Blur, Bokeh & Baubles

‘Tis the season to be jolly and with mulled wine and spirits on the menu, staying in sharp focus is hard to do. Moreover, low light comes on much earlier now it’s winter which means the camera needs to up its speed and increase aperture in order to cope. Otherwise, blurry, grainy images ensue …

But I like the effects of blur and so use it intentionally too, especially when it comes to this time of year . De-focusing also gives people greater anonymity (and me less guilt at intrusiveness) as they move into frame.

Blurs, be they abstract, impressionist, or realistic, can be great fun to play with. For me, it’s a fallback technique when I need to jumpstart my creativity.

David Shaw

The amount of blur we give our photos is a matter of taste – I like to push the boundaries.

“bokeh” is Japanese in origin, and it’s used to describe blur, especially blur that has a great beauty. …those lovely orbs of blurry light that will appear whenever you use a large aperture to shoot a scene that has a lot of areas of bright light in the background. 

David Peterson

Bokeh is hard to get right as it can glare the background – other times it becomes completely abstract and is archetypical of Christmas lights photos.

And finally, for those of us who like to take photos a step further into photoart edits, blur is already halfway to impressionistic images and Christmas card illustrations.

Christmas couples – Seven Dials, Covent Garden

16 Comments on “Blur, Bokeh & Baubles

  1. This is a very interesting post. I like your explanation of bokeh. I’ve been trying to work out what the term means for a while.

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  2. I like your Christmas couple especially. I have never tried blurring the image except when I wanted to show speed of an object. Trying new things is always interesting. Keep the focus on your photography, you may end up teaching some new tricks to the die-hard oldies. Blessings

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    • to manually un-focus and create impressions, colour and shapes is another way of seeing the world through the eyes of the camera – give it a go Sherwood -you are never too oldie to learn.

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  3. You do blur really well. I’ve been staring at the one under “push the boundaries.” Love the light and colors, and it somehow draws the eye right in.

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    • another advantage of digital photography – those many attempts to get the kind of blur we want! Appreciate your comment Robin as good to know how others see it – that pushing the boundaries one might draw the eye in further if I had cropped the figure on the right just leaving the scene.

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  4. Good bokeh is my ambition with a lot of the close up photos I take, and I am always so thrilled when it works. I’m not good enough with my camera to get it consistently though – it’s a ‘more by luck than judgement’ situation most of the time!

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  5. Love the 4th from the top and the righthand xmas tree bokeh! Unfortunately all my wide angle pics of that day turned out absolute rubbish – I can’t even claim I was trying to go for intentional blur…
    I never actually think of intentional blur/bokeh creation, I’ll have to give that ago – ’tis the season for photo opportunities of that kind after all.

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    • These were taken with my 30mm Prime. And all this was managed before our cocktail hour! Friday Flowers with bokeh would be something to see 😉

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      • Hehe, next time we should do cocktails first and then see how our pictures turn out 😀
        Hint taken about Friday Flowers with bokeh.

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    • A good time of year to re-tie the knot with all the hanging mistletoe -though I do not think you have this parasite Viscum albu in your Hemisphere?

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      • Mistletoe on Christmas decorations and cards. We do have a similar plant with exquisite pink flowers (not so visible for berries)

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