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A Photographic Thought

Don’t you just love that ‘bokeh’ blurry background effect that photographers get? I do, not all the time, but used appropriately, it can create really memorable images.

How do photographers create this blurred background thing? Quite simple really – it’s all down to having a very shallow depth of field, which is probably easier to understand if you call it ‘depth of focus’. For example, not using real figures: with a certain lens at a certain focal length – that’s the millimetres thing, you know, 28mm, and with a big hole, better known as an ‘aperture’ or ‘f-stop’, say f2.8, only the thing you focus on is in focus, plus a very shallow area behind the thing you focus on. Say, 1.5 metres. This means that anything beyond 1.5 metres, is not in focus. Hey presto! Bokeh!

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The trouble is that this depth of focus changes in relation to the length of a lens and the size of the aperture. Smaller apertures, that’s with bigger f numbers (f10, f18, f32 etc) have much deeper focus areas.

This depth of field or focus thing, as you prefer, can be calculated – just search Google for ‘DOF calculators’, and there are even charts to help you. But we live in the digital age now, so why can’t the manufacturers build a DOF display into their cameras? Much better than that silly ‘direct print’ button thing on Canon dSLRs, or so I think.

Just a photographic thought for the day, inspired by this photo, and, if you click, you will see a comment of mine on this very subject.

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