XDrive Photography Learning – 20 – Bokeh (Redo ;-)

This is my second submission for XDrive Photography Learning – 20 – Bokeh.

Have you noticed my mistakes in my previous Bokeh post? Ha ha ha. You see, all details have to be spelled out and easy to be understood in order for me to “get it”. Several articles I read say “bokeh is artistic quality of out-of-focus area”. What does “artistic quality” really mean? Is it enough if I think my photo has artistic quality?

Amy (The World is a Book…) has a wonderful post on Bokeh. You can find it here. Mary (Tales From the Back Road) commented on Amy’s blog: “…so many people are just posting shallow depth of field photos, with no bokeh.” Oops, I think some of my photos are shallow-depth-of-field photos. (Raj didn’t want to hurt my feeling… 😉

So, I googled again, and this time I found Shivanand Sharma’s article: “Bokeh Vs DOF – the Difference Between the Two”. In that article, Shivanand says, “Bokeh refers to the quality of blurred imagery complemented by circular discs of light rendered by out-of-focus points of light.” Ah-ha, circular discs! (It can be other shape, too, like the heart shape I had in my previous post.)

That’s the story, and now here are 3 photos I took this afternoon.

Better? I hope. I feel better anyway 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
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24 Responses to XDrive Photography Learning – 20 – Bokeh (Redo ;-)

  1. Jim says:

    nice shots! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary says:

    Nice shots! You did a great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. carol1945 says:

    Interesting to think about “artistic quality” of bokeh. I just learned this term about a year or two ago. For some reason, “depth of field” has always been a hard concept for me to understand, I don’t know why. My mind cannot wrap around it, but I do understand bokeh. At any rate, whether your photos are bokeh or shallow depth of field, I like them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Carol. You are so sweet. I know there are people like me, who are easily get confused. I remember one time our daughter had a cold and we took her to see the Dr. Dr. asked, “does she cough often?” My husband and I responded at the same time. He said, “YES!” (loud). And I said, “No.” Dr. laughed; he wanted to know if we lived at the same house. I asked him what he meany by “often”? Once per hour? Twice? You see what I mean? 😉
      If you shoot in auto, shutter speed, or program mode (I don’t know about Cannon. Nikon has a program mode — you only set ISO, nothing else), you don’t have to worry about DOF, because camera will take care of it for you. If you use aperture or manual mode, you have to set the aperture yourself. In this case, DOF is important.
      My experience is that every person explains things differently, and some are easier for me to learn from. Whenever I want to learn something, I would spend a lot of time watching tutorial videos. Some I would skip after only watching for a minute or two — those videos didn’t “work” for this student. Usually, after a couple tries, I would find a video that fitted me well; then I would have that ah-ha moment. DOF is not difficult to understand. My guess is you haven’t found the right teacher (or video, in my case.)
      I would like to encourage you to look for DOF videos. Don’t spend too much time on the one you don’t like or doesn’t work for you. I am sure you will have that ah-ha moment, too.
      This is from someone who doesn’t understand what “artistic quality” means… see, you are in a much better position to learn anything you want to learn. Ha.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raj says:

        The doctor scene…. funny… Its the computer programmers mind you see, we need all the questions answered before we say yes or no. The outside world never understands us. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          You are right. But wouldn’t everybody benefit from getting all detail information before making a decision? Someone, I forgot who, was very mad at me one time because I kept asking more clarification. He thought I was trying to challenge him or something. I simply was trying to give him the best answer I could. Oh well…

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy says:

    Very cool bokeh shots, Helen. Thank you for Sharma’s article, it really helps lot. I don’t think of shallow DOF most of time, I should. Thank you for mentioning my post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. brenda says:

    Thank you for introducing me to Shivanand Sharma as I found her discussion on rhythm which may help me move from muddy waters to clarity of images. 🙂 Beautiful bokeh images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Brenda. I took a note on the rhythm part, too 😉 I tried to get any help I could get to understand rhythm 😉
      Thanks for bringing that to our attention. It’s a good one 😉
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Raj says:

    Great follow up post-Helen!
    Basically, the topic of bokeh is bit confusing and bit blurry by itself 😀 For me, bokeh is “blur” so I am not expecting the “bokeh dots/circles”. Any blur is a bokeh but having said that, that blur should be pleasing to the eyes. The blur can be a creamy or buttery in most cases. But again that is subjective if the story permits one can have harsh blur too.

    If you check my post, I said the first image has a bokeh. The blur in the picture compliments the story here, blur is smooth for my acceptance level. But if you check the second image, even though it has visible bokeh circles, I feel its kind of harsh. It strains the eyes. So basically we need to look at good and harsh bokeh. But as I said earlier there are a lot of discussions on this topic on the internet and everyone has their own valid arguments. But by definition of bokeh is the blur and I am trying to talk about the quality of blur.

    Pic 1: Yes, there is a bokeh here but the background what you have doesn’t emphasise the bokeh a much. It’s because of the available background. Bokeh highlights also not being consistent. So I won’t consider this example as a good bokeh background.

    Pic 2: There is an excellent bokeh here. I am not talking about those highlights, but the area below the highlights where there is a creamy buttery layer, this is what is a good bokeh. Composition wise you could have done still better, probably you did not focus much on that here. 😊

    Pic 3: This is a fine picture. The highlights showing the bokeh. Hope my comments clarified the things not confused you still more! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Raj. Bokeh is “blur” — I thought that was what you said, but after reading Mary’s comment, I went back to check all of your photos and I did find “bokeh dots/circles” in most, if not all, of them, so I thought maybe I had misunderstood you.
      After reading your comment, I understand “quality of blur” much better, and I know what I will pay attention to when I shoot in future. Thank you.
      Pic 1: I am still think about this one… In a way, “not being totally consistent” attracts me. ;-(
      Pic 2: I couldn’t make the Buddha sit in a position I wanted; he kept rolling back to this position, and my patient finally ran out 😉 Not a great composition for sure.
      Thanks again, Raj. You did clarify a couple of things for me 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: XDrive Photography Learning – 20 – Bokeh – XDrive

  8. Great pictures Helen!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lady Oscar says:

    Nice story. you are truly a good story teller! I like your beautiful mala!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. DG MARYOGA says:

    Splendid photos,excellent focus and bokeh backdrop!I admire you for starting such a demanding journey to the endless magic of the photography world.Keep going,dear Helen;your work is shinining 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. neihtn2012 says:

    Helen, these shots are very nice, but they don’t take away from the ones you on the first bokeh installment. I think as long as you like the final image that’s what really counts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Hien. Your wisdom words are appreciated. I agree with you, bokeh or not, it’s how much the final image means to me that matters. These exercises do give me a push to shoot pictures, which is a good thing. 😉
      Have a great day.


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