Monday, July 12, 2010

DIY Bokeh...

Bokeh is One of the beautiful photographic techinques used ever. But most of us have no clear cut info on what it is exatcly. The term "Bokeh" comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", or boke-aji (ボケ味), the "blur quality". Bokeh is the scattering 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." Its obtained due to differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image. Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers make use of a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions such that it is pleasing to the eye. Its hard to judge which is a good bokeh example, We;ve categorised it as the ones which are pleasing to the eye and doesn't disturb the photographic object as good ones. 


When referring to Bokeh, we can distinguish some of it characteristics:

- Is the light/dark gradient smooth or sharp?

- What shape will a small dot of light take what it is in the Bokeh area? (mirror lenses for example, create a bagel like Bokeh)

We can play with those two variants to create a special Bokeh.

You will need :

One large aperture lens (a Canon 50mm F1.8 is used here, but Nikon 50mm 1.8 will also do, and the superb Nikon 50mm 1.4 will work even better)

One sheet of black paperboard

1. Cut and shape the sheet to make a fake lens hood. The Diameter is made so that it snugly fits on the lens.

2. In the middle of the filter the wanted bokeh shape is cut out - in out example a heart is used. I’m not sure how big a hole the shape can be. But you can check it right away by just looking through the viewfinder. On the 50mm lens @ F1.8 a 15mm heart gives a metering value equal to F3.2, so it can probably be a little bigger (you can use a puncher or cut it by hand).

3. Set your camera to its lowest aperture value (completely open).

Here are two shots to demonstrate this technique - one with a bare lens and the other with the hearted hood. see more shots here and here (I leave it as an exercise to tell which is which :)

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