on the digital seemed to be a whole other story. I had a brilliant idea which completely fell flat (it included our Light Bright which surprisingly did not work as well as one would think for creating cool blurred light backgrounds). By the time I abandoned the Light Bright idea I was frustrated, and it seemed like I could not get anything to work. I managed to get a few "blurred background" shots but they felt forced and uninteresting. See -

Then, just when I had given up and was focused on other things (namely Weekly Assignment #7 - Liquid, and testing out a wide angle/macro lens attachment from my friend Michelle), bokeh seemed to be everywhere! 

I think it might go back to my troubles with shooting in low-light. I just couldn't get things to work in the near dark, but in sunlight or natural light it came easily. I guess maybe this is somewhere I should really focus my efforts. Next Weekly Assignment - Liquid!
P.S. Here is one of the failure Light Bright shots... just to satisfy your curiosity. The Light Bright actually has a little picture of a man with "Jeff" & a heart written above it. I did it when we first started dating and we haven't changed it since.

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