Good bokeh? Bad bokeh?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Pablo, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    Floyd L. Davidson escribió:

    > Pablo <> wrote:
    >>Floyd L. Davidson escribió:
    >>
    >>> Look down in the lower left corner, where there are three
    >>> different objects, probably tree trunks, that are more or less
    >>> vertical and more or less white. Notice that each of them
    >>> appears as an out of focus double object, with a "ghost" offset
    >>> horizontally. That is probably caused by a combination of an
    >>> over correction for spherical aberrations and an astigmatism.
    >>> It contributes to what will generally be a relatively harsh
    >>> bokeh in areas with many bright vertical lines. An example
    >>> would be a background of grass in bright sunlight.
    >>>
    >>> Other than that, the harsh bokeh of your image is not a product
    >>> of the lens so much as it is the high contrast between the
    >>> background and the subject. I don't see changing the color as
    >>> at all significant. Anything bright with even minimal detail is
    >>> not going to help.

    >>
    >>One point: I just remembered that I forgot to attach the hood for that
    >>shot. It was a very bright day, with the sun directly overhead (as is
    >>often the case here).
    >>
    >>Might this have had an adverse effect?

    >
    > I can't see anything in the image which suggests excessive flare from
    > a direct sun, so apparently it didn't have much effect.


    But disregarding the hood issue, the background being under the midday sun
    would seem to be an issue. So either I should avoid taking photos at midday,
    or make the adjustments and use a flash. No?

    --
    Pablo

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/
    http://paulc.es/piso/index.php
     
    Pablo, Jul 9, 2012
    #21
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  2. Pablo

    tony cooper Guest

    On Mon, 09 Jul 2012 08:21:51 -0400, James Silverton
    <> wrote:

    >On 7/8/2012 8:31 PM, Savageduck wrote:
    >> On 2012-07-08 16:54:03 -0700, James Silverton
    >> <> said:
    >>
    >> <<< Le Snip >>>
    >>
    >>> What on earth is "bokeh"? A definition please since I can't find it
    >>> anywhere else but this ng.C

    >>
    >> Then you haven't been looking very hard, next time try Google.
    >> If you had been following this thread you would have found Tony Cooper's
    >> contribution.
    >>
    >> < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh >
    >>
    >>

    >Marvelous! I can't see any real use for it *to me* and I would have
    >wished Tony had coined his word from Latin or Greek which might have
    >allowed me to deduce its meaning. "Bokeh" is not in the OED nor even
    >recognized by the Thunderbird spell checker.


    I did not "coin" this word. That would mean that I originated the use
    of the word. The coinage of the term is attributed to Mike Johnson.



    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
     
    tony cooper, Jul 9, 2012
    #22
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  3. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    Floyd L. Davidson escribió:

    > Pablo <> wrote:
    >>tony cooper escribió:


    >>> It's a pretentious word used to describe the appearance of a
    >>> background that is out-of-focus. If you want to be *really*
    >>> pretentious, rave about the "creamy bokeh" your lens produces.

    >>
    >>Pretentious it may be, but it works for most people.

    >
    > It is not in any way pretentious.


    "...it may be" = subjunctive mood.

    "Even though some may consider it pretentious..."

    I don't think it's pretentious. I rather believe that it is a pleasant
    sounding description of a photographic quality.

    --
    Pablo

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/
    http://paulc.es/piso/index.php
     
    Pablo, Jul 9, 2012
    #23
  4. Pablo

    otter Guest

    On Jul 8, 10:38 am, Pablo <> wrote:
    > I'm confused.
    >
    > I read this:
    >
    > <http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-S-M-C-Super-Auto-Takumar-...
    > F1.8.html>
    >
    > And take this:
    >
    > <http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/7527964766/in/photostream>
    >
    > The bokeh seems harsh to me.
    >
    > Am I doing something wrong?


    No offense intended, but some pictures aren't worth bothering over.
    Just delete it and move on.

    The thing that bothers me the most about that picture is the underside
    of the branch which is blurred. If you really want to take that
    picture with the background blurred, and the tree trunk in focus,
    maybe consider a different angle, so the branch is at right angle to
    you, rather than coming right at you. I have the same problem with
    dogs noses.
     
    otter, Jul 9, 2012
    #24
  5. Pablo

    Bruce Guest

    James Silverton <> wrote:
    >No, I sometimes disagree with any spell checkers but they *are* an
    >indication of usage. My OED is the up-to-date online version available
    >via my public library. To me "bokeh" sounds like something dreamed up by
    >the pretentious Hyacinth Bucket of British TV.



