Depth of field or boke

This is something I see commented upon a great deal – Many people refer to boke, or bokeh, boʊkɛ… Whatever.

The Japanese word boke (ボケ) means something along the lines of blur/haze/fuzz – but it’s the quality of the blur which is being commented upon, not the fact that it’s there. All lenses do boke. Well, any lens which you can focus at any rate, with a few disclaimers.

Heres a few tips;

1. The larger the sensor the more pronounced the out of focus blur will be

2. The longer the lens the more pronounced the out of focus blur will be

3. The converse to both of the above statements is true

4. None of this will automatically dictate the quality of the boke – or what the blur feels like – that’s more of a judgement call and a matter of finding out what a camera is good for (that is to say – it’s a matter of taste and highly personal).

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I love Holga’s for this – I tend to drill out the aperture plate to about f6 and modify the lens to focus closer 50cm so as I can get shots like this. The joys of 6x6cm frames, even fairly moderate apertures give nice depth of field on larger format cameras when you get nice and close.

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This is a shot which would have been vastly improved by my limiting my depth of field – This was at 55mm and 5.6, which I had no choice about, it was a reaction shot – the magpie just popped in to ask me if I had any spare food going to waste – it didn’t stick around too long – At f11 the buildings in the background would have been sharp, which would be even more distracting – at 2.8 they would have been blurry and disappeared to a greater extent – At 5.6 they’re not too intrusive.

As an aside, for some reason a lot of magpies in Australia really seemed to like me, I don’t know if it was because I sat still or what – they’d just drop what they were doing and come and visit me, they’d go through my pockets if I let them – They wouldn’t go near other people, even if offered food, Crows seemed to be fascinated by me too (the fascination was mutual). I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t hornets.

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Those two shots I just focused on something close and then recomposed – the first one is with a K10d (Brisbane city just after sunset – same view as the magpie shot above) – the second is with a mobile phone (no idea where) (and rather noisy now I look at it large)

 

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These two (obviously taken at the same time) were taken in my mums lounge, the paint on the wall is a warm mint sort of colour (quite a nice colour actually) – one had shadow behind hence the change in background colour.

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You can use a supplementary lens to achieve this sort of effect – this is a wide adapter for a mobile phone shoehorned onto a point n shoot which has been modified to see infrared. It’s kinda boke… Sorta.

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Pro tip – hold a bit of plastic in front of the lens to get interesting lens flare – Sorta boke, infrared with a really nasty lens – nothing was actually in focus, so it’s hard to judge the ‘out of focus quality’.

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Pinhole photos have infinite depth of field, but they’re typically blurry, it’s just physics, sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. As an aside, I just now finally saw the rabbit that people commented on years ago (10 years now I think of it – I wonder what they’re up to).

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Digi infrared, a poked lens, and taking a snap out of a car window at 100kph – Technically awful, but I do like this shot.

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This has blur as an integral part of the shot, but it’s not properly a boke shot as such – In the background is a row of trees and a park, but all I wanted was a nice mid tone to make the spider web on the window 30cm away pop. Taken with a Canon 760d with an 18-135 kit lens at 135mm & 5.6.

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Classic boke shot – even got the cherry blossoms. Panasonic GX1 with a 25mm 1.4 cctv lens, probably at something more like f2 to control the backlighting, the boke is a bit squirrely, but that’s not a bad thing Smile – the branch is at about 30cm and the tree is maybe 1.5m away.

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The opposite – smaller aperture for depth of field – I wanted depth of field here so I stopped down and focused out a bit. This is taken just out of Alice Springs in central Australia on a rare rainy day. It’s normally a very very arid landscape. Pentax K10d 18mm f6.3

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Big head little car – Small aperture, large depth of field. – Oh, that’s Richmond in QLD Australia – Dinosaur capital of Australia – they have fantastic dino head rubbish bins and a waterskiing lake (which is pretty odd given it’s the Aussie outback and thus dry as f^*k).

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Physautotype – redux

I finally got the process as far as this, it’s about as far as I’m going to take it for now.

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This is a contact print from a lith negative. I coated both sides of a glass plate (gives a nice three dimensional effect) in a solution of violin rosin in ethyl alcohol (0.5g in 100ml) and then contact printed it for about three days exposure to blue sky on a window sill (this is not instant photography – If exposed to direct sunlight it’d be far faster), then developed it by exposing it to the fumes of mineral turps from about 1cm away on a flat plate. A separate development for each side.

This is the process that Niepce referred to briefly in one of his letters to Dageurre in the 1820’s – he said that printed on glass it makes a pleasing image when viewed in front of a dark surface. This (mine) is sandwiched in a black perspex case with a glass cover to protect it. I offered this to Geoffery Batchen, but he never responded, so it’s going in a box I guess.

