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Old 12-14-2011, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,979 posts, read 19,902,939 times
Reputation: 5102

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It used to be that I can get this blurred background like some people, unintentionally, and before today, no matter how I read some of the articles out there (including DPS most recently), I can't get it to do it for me deliberately. Well, somehow, the light bulb turned on, and I actually understood what "increasing the focal length between the foreground and background" really meant.

So here was the result of my experiment. I put the ornament on the kitchen counter with the Christmas tree lit behind it about 10 feet, focused on the ornament and voila!!! It was the effect I wanted! Man oh man was I overjoyed! So now, when I read the DOF calculator, I can actually appreciate it.
Online Depth of Field Calculator



Rebel T1i 1/30sec 50mm f/1.4 ISO 100
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Deep in the heart of Texas
1,914 posts, read 7,150,852 times
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YAY!!! That looks beautiful
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
31,767 posts, read 28,830,565 times
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I have a free app on my iPhone for DoF calculation (iDoF Calc). It comes in handy, a lot. I use it more for calculating hyperfocal distance though.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,979 posts, read 19,902,939 times
Reputation: 5102
Quote:
Originally Posted by EinsteinsGhost View Post
I have a free app on my iPhone for DoF calculation (iDoF Calc). It comes in handy, a lot. I use it more for calculating hyperfocal distance though.
I just checked. The DOFMaster is not free. I'll check iDOF Calc. Thanks.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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Nice shot! It's a fun thing to explore, and I must say you also have a fine lens with which to explore it!
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 7,657,304 times
Reputation: 1836
Quote:
Originally Posted by bibit612 View Post
So here was the result of my experiment. I put the ornament on the kitchen counter with the Christmas tree lit behind it about 10 feet, focused on the ornament and voila!!! It was the effect I wanted! Man oh man was I overjoyed! So now, when I read the DOF calculator, I can actually appreciate it.
Great, except your subject title says "Bokeh", and what you've discussed is not bokeh, but how to get things out of the Depth Of Field!

So, now that you can get an OOF background at will, lets experiment with the character of the OOF background, because that is "bokeh"! For that there are a couple of important things to note in your image, and then maybe try to play with a bit.

First is the shape of the out of focus points of light, some of which are round and some that are not. The round ones are towards the center of the image and at the more distance edges the shape becomes less round. That is probably caused by vignetting. You might try re-arranging the lights in the background to be more regularly spaced, and all far enough laterally removed from the main subject to form a more interesting relationship between the background pattern and the main subject. And waste a little "film" (it's cheap) and shoot each shot wide open at f/1.4 and also at 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments further stopped down.

A second point is how the out of focus circles have a slightly brighter ring right at the outer edge. That is caused by "over correction" for spherical aberrations (too much curve in the shape of the lens). Note that when out of focus circles overlap it shows up a lot more. So when you re-arrange the lights in the background to experiment, one consideration is whether any of them should be close enough to overlap, or not.

Another experiment you might enjoy is a "shaped" aperture. There is just no end of possibilities, but maybe you can start by using a piece of black paper and making a heart shaped cutout, say about 1/3 or 1/4 the diameter the front of your lens, and then placing it across the front of the lens when taking exposures. The shape of the cutout will be seen in the shape of the out of focus circles. You can experiment to get more or less effect on the main subject compared to the effect on the background. Try varying the size of the cutout, the distance in front of the lens, the centering on the lens, and the cleanness of the cutout edges (use a colored napkin and tear the paper out with your fingers instead of cutting with scissors).

That's all uncomplex and not expensive just because you have a half decent lens. Of course if this really gets your attention... there are several rather expensive lenses that you'll just have to have that do wonderful things with bokeh! And you might even need to buy a new camera to use them too. This is not a good addiction...
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,979 posts, read 19,902,939 times
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Floyd - I see the overlaps, yes. Kinda hard to rearrange the lights on the tree though, but good exercise in the future. I've seen kits on the net too, but I know I can make my own like you mentioned...stars, hexagons and what not. I'm not at the point yet of aiming for perfection...just was excited that I actually "understood" the concept, and that was a big thing for me. My eyes tend to glaze when reading very technical stuff (like circle of confusion) so after several attempts and I finally got it to where I want, well...I'll bask in this for a while. I thought a new camera was in my future, but alas, not this year.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 7,657,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bibit612 View Post
Floyd - I see the overlaps, yes. Kinda hard to rearrange the lights on the tree though, but good exercise in the future. I've seen kits on the net too, but I know I can make my own like you mentioned...stars, hexagons and what not. I'm not at the point yet of aiming for perfection...just was excited that I actually "understood" the concept, and that was a big thing for me.
It's a case of now you can play with it! And no need to worry about "perfection", whatever that is, cause it's all fun.