    The word is of Japanese origin and the English spelling formerly used
    was 'boke'. However, some ignorant people pronounced it to rhyme with
    'smoke' so the h was added at the end to emphasise that the word has
    two syllables, not one.

    As Wikipedia states, "The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense
    of a mental haze or senility." There seems to be a lot of it about on
    Usenet photo newsgroups.
     
    Bruce, Jul 9, 2012
    #25
  6. Pablo

    Bruce Guest

    Pablo <> wrote:
    >I don't think it's pretentious. I rather believe that it is a pleasant
    >sounding description of a photographic quality.



    People who don't/won't/can't understand a concept often resort to
    labelling it "pretentious". People who are particularly ignorant will
    deny that it even exists.
     
    Bruce, Jul 9, 2012
    #26
  7. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    Pablo, Jul 9, 2012
    #27
  8. On 7/9/2012 10:23 AM, Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
    > James Silverton <> wrote:
    >> No, I sometimes disagree with any spell checkers but they *are* an
    >> indication of usage. My OED is the up-to-date online version available
    >> via my public library. To me "bokeh" sounds like something dreamed up by
    >> the pretentious Hyacinth Bucket of British TV.

    >
    > You, sir, seem to be more than a mite pretenious...


    It might have helped if you had used your spell checker on the last word
    quoted.:)

    --
    Jim Silverton (Potomac, MD)

    Extraneous "not" in Reply To.
     
    James Silverton, Jul 9, 2012
    #28
  9. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    Floyd L. Davidson escribió:

    > Pablo <> wrote:
    >>otter escribió:
    >>
    >>> No offense intended, but some pictures aren't worth bothering over.
    >>> Just delete it and move on.

    >>
    >>You're missing the point. I'm trying to learn. Didn't you ever wonder
    >>where a picture went wrong and ask for an opinion?

    >
    > Learning to edit might be best done on images not otherwise
    > worth the bother! The idea is to avoid emotional attachment...


    I actually try to avoid editing. Tweaking the exposure, or bringing out the
    shadows a bit is fine, but editing is trying to make the picture into
    something it wasn't. This certainly has its place, as in doctoring models,
    or removing hanging power cables etc., but I'd rather just get the thing
    right in the camera if at all possible.

    Actually, in the case of my tree, I suppose there is a case for editing the
    background, in as much as it plays no part in the composition.

    --
    Pablo

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/
    http://paulc.es/piso/index.php
     
    Pablo, Jul 9, 2012
    #29
  10. Pablo

    PeterN Guest

    On 7/9/2012 11:12 AM, Bruce wrote:
    > James Silverton <> wrote:
    >> No, I sometimes disagree with any spell checkers but they *are* an
    >> indication of usage. My OED is the up-to-date online version available
    >> via my public library. To me "bokeh" sounds like something dreamed up by
    >> the pretentious Hyacinth Bucket of British TV.

    >
    >
    > The word is of Japanese origin and the English spelling formerly used
    > was 'boke'. However, some ignorant people pronounced it to rhyme with
    > 'smoke' so the h was added at the end to emphasise that the word has
    > two syllables, not one.
    >
    > As Wikipedia states, "The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense
    > of a mental haze or senility." There seems to be a lot of it about on
    > Usenet photo newsgroups.
    >


    This is too easy and I can't resist.
    Must be self analysis

    --
    Peter
     
    PeterN, Jul 10, 2012
    #30
  11. Pablo

    otter Guest

    On Jul 9, 10:41 am, Pablo <> wrote:
    > otter escribió:
    >
    > > No offense intended, but some pictures aren't worth bothering over.
    > > Just delete it and move on.

    >
    > You're missing the point. I'm trying to learn. Didn't you ever wonder where
    > a picture went wrong and ask for an opinion?
    >
    > Perhaps you didn't.
    >


    I was trying not to invoke an emotional response, but I guess I did.

    I shoot a lot of crappy shots. Sometimes it seems like there really
    should be a picture there, but when you look at it after the fact, it
    just isn't. So in the trash it goes, in my case. I'd rather obsess
    over shots that actually look good to my eye to begin with. I do have
    a problem with sometimes throwing away shots that might have been
    repaired.

