Creating A Blur Effect With The Whatever’s Around Filter

Creating A Blur Effect With The Whatever's Around Filter

Look at the picture on the top from Gilad Ben Ari. Click on it to really see it larger.

Something just does not add up. There’s a noticeable blur on the red in the bottom half of the image. I asked. It is not photoshopped. I’ll say it again. NOT PHOTOSHOPPED. 

Take it as an exercise; try to think what makes the blur before reading on.

Let’s try and explore the options:


Ok, this is starting to be annoying – I said no Photoshop. OK, maybe just a bit of saturation and color correction, but nothing that can contribute to the nice blurring effect.

Motion Blur?

That an interesting option.

Let’s see – the person on the top left is sharp. That reduces the chances of motion blur. Looking at the EXIF, we can see that this image was taken with 1/2500 sec @ 88mm. This ratio is not very likely to create motion blur. (Remember the thumb rule says 1/focal length)

So motion blur is out too.

Special Filter?

Yes! As I like to call it The “Whatever’s Around” filter.

Have you ever played hide the fence? It’s a photography game where your subject is behind a fence. If the ratio between the distance to your subject and the distance to the fence if big enough (and I’m talking millimeters Vs. Meters) the fence will be so blurred that it will become invisible.

This happens because the fence is so close to the lens that it is completely out of your depth of field.

There is a similar effect in action in this photograph. I happen to know that Gilad was holding a nice bouquet of those red flowers in front of the lens in the time of shoot. The blurred red smears are petals of flowers that are very close to the lens.

Using The Whatever’s Around Filter

It is a simple trick with wonderful results:

1. Make sure that you are photographing something that is a bit far away.

2. Pick up whatever’s around – flowers, wheat stalks, Grass, Tissue paper shreds…

3. Put whatever you picked up close to the lens – do not cover the lens and make sure that your subject is not hidden by any of the clutter filter.

4. Press the shutter release.

  • alfredo_tomato

    I saw a fashion photographer using lace for the effect she wanted.