If you don't have an extra string of lights, either buy one, take one off the tree, or just wait until the tree comes down and keep one string out of the storage box this year. Set up a subject where ever you like. It might be a person or an inanimate object that won't get tired and escape. One way to hang the lights would be to string some netting on a wall, or hanging from the ceiling, and then tie the light string to that. The netting will be out of focus, so that or whatever you have the lights strung on will not be important. Anything that allows flexibility for where the lights are is good enough. You could, for example put the light string on the back of a chair and place it some distance away from a table or other support for whatever the "subject" is.

And while there are kits available for shaped apertures, I'd much rather just make them. It's a lot more fun and there's no end of what you can imagine and do. For example, a few years ago I had just a fantastic time entertaining a couple of 4/6 year old kids (and their mother too) sitting at a restaurant table taking pictures of them filtered through white paper napkins that I was cutting shapes in. It was great fun. (Incidentally, there are now a couple dozen of my prints, up to as large as 24"x40", decorating the two dining areas of that restaurant, which is owned by the children's parents.)
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Deep in the heart of Texas
1,914 posts, read 7,150,852 times
Reputation: 1989
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
Great, except your subject title says "Bokeh", and what you've discussed is not bokeh, but how to get things out of the Depth Of Field!So, now that you can get an OOF background at will, lets experiment with the character of the OOF background, because that is "bokeh"! For that there are a couple of important things to note in your image, and then maybe try to play with a bit.

First is the shape of the out of focus points of light, some of which are round and some that are not. The round ones are towards the center of the image and at the more distance edges the shape becomes less round. That is probably caused by vignetting. You might try re-arranging the lights in the background to be more regularly spaced, and all far enough laterally removed from the main subject to form a more interesting relationship between the background pattern and the main subject. And waste a little "film" (it's cheap) and shoot each shot wide open at f/1.4 and also at 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments further stopped down.

A second point is how the out of focus circles have a slightly brighter ring right at the outer edge. That is caused by "over correction" for spherical aberrations (too much curve in the shape of the lens). Note that when out of focus circles overlap it shows up a lot more. So when you re-arrange the lights in the background to experiment, one consideration is whether any of them should be close enough to overlap, or not.

Another experiment you might enjoy is a "shaped" aperture. There is just no end of possibilities, but maybe you can start by using a piece of black paper and making a heart shaped cutout, say about 1/3 or 1/4 the diameter the front of your lens, and then placing it across the front of the lens when taking exposures. The shape of the cutout will be seen in the shape of the out of focus circles. You can experiment to get more or less effect on the main subject compared to the effect on the background. Try varying the size of the cutout, the distance in front of the lens, the centering on the lens, and the cleanness of the cutout edges (use a colored napkin and tear the paper out with your fingers instead of cutting with scissors).

That's all uncomplex and not expensive just because you have a half decent lens. Of course if this really gets your attention... there are several rather expensive lenses that you'll just have to have that do wonderful things with bokeh! And you might even need to buy a new camera to use them too. This is not a good addiction...
^^^^ I was going to say that too But it STILL LOOKS AWESOME
GREAT JOB AGAIN.
And just to add to what the others are saying yes, to covering your lens with a black piece of cardstock, and I use a crafting shaped punch in a heart shape, snowflake, you name it to make cool effects. So much fun with our cameras
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
31,767 posts, read 28,830,565 times
Reputation: 12341
The cat-eye effect at the edges as well as the "ring" on OOF highlights are characteristics of the lens. Not much can be done about it. And speaking of the characteristics of the bokeh, if I had over a grand to throw for this special purpose, Sony's 135mm/2.8 STF would be it (a revival of Minolta STF). It might make for a pretty good portrait lens on full frame.



This lens uses two apertures, one (front) is a ten-blade stepless aperture controlled via a ring on the lens, and the inside aperture is controlled via the camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
Great, except your subject title says "Bokeh", and what you've discussed is not bokeh, but how to get things out of the Depth Of Field!
And how exactly do you make characteristics of bokeh independent of DOF?
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