This is a short, simple story of how soft, blurry parts of vision can make the sharp, clear parts look much clearer than they could have been by themselves. This is a qualitative element of photography and not a quantitative one that photography enthusiasts strive for, to create a dreamy, eye-catching effect. This, is bokeh.
Today’s Toecabulary discusses this aesthetic detail that makes images that much more pleasing. Derived from the Japanese word for ‘blur’, bokeh gives a buttery effect to a photograph because it blurs parts of a scene in a way that out-of-focus parts themselves become artistic elements that makes an image silky soft.
The joy of creating a dreamy vision out of a relatively plain reality is made possible by the bokeh effect. If the number of blades that make up your lens’s aperture is more than…say, five, you will be able to get a desirable bokeh effect, without jagged edges.
Large apertures such as f/1.2 through f/2.8 enable you to produce lovely bokeh effect because of the low depth of field. Some of the legendary bokeh lenses you can use include Nikon 200mm f/2, Nikon 105mm f/1.4, Canon 85mm f/1.2 and Canon 400mm f/2.8. With such lenses, you can make the streetlights of a lovely city look otherworldly, blur the background into a buttery bokeh to make the subject of an image stand out better, as depicted by these pictures.
A variety of lens aberrations can produce undesirable bokeh effect, as shown in this image. If you are a big fan of this aesthetic quality of photography, explore the power of the lenses we have discussed in our previous Toecabulary post – to avoid jagged edges that prevent bringing the silky smooth effect to the blur.
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