    I did offer you a suggestion on your picture in my comment, though, if
    you go back and look. The suggestion is simply, if you want to blur
    the background, select a subject that fits in the DOF that you have
    created. In the case of the tree, you may need to find a better angle
    to get all the important details in a plane perpendicular to the
    camera. This is something you will need to consider for all shots
    with shallow DOF. There are other problems with that shot, though:
    - lighting (all landscapes should be shot in the golden hour, or near
    to it)
    - composition (go read up on the "rules")
    etc.

    Another thing you could possibly try is focus stacking, but may
    require a tripod.
     
    otter, Jul 10, 2012
    #31
  12. Pablo

    tony cooper Guest

    On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 17:45:22 -0700 (PDT), otter
    <> wrote:

    >I shoot a lot of crappy shots.


    Don't we all?

    >Sometimes it seems like there really should be a picture there,
    >but when you look at it after the fact, it just isn't.


    Oh, yeah. Been there. Done that.

    When I come back home from a day of shooting, my wife usually asks
    "Get any good ones?" I tell her I don't know until I've uploaded them
    and worked with them a bit. Invariably, there's a few that I really
    thought would work that fail dismally.


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
     
    tony cooper, Jul 10, 2012
    #32
  13. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    Savageduck escribió:

    > On 2012-07-09 19:00:31 -0700, tony cooper <> said:
    >
    >> On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 17:45:22 -0700 (PDT), otter
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> I shoot a lot of crappy shots.

    >>
    >> Don't we all?
    >>
    >>> Sometimes it seems like there really should be a picture there,
    >>> but when you look at it after the fact, it just isn't.

    >>
    >> Oh, yeah. Been there. Done that.
    >>
    >> When I come back home from a day of shooting, my wife usually asks
    >> "Get any good ones?" I tell her I don't know until I've uploaded them
    >> and worked with them a bit. Invariably, there's a few that I really
    >> thought would work that fail dismally.

    >
    > Sometimes more than a few, and I wonder why I wasted the time and gas.


    You have one of those new-fangled gas-powered cameras?

    > That is when I try to become a Photoshop artist. Only after I declare
    > those results nauseatingly beyond rescue do I accept defeat and think
    > of how I will do things differently next time.
    >


    Well, despite otter's comments, I've learned some stuff as a result of
    asking what went wrong with that "rubbish" photo.

    Emotional response? No, I don't get it.

    For me, apart from the inevitable squabbling about the meaning of a word,
    this thread has been interesting.

    --
    Pablo

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/
    http://paulc.es/piso/index.php
     
    Pablo, Jul 10, 2012
    #33
  14. Floyd L. Davidson <> wrote:
    > Chris Malcolm <> wrote:


    >>All you can do with the bokeh of particular lens is to increase or
    >>decrease the amount of blurring, you can't change the character of the
    >>bokeh. (Unless it's one of those specialised lenses with bokeh controls.)


    > Increasing/decreasing the amount of blur, as you say, is not a
    > change in bokeh. But with most lenses there are very
    > significant changes in bokeh at different apertures. In
    > particular a wide open aperture will not show either "starburst"
    > effects from the corners of the aperture blades, but will also
    > be round in shape rather than a polygon determined by the number
    > of blades.


    > The over/under correction for spherical aberrations that you
    > later mention can also change significantly.


    Agreed.

    >>For example, the kind of poorly corrected spherical aberration at wide
    >>apertures which gives a brighter edge than centre to OOF highlights
    >>will do the same to all high contrast edges, just less obviously. In
    >>the case of long thin things like blades of grass or plant stems it
    >>will give rise to a doubled image appearance.


    > That is the result of combining over correction of spherical
    > aberrations with astigmatism.


    It could be, but not at all necessarily. Astigmatism would exaggerate
    the effect in a certain direction but it still happens in any
    direction with zero astigmatism. Smear a hard edged and brighter edged
    disc along a straight line and you'll get the doubled image
    effect. Very obvious for example in reflex lenses.

    > It is, for example, more likely
    > to show up in the corners of an image.


    Because of the quite proper radial stretching of the perspective
    projection of linear wide angle lenses when viewed with a narrower
    angle than the view angle of the lens, or because of coma, as well as
    possible astigmatism.

