Bokeh, as you must know by now if you are a regular reader is a Japanese word that means blur. In photography the quality of Bokeh usually means how creamy is the out of focus area in the photograph.
Sometimes tough, Bokeh refers to the highlighted circles that we see in nightscape photos. Those out of focus street lights and car lights that turn into beautiful blurry discs.
The folks at The Slanted Lens did a great Bokeh oriented shoot in Times square. But… before that they did their almost scientific analysis run down on what creates a good highlight Bokeh from specular lights, comparing different focal lengths, and camera-to-subject-to-background variations.
Turns out that there are three simple rules:
1. Get as far away from the background as you can – This will help taking the specular background way out of the depth of field.
2. Get as close to the subject as you can – If you are focusing close, DOF is smaller and the background is blurryer (yes, that is a real word)
3. Set the aperture as wide as you can – this, not only reduces DOF, but also creates a nicer pattern to the out of focus circles.
Here are some bokeh comparisons from the movie, note that three factors are changing: aperture, distance to subject and distance to background
Love Bokeh? Share with us in the comments.