I’m not taking this experiment any further for the forseable future, I’m thinking of a project involving travel, that and paying down a 78 thousand dollar student loan 😛

Finished work, and an unfinished camera.

Well, the crit seemed to go ok, the feedback that I got was all along the lines of the stuff that I’d been thinking about when I was preparing and selecting.

Having given it a days thought, I shortened that in the critique to a verbal “I’m interested in how photography can make icons of ordinary things.”

My little wee 5×7″ print all on it’s lonesome, well, it does have a couple of vents to keep it company I guess – incidentally that’s the name of the gallery – “Vent” – not sure which one is ‘the’ vent – probably the one above my pic.

It’s quite a hard thing to view, cos it’s really as much a mirror as a print in an odd way – it’s black on black, but how you look at it determines the tones you see,

Also a wee bit of a trick to photo, I love that to represent it here I first had to decide what I wanted it to look like 😀

And, I’m reaching a point where I’m starting to see what a camera I’m building will look like – it’s a half plate camera for dryplate (the hole at the back is 7×7″ – it’s a big camera by my standards).

The front will be friction focus and will have front tilt, no other movements are planned in this iteration – I’ve been working on it for about a month on and off, I guess there’s another week or so of work to go.

And the obligatory studio shot;

Yup, mildly ordered chaos – yes, I have three power drills, handy things. – And what’s happening on the bench (typically three things at once).

The aluminium curve is my cyc, the animals on it are just there cos they are, the makings of two camera’s in the foreground, and all the little black dot things are wee screws out of a plate back.

That’s all.

Progress

Some things I’ve tried – first up an orotone – which is a fancy term for painting the back of a positive gold (you’re supposed to use a ‘particular’ paint, but whatev’s, I just used oil paint)

A black print (yup, I made that name up) – sorta like an ambrotype, but not like an ambrotype at all (silver gelatine liquid emulsion based) – I’m handing in one of these this week – it’s washing as I type.

And Physautotypes – I’ve had three crack at it so far, the first was a total failure;

Yup, a blank piece of glass (reflecting my camera strap and my black top).

The second I got a line;

Which at least proved that it’s light sensitive.

The third I got a rhinoceroses bottom;

I messed up the development a bit, but it’s proof of concept – violin rosin and meths with mineral turps as a developer – a la Niepce. I’ve figured out a couple of things to improve the print – but learning to coat the stuff onto glass is top of the list – not easy compared to gelatin, or even collodion.

I have a masters crit Thursday, so after that I’m looking forward to doing some more of them, fun!

Super 8 Developing and filing camera’s

First off, the minolta 16 film I got with my 16p seems to be stuffed, it’s hardly surprising given that it’s 50 years out of date for it to be a bit fogged – but this has been left somewhere hot and damp for a very long time – after developing the d-max was about 1/6th above fog, which is essentially unprintable.

Pity, I wanted to make friends with a new (old/antique/obsolete) film stock, I guess it’s not to be – I have some fomapan 100 cut down from 120 when I was making 127 rolls that fit’s very neatly into these cartridges, I guess that’s my next step. I really like that camera, it’s nice to use.

In other news I developed the rest of the super 8 film I had the other day (might have been yesterday, I’m not good with days) – I stuffed about 40′ of film into a patterson canister, and developed as usual, I got maybe 12″ of emulsion spots, not too bad really, I still have 3000 odd negs to make something out of.

Holding up a magnifying loupe in front of my digi cam was never going to give me a sharp shot – such is life.

Finally – this is one of the (many) reason’s I’ll never be an adult.

In that shot are; and agfa box camera, a french… uh… Pontiac rollfilm camera that’s been converted to a film slitter, about 8 rolls of tape of different types, a ricoh 500g, a canon 300 with a helios 58mm on it, about 60 coloured pencils (FC polychromos), a variety of other writing/drawing tools, a few sketchbooks and reference books, an agfa isoly plastic camera, canonette 19, ensign 1620, fujica st605 w. 24mm, mat cutter, film loader, and a crapload of unsorted papers, Oh, and there’s my antacids, cool, I hate having to pay for stuff I already know I have.

Reportedly adults have an innate ability to manage to store things correctly and don’t suffer from periodic cameralanches.

Chemigrams, I guess?

I had these in a drawer unfixed – they were failed lumen prints, they were just waiting for me to eventually throw them away – instead I decided to see what happened when I threw thm in some developer in daylight – it seems the lumen print acts as something of a resist.

The ones with more colour were experiments with pouring film developer over 60 year expired kodak velox in daylight (all these are velox) – they’re  fixed, but without selenium – the others are fixed and then toned, which oddly killed the colours in them – also turned a nice new batch of (1:3) selenium black – something I must investigate.

For the record – I have something like 2500 sheets of 2 1/4″ (6cm) square velox that I suspect is stuffed – some might be ok, but a lot of it is water damaged.

Yeah – two and a half thousand, that’s not a typo.