Let’s do the Bokeh

If my photos make you feel like dancing, forget it, bokeh isn’t a dance.  It is the aesthetic quality of the blur in the background of some photographs.  In talking about a picture, one might say that it has good bokeh.  I love to produce that effect myself.  I get it mostly when I am photographing, for example, a bird with my long lenses.  By using wide apertures such as f2.8  thru f6.3, I end up with a shallow depth-of-field.  DOP as it is called briefly, is the small area in front, and in back of the subject, that is in focus.  Everything in front of and in back that is blurred, is the bokeh.  An example is this photograph that I captured of an Eastern Phoebe.  Notice how the bird is in great focus, and the background is a nice, soft blur.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

My Tamron zoom telephoto was set at the max range of 600mm and my aperture was set at f6.3.  I was about 30 feet from phoebe. The background was several yards back.  Distance can make a difference in the effect.  This Osprey in the photo below, (which I published about a week ago in another post) was about eighty yards away on another tree branch.  The background was made up of tree limbs and brush and you can see that the bokeh took on a different, but very pleasing look.



Still another pleasing effect was in this photo of a Painted Bunting.

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

In the photo below, of the Greater Roadrunner, because of the angle of my camera, and the location of the bird, the background was more in focus, but not enough distract the viewer.  The aperture was the same f6.3.  Same lens.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

In the photo below, I used the water itself as the background.  I love these Greater Roadrunners.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

While I am on the subject, I will mention that different type lenses might have a different look on the bokeh.  Some will produce round dots of blurred light, for example.  Also, there may be a difference in the different brands of lenses.  Some may produce better bokeh that others.  Personally, I a very satisfied with the results I am getting with mine.  They make me feel like dancing. 🙂

Incidentally, I never mention this much, because I am not the greatest of salesman.  My photographs are for sale.  Just contact me and we can talk about sizes, prices, etc.  I have satisfied customers all over the country, and I wouldn’t mind helping you to give additions to your walls, too.

Also, my book is still doing well, and you can check that out by clicking on the Flickr logo on the right side of this page, or the gallery link at the top of the page.

13 thoughts on “Let’s do the Bokeh

  1. Hey, I like your bokeh. No I am not making a pass at you.Thanks for clarifying this, I used to think it was the round circles, which it can be , but more. Wanting to get that blurred quality is why I bought my first DSLR and then my zoom lens.:)

    • Thanks, Jane. 🙂 Some lens, especially mirror lens, do produce those little round circles of light. You need to usually use large apertures to produce it, regardless of the lens, to get that shallow depth-of-field.

  2. Great post, Bob. Love the info. Didn’t realize you’ve published a book! Good for you. Your photos are always awesome – today my favorite is the Roadrunner in front of the water. Love the contrast of the blue water against the bird’s dappled feathers.

  3. Well dog gone it..I thought you were going to teach us a new dance..Now I know what bokeh is. and I have always loved the soft blurred backgrounds..great photos..

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