    >>The most extreme form of
    >>this is seen in the notorious "doughnut" bokeh of reflex lenses, which
    >>have a doughnut shaped aperture.


    > No, that is a totally different phenomenon. That is the shape of the
    > aperture, not a matter of spherical aberrations and astigmatism.


    True, but the reflex "doughnut" is still a circle with sharp edges
    which is brighter at the edge than in the middle, and produces doubled
    images of straight edges in any direction in any part of the image in
    just the same way as the brighter edged circles of imperfectly
    corrected spherical aberration can.

    > Here's link to a very good article with good examples:


    > http://toothwalker.org/optics/bokeh.html


    A good article, and it explains the similarity of the spherical
    aberration and reflex doughnut effect to give doubled edges I'm
    referring to.

    "The dark core surrounded by a brighter margin is a sign of spherical
    aberration. This phenomenon mimics the donut OOFH delivered by mirror
    lenses and is the quintessence of the so-called "nisen-bokeh". For an
    isolated highlight there is only the donut, but in an extended image
    it may lead to double contours."

    >>Odd numbers of iris blades reduce corner diffraction effects on bright
    >>lights. Curved iris blades and more of them make it more like a
    >>circle. Prime numbers are best because there's never any diametrical
    >>coincidence of two corners. So the best iris blades have a prime
    >>number of curved blades, the more the better.


    > It doesn't require a prime number, just and odd number.


    You're right, brain fart on my part.

    [snip]

    >>Do you have to wear spectacles? If so, take them off and examine the
    >>bokeh of your eyes by looking at a small bright light source. The
    >>bokeh of mine is disgusting! :)


    > I'm very near sighted and have a great deal of astigmatism.
    > Without glasses the world is a very pleasingly smooth blob!


    --
    Chris Malcolm
     
    Chris Malcolm, Jul 10, 2012
    #34
  15. Chris Malcolm <> wrote:

    > An optically perfect lens would turn OOF point light sources into
    > evenly lit sharp edged images of the iris shape, usually an
    > approximate circle, such as a hexagon.


    And if you want something better, look at the Sony 135mm
    f/2.8[T4.5] STF.

    -Wolfgang
     
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jul 10, 2012
    #35
  16. Pablo

    RichA Guest

    On Jul 9, 11:41 am, Pablo <> wrote:
    > otter escribió:
    >
    > > No offense intended, but some pictures aren't worth bothering over.
    > > Just delete it and move on.

    >
    > You're missing the point. I'm trying to learn. Didn't you ever wonder where
    > a picture went wrong and ask for an opinion?
    >


    You can sum up what people are trying to illustrate by saying,
    "whatever draws the eye from the main subject, or is distracting from
    it, is bad." Bokeh, is the idea of forming a backdrop (though it
    could be in the foreground, though you don't see it much) that
    compliments the scene without dominating it. This is why portraits
    are often done with a diffuse background, since the subject is the
    person or object being shot directly. If (for example) you have a
    lens that blurs out the background such that it creates some weird
    motion effect (blurred objects become curves, it's been known to
    happen with some lenses) then you can say that lens in that situation
    produced "bad" bokeh. In your case, it did something distracting with
    the OOF (out of focus) background tree branches and colours.
     
    RichA, Jul 10, 2012
    #36
  17. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    RichA escribió:

    > You can sum up what people are trying to illustrate by saying,
    > "whatever draws the eye from the main subject, or is distracting from
    > it, is bad." Bokeh, is the idea of forming a backdrop (though it
    > could be in the foreground, though you don't see it much) that
    > compliments the scene without dominating it. This is why portraits
    > are often done with a diffuse background, since the subject is the
    > person or object being shot directly. If (for example) you have a
    > lens that blurs out the background such that it creates some weird
    > motion effect (blurred objects become curves, it's been known to
    > happen with some lenses) then you can say that lens in that situation
    > produced "bad" bokeh. In your case, it did something distracting with
    > the OOF (out of focus) background tree branches and colours.


    Yes, and the lesson learned over all the rest is "don't shoot scenes like
    that at midday". I know it's often mentioned as a rule, but I've now had it
    drummed into me.

    Thanks to all.

