Bokeh is the theme for the week in the 52 Weeks the 2015 Edition group.
It’s a strange word that gets pronounced in many ways, I tend to pronounce it “boe-key” but others say “boe-ka” or “boe-kay”. Anyway, however you pronounce it, it comes from the Japanese word for blur or haze and Wikipedia define it as;
the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens . . . the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.
The shape of the bokeh is defined by the shape of the aperture through which the light passes – this is normally the shape formed by the blades in your lens – the more blades the smoother the circle and the nicer the bokeh, shooting as wide open as possible (small f/ number) also helps the effect. On the other hand, fewer blades will give a shape with a discernible number of sides to it.
LHS is my shot, RHS is a snippet from these people.
Of course, with pinpoints of light, the bokeh are obvious, but the shape of any out of focus areas are affected to some degree by this phenomenon.
But if you want to get really creative then you can change the shape of the bokeh by putting a mask on the front of the lens. Bokeh Masters (or take a look on eBay) make a neat kit with a holder and pre-cut shapes that help you create the effect you want. The only thing to look out for here is that your aperture must be larger than the shape – so shoot wide open and you should be OK. But it’s just as easy to do it yourself (carefully) with a knife and piece of black card.
This was taken with the Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and a Bokeh Masters heart-shaped cut-out on the front.
For the weekly theme, I had planned to go for a more traditional shot of candles in a wintry scene but once again time caught up with me and I ended up taking this abstract of an ornament that my wife has that includes some small LED bulbs.