Getting Good Bokeh

Another short presentation to my local photography club.  Last time I spoke, it was about preventing blurry photographs.  This time, it’s about deliberately blurring the background to make the subject stand out.  This is useful when the background is busy or unappealing or needs an artistic touch to be more interesting.  Have a look.

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Here are links to the resources referenced in the slides:

Bokeh Basics

Bokeh the Easy Way

Bokeh in Front of the Subject

Advanced Bokeh

Seriously Adobe?

A few days ago, Adobe launched its latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.  Strangely, this was done with little fanfare, and came as a complete surprise to me when I first saw the updates.

It’s been a long standing complaint that Adobe Lightroom is frustratingly slow to load and display images, particularly previews on import or previews when switching from Library to Develop.  Adobe promised to deal with this issue, going so far as to release a statement from photography product manager, Tom Hogarty in July.  The statement acknowledged user concerns and committed Adobe to working harder to address them.

I guess this week they delivered, but not in any way that anyone expected.  Far from being pleased, many users are puzzled and even angry at what the latest releases imply. Continue reading

Why Are My Photos Blurry?

Something a bit different for today’s post.  I gave a short presentation at my local camera club today to answer a question on why photos taken by club members are sometimes blurry.  You might find some of this information useful.  Click on the pause button to stop on any slide.

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If you would like to download a copy of the presentation, click below.  You will need either Microsoft PowerPoint or a compatible presentation viewer to open the presentation.

Why Are My Photos Blurry?

The Myth of Fast Lenses

Since I took up photography full-time 3 years ago, I’m much more informed about equipment and techniques.  There are some well-rehearsed lines in this industry:  photography is about shaping the light; remember to work the shot; don’t take pictures – make pictures.  And on and on.

Many of those tomes are also around gear – usually put out by manufacturers I think.  As an example, fast lenses (those with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger) are always better than other lenses.  Better for low light capture, better for managing depth of field, better for autofocus performance.  Always buy the fastest lens you can afford.

SaleWhenever I venture to purchase a new lens, I’m typically presented with the fastest lens first – the advanced option.  But the more I’ve shot, the more I’ve come to question this equipment mantra.  Most of the time, you DON’T need the fastest lens.  Here’s why. Continue reading

Tools That Make Macro Photography Easier – Helicon Focus Pro and CamRanger

Spring has sprung.  New life all around us, providing a wealth of photographic subjects.  Perfect for macro photography.  Macro photography reveals the smallest of these subjects, from tiny lichens to the wing details of insects to the inner sculpture of a summer bloom.

Canon Macro LensMacro photography requires only one unique piece of equipment:  a lens that can focus within a tiny distance of the subject, resulting in an image that is the same size on the camera sensor as the subject is in real life.  But macro lenses have an amazingly small depth of field, almost guaranteeing that some part of the image will be out of focus.   What’s a photographer to do? Continue reading

To Print or Not to Print, That is the Question

We didn’t learn about printing photographs during my training in digital photography.  Some of you might say “What did you expect, it was a DIGITAL photography course?”

Good point.  But I always felt there was something missing in my training and I recently attended a two day course on printing photographs.  It opened my eyes to the value of a hardcopy print.  Here’s why. Continue reading