Lens Artists Challenge #194: Bokeh

When I began photography, my first goal was to photograph something with a soft blurry background behind it. I had no idea that was called bokeh. Now Sofia is asking us to show our bokeh images, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing I learned how to do it!

Actually, I love photographing flowers with bokeh.

I don’t do usually portraits, but sometimes I can catch one with a bokeh background. This one, of a dog looking up at someone, happened to be taken at Sutter Creek.

Although this one wasn’t candid, it did end up with a slight bokeh. This was taken of my chiropractor, Heather Rosenberg, DC for her monthly newsletter. If you live near Roseville, CA, she’s the best!

Although I prefer to do close ups with a macro lens, whatever lens you have will work. Sometimes a background ends in bokeh even though you’re not intending it to.

Here I was just trying to capture the changing leaf colors with an 18-55mm lens and ended up with a nice background.

In this photo, I was trying to get underneath the mushroom to capture its folds and details with my 18-55mm. (I was too lazy to go back to the car for my macro lens.) Again, I ended up with a nice bokeh.

Sofia mentioned bokeh having a speckled look. I’ve found that water lends itself to that. I think I’ve shown this leaf before. I took the picture after the garden was watered and the drops gave the image a great speckled look.

Sometimes I carry a water bottle with me sprinkle the flowers before I photograph them to get a speckled effect. I didn’t have to do that with this image.

Thank you Sofia for a fun challenge that is dear to me. Again, I love closeup and macro photography. Thanks again to John for inviting us to celebrate his birthday with him last week. I will be leading next week’s challenge. Remember to link Sophia’s challenge to your reply post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #137: Soft

When I hear the word “soft” in photography terms, right away my mind goes to a beautiful bokeh background. This week’s challenge from Ann Christine is on things soft. She gave many examples on how we can interpret this challenge, but I’ll stick with the pleasing muted backgrounds.

Flowers with a bokeh background was the first type of shooting I wanted to learn when I started photography.

But then I started thinking that animals can also have a bokeh background too.

Let’s see what else I can find.

There are some very small daffodils outside my front door. If it wasn’t so windy, I’d go out and shoot them for inclusion in this post. Thank you Ann Christine!

A scavenger hunt: Old Sacramento

Sometimes you just want to have fun, so I borrowed a scavenger hunt list for a Tuesday morning outing. With camera in sling, four of us hunted the streets of Old Sacramento for items on the list. They ranged from “Something you can taste through the lens” to “bokeh” to “lines and patterns.” We exercised our minds and imaginations!

Here are some of my trophies.

This was a fun exercise. And, of course, photo buddies who help and joke around made it an extra special morning.

Bokeh! Bokeh! Bokeh! A Shoot Or Go Home photography lesson.

I’m always ready to learn, especially when the lesson is in my neighborhood. A few nights ago, five of us learned how to add shapes into our bokeh photography. Our fearless leader, Mary Gromer, founder of the Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group, had everything ready for us.

She had stamped out shapes on black construction paper. Mary then showed us how, using the black construction paper, to:

Cut a circle with tabs on either side, using our lens cap.

Cut a square in the middle of that circle.

We then taped the circle to our lens.

Then taped a pre-cut shape onto the empty square.

I used a heart and dove and soon found out that I needed a subject that was emitting a good deal of light or it didn’t work. The snowman was a popular attraction that night. It was an easy concept to comprehend, and I’m looking forward to using my cut outs on other objects.

As I said, I’m always eager to learn new concepts and shooting techniques. Here are some of that evenings shots.

Oh my, the wonders of photography

Highs and lows, that’s how I would describe this past week. On the plus side was a fun meetup that was a photo scavenger hunt. Marebeth Gromer of the Shoot or Go Home Meetup group gave us a list of 50 objects (or ideas) to shoot. We had 3 hours and I didn’t find everything. But, I had fun and did well with most of what I shot. I’m going to put in some images for you to see and probably finish off in my next post.

Frustration came as I bought some more gear. It all began with a Black Rapid 2-camera sling I bought so I wouldn’t have to keep switching lenses. It works well. Actually I love it because it makes field shooting easy and it’s more comfortable than the regular Nikon strap. However, I was still not using the tripod because of the inconvenience of taking off the sling’s “O” ring that fits into the camera base so I could mount the camera on the tripod. My photo buddy suggested I get a ring that would lay flat into the tripod’s quick release so I could easily go from tripod to sling.

So, off I went to Action Camera in Roseville, California to purchase the ring. It didn’t work with my tripod’s quick release. Back to Action Camera. I found out that the ring only works with Manfrotto tripod heads! In the end, I ended up with a Giottos tripod body and a Manfrotto head. I needed a new tripod, but was trying to make the old one work. Everything worked out okay, but it was frustrating.

I also bought a vest to carry my gear into the field. It came today. It’s still in the package. I’m afraid to try it on! What else can go wrong? Practice Tuesday has now turned into practice Wednesday evening because I cared for my younger grandchildren on Tuesday.

What am I learning? I’m learning that photography is like life, you need to remain flexible and have a good sense of humor to get through those highs and lows.