2009-01-01Today as we were taking down our Christmas decorations, I thought it would be a great time to take a couple of photos to show a good example of what is meant by the term “bokeh.” 

Bokeh is derived from the Japanese language and means “blurred or fuzzy.”  In photography it refers to the appearance of out of focus areas of an image caused by using a shallow depth of field.

The two photos at the right were taken with the camera on a tripod as to not change the physical layout of the scene.  What was changed was the aperture of the lens from f16 (shown on the left) and f2.8 (shown on the right).  In order to keep the exposure correct, the shutter speed was changed to compensate for the change in aperture.

The photo on the left with the small aperture (f16) shows a greater depth of field with the tree showing a lot more detail.  The photo on the right with the large aperture (f2.8) really separates the subject from the background.

The Christmas tree lights change from a very sharp point of light to a large disk of color. Bokeh can add a very nice touch to a photograph.  Give it a try.

The photo to the right was captured at a wooden boat show in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The photo has some great contrasts in both color and texture. Another contrast is the difference between old (boat) and new (line).  It is hard to tell that in this photo because the old boat is very well kept.

Also, notice the angles created by the dock line and the edge of the boat’s deck.  Everything brings your eyes back to the center of the photo.  Even when your eyes wander to the edge they follow one of the lines back in again.

When I looked outside this evening I saw the full moon with some very interesting light clouds that were dancing in the moonlight.  I grabbed the camera and 200mm lens and took a few shots.  I tried several exposures because with the very dark sky and the very bright moon the light meter in the camera gets confused.  This one turned out the best of the bunch.

I did have to do some editing in Adobe Lightroom to bring up the clouds and to tone down the brightness of the moon just a bit, but this is about what I saw with my naked eye.  I also cropped the image to about 1/6 of the frame to make the moon larger in the image.






I’ve been gathering “theme” shots for while on “Life Through a Dog’s Eyes.” The photo to the right may not be too exciting to a human (from a human’s perspective), but put yourself down low and that hydrant looks pretty good against the blue sky. Not only that, but it smells…. well, never mind.  I didn’t get that close.  🙂  To do it right (from a dog’s eye), I should have probably converted the photo to black and white.  Maybe if I get around to putting a book together, I’ll do that.

It is amazing how different the world looks from a slightly different point of view.  Do you have a 2 year old running round the house?  Well, maybe you should hold your camera knee high and see what they see.  It would be fun to make a picture book from your child’s perspective at various ages.

Keep on shooting!


While visiting my parents today my dad showed me what he had been up to.  Talk about a lot of work chopping all of this wood, but it will be nice when the cold of Winter hits.  This photo tells a story with the fact that a lot of work was performed and it was performed by hand.

I hope that when I am my dad’s age that I am able to work as hard as he does.

Rusty AbstractI like to look closely at things examining the detail. This is just what happened a few weeks ago in Portland, OR. My wife and I were walking down a dock on the Columbia river and there were these very large poles that had been driven into the bottom of the river to secure the dock. Since they are made out of iron and are not painted, guess what happened? Corrosion of course, especially in the wet environment around Portland.

The graduated shadows due to the curve of the pole give the abstract image even more interest.







Speaking of rain… Here is another photograph that I took just after a rain storm in one of the local parks in Boise, Idaho. The droplets hanging off the edge of the wooden slats of this park bench intrigued me. Also, the rich colors of the wood looked good to my eye as well. I took one image with the slats pretty much level, but I liked diagonal composition of this shot better.

I also used a fairly large aperture in the lens to force the background to be blurry which helps to keep the focus on the subject.

Don’t forget to get up close to your subject for some of your photographs.

Chrome and WoodOne of our favorite past times is to walk the docks when visiting a marina.  Being sailors at heart, it is just a natural thing for us to do.  I always have a camera with me when we do this as I can be guaranteed I will see something nautical to shoot.

Sometimes I will look at the big picture and photograph an entire boat or at least a big piece of it.  Other times I like to compose a tighter shot to see some detail.  I like this particular shot because of the rich colors and the nice contrast between the wood, chrome, white and green colors.

When you are shooting details that are very white, be sure that you do not over expose the image or you will lose the detail in the whites.

Ski BootsAnother sunny day of skiing at Bogus Basin brings this “odd” photo. What is there to do while riding alone on a chair lift but to take pictures.

I grabbed onto the back of the chair and leaned out as far as I dared to grab this shot between my ski boots.

Canon PowerShot S-500 (pocket camera), lens 7.4mm @ f7.1, 1/200, ISO 50.