Today’s Photo of the Day, “Cherry Bokeh” and the bonus photo, “Lush” were a result of spending an entire day inside working on new wood photo blocks and the online shops. After getting tired of the smell of adhesive and varnish and feeling like my eyes were about to pop out of my head if I had to look at the computer screen any longer I decided to grab the camera and head out to play with some light. While it’s still quite cold here in Chicago and yesterday was especially windy, I still came away with some shots that I was very pleased with.
Not sure what bokeh is? Are you sure you want to know because once you do, you’ll likely become as obsessed with it as many, many others, myself included, are. (there are entire Flickr groups dedicated to bokeh lust) OK, I warned you!
Bokeh, from the Japanese term, boke, meaning blur or haze, is the aesthetic quality of the background of a photo. One of the common misconceptions is that bokeh is the actual “little discs of light” in the background of a shot, such as this one. In actuality, bokeh exists wherever there is blur, regardless of whether it’s playing with specular highlights or blurring a darker background. Bokeh, being that it’s an aesthetic, can either be distracting or helpful to a photo. It can be coarse, such as the bokeh in these two photos or it can be creamy and dreamy like the bokeh in “Ethereal” from yesterday’s post. In other cases, bokeh can just be a slight blur to the background, neither coarse nor creamy but just enough to draw attention to the main subject while keeping it in the setting as a whole like in “The Grove” from the post, “Photo(s) of the Day: Out and About“.
Want to try your hand at it? Get out the camera and play with your depth of field. The more shallow the DOF, the more out of focus your background will be. (if you have a DOF button on your camera like I do, you can get a preview of the end result before shooting) “Cherry Bokeh” and “Lush” were both shot with my Nikon 24-70 2.8 at f4 and I ended up with the coarse, round discs of color which I loved as part of the overall photos. (I wouldn’t necessarily love those discs in other photos)
Remember, in the end, you’re playing with light. You can’t break it so do with it what you will. Try different settings, use different subjects, get creative and you might be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend! (and for those celebrating, have a wonderful Easter!)