    --
    Pablo

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/
    http://paulc.es/piso/index.php
     
    Pablo, Jul 10, 2012
    #37
  18. Pablo

    tony cooper Guest

    On Tue, 10 Jul 2012 15:00:36 +0200, Pablo <> wrote:

    >RichA escribió:
    >
    >> You can sum up what people are trying to illustrate by saying,
    >> "whatever draws the eye from the main subject, or is distracting from
    >> it, is bad." Bokeh, is the idea of forming a backdrop (though it
    >> could be in the foreground, though you don't see it much) that
    >> compliments the scene without dominating it. This is why portraits
    >> are often done with a diffuse background, since the subject is the
    >> person or object being shot directly. If (for example) you have a
    >> lens that blurs out the background such that it creates some weird
    >> motion effect (blurred objects become curves, it's been known to
    >> happen with some lenses) then you can say that lens in that situation
    >> produced "bad" bokeh. In your case, it did something distracting with
    >> the OOF (out of focus) background tree branches and colours.

    >
    >Yes, and the lesson learned over all the rest is "don't shoot scenes like
    >that at midday". I know it's often mentioned as a rule, but I've now had it
    >drummed into me.
    >

    How would the image have been improved by shooting it at a different
    time? Assuming the lens and the settings are the same, what would
    time-of-day change?

    The background is going to remain the same. The lighting and the
    shadows may change, but you still would have foliage, tree trunks, and
    soil in the background. It's the background that bothers you, not the
    subject lighting.

    The time-of-day is a major consideration in many scenes, but I don't
    really see it as a consideration here.

    What could make a difference in that same shot, with the same lens and
    settings, is your position when taking the photo. The bark is going
    to be the same all around the tree, so you could shoot capturing a
    different background by moving around the tree. You could shoot
    higher or lower on the trunk to change the background by getting just
    foliage, not soil, in the background.

    One lesson you should take from all of this is to shoot multiple shots
    from multiple positions whenever possible. That's beauty of digital.
    No cost to you.

    Don't think, by the way, that because I suggest this that I always
    remember to do this. I wish I would.

    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
     
    tony cooper, Jul 10, 2012
    #38
  19. Pablo

    tony cooper Guest

    On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 23:49:59 -0700, Savageduck
    <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote:

    >On 2012-07-09 19:00:31 -0700, tony cooper <> said:
    >
    >> On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 17:45:22 -0700 (PDT), otter
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> I shoot a lot of crappy shots.

    >>
    >> Don't we all?
    >>
    >>> Sometimes it seems like there really should be a picture there,
    >>> but when you look at it after the fact, it just isn't.

    >>
    >> Oh, yeah. Been there. Done that.
    >>
    >> When I come back home from a day of shooting, my wife usually asks
    >> "Get any good ones?" I tell her I don't know until I've uploaded them
    >> and worked with them a bit. Invariably, there's a few that I really
    >> thought would work that fail dismally.

    >
    >Sometimes more than a few, and I wonder why I wasted the time and gas.
    >
    >That is when I try to become a Photoshop artist. Only after I declare
    >those results nauseatingly beyond rescue do I accept defeat and think
    >of how I will do things differently next time.


    I have spent a day out shooting and returned having not tripped the
    shutter once.

    I have spent a day out shooting and returned with card full of images
    and deleted all of them when I looked at the results.

    Last night, I left a bit early to go to my camera club meeting and
    killed some time driving down the "downtown" street of Orlando. I
    spotted these girls waiting for the Social (a nightclub) to open on
    Ladies Night. I pulled into a Loading Zone, took one shot, and it's a
    keeper for me.

    http://tonycooper.smugmug.com/Other/Candids/i-XcsJQdN/0/X2/2012-07-09-2-X2.jpg

    I know candid street photography is not of interest to those here, but
    it's what I like to do.


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
     
    tony cooper, Jul 10, 2012
    #39
  20. Pablo

    Pablo Guest

    tony cooper escribió:

    > How would the image have been improved by shooting it at a different
    > time? Assuming the lens and the settings are the same, what would
    > time-of-day change?
    >
    > The background is going to remain the same. The lighting and the
    > shadows may change, but you still would have foliage, tree trunks, and
    > soil in the background. It's the background that bothers you, not the
    > subject lighting.


    The subject wasn't lit - the background was. Strongly. I was stood in the
    shade.

    --
    Pablo

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wibbleypants/
    http://paulc.es/piso/index.php
     
    Pablo, Jul 10, 2012
    #40
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