Bokeh

I had my very first @$$hole commenter on this blog today. It was on my Rule of Thirds post. Don’t bother going to search the comments. I deleted the conversation and told him he was no longer welcome on this blog.

I did have difficulty achieving bokeh that day. In the post, I wrote about the trouble I was experiencing, and how it was something I usually didn’t struggle to achieve. Still, that’s really not the point. In his first comment he explained to me that what I wanted was a smooth bokeh. Really? Did I? I have been told in the past that many photographers are annoyed with the glowy bokeh spots because it’s considered “bad”, but I, as do many others, happen to love it. I told him in my reply that I had been going for the sparkly kind. After that, there were a few follow up comments implying that I’m a stupid idiot. Finally, in an effort to get him to go away, I said that we are going to have to agree to disagree. He replied with the following.

“…There is no agreeing or disagreeing. It optics not an opinion. At 5.6 there can be no classic definition of bokeh.”

While the photo in that post was not a good example of bokeh, I believe it is possible to get it at f/5.6. So… I went out in waist-deep snow today to get this shot.

1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160, 113mm

1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160, 113mm

This to me is bokeh. This image has both the background blur and the glittery spots of out-of-focus light. Does anyone else out there agree with the @$$hole in that you can’t get bokeh at f/5.6? If you do disagree with me, go ahead and tell me why. Up until now, all my comments, even from people who have disagreed with the way I’ve done things, have been kind. I know that the vast majority of people are capable of doing so without being a total jerk-face.

Now, I must go change my pants. I’m still soaking wet from sinking waist-deep in the snow.

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51 thoughts on “Bokeh

  1. Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that…

    I don’t bother about technicalities much, so the news that there is a good bokeh and a bad one is really news to me… It’s actually a miracle for me when any bokeh at all is produced – I think I only managed once, quite accidentally.

    Hope you won’t be discouraged by one unpleasant person and hope you’ll enjoy shooting whatever you enjoy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your style Amy. “Really? Did I?” – exactly what I would say! Jerk-face is right!
    What a gorgeous shot! You got it babe!
    Please don’t stop discussing technique with us, I really enjoy it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, I have no doubt that’s the kind of person he is. He was also saying stuff about how the best lenses don’t allow the glittery light thing to happen, so I think there is a good chance he may be a photography snob too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like the typical “guy with camera” too caught up in tech to understand the craft of photography, we all go through this stage but some never get past it… He was either a troll or your run of the mill keyboard warrior – regurgitating popular theory but nothing to back it up :/ Anyway, bokeh in general is a popular trend right now so saying one form is better than the other is like splitting hairs. Keep shooting what you like and good on you for not taking any shit from these idiots!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think he was a troll. I “liked” one of his posts yesterday (found it on a “tag” search). He was likely just being social and responding. I think you’re right about the theory stuff though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • How pathetic this person was! What matters is that we love what you do and also to learn technique from you.
      He might be either a ‘technical’ photographer’ and no artist, hence a frustrated one, or a cross between this with being a sad human being who hasn’t more to do than to project his frustrations on other people, whenever he is jealous of what they can do with their creativity, even at f/5.6!
      Way to go Amy! Great bokeh by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry you had a crappy experience with a blog commenter. That’s a real pity. I happen to like the effect of bokeh when it’s done well and I think the subject you chose, of the icicle, is apt for the use of bokeh. It adds to the idea of reflection because it suggests sparkle and suspended light and the curved shapes juxtapose and complement the line of the icicle. So that’s my opinion. And opinions are just opinions which you can accept or ignore. The important thing is that you take photographs that capture your vision and which you enjoy taking and viewing.

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    • Thanks. I love the language you used to critique it. Those words are the words of an artist (in this case, and artist whose work I admire). You are right about it being important that I take photographs that capture my vision. In my business I do custom work. I thought I’d love it because I get to do something different every day. That’s not how it ended up being. More often than not, I’m asked to create things that are so mind-numbingly-boring I want to bang my head against the wall. This is one creative outlet where I flat out refuse to conform to what other people want.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the way you have replied back in demonstration that bokeh can be acheived easy in f/5.6 too, instead of carrying on a comments war! I feel its all about a personal choice as to whether you like the smooth bokeh of 1.8 or the glittery one of 5.6. I like both and, hats off to you for getting this shot, its simply wow! Also, you just proved, action speaks louder than words! Good job and good going 🙂

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    • Ha. Don’t give me too much credit. I did, for a short time, get involved in the comment war. He became more of a jerk after each of my replies. Finally, I ended it by telling him he wasn’t welcome here and deleting the comment thread. I’m glad it happened though. If not for him I wouldn’t have been motivated to go out in the snow to get that shot. I like it, I’m glad that you like it too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love you photo! I’ve never been able to get bokeh like yours, maybe once but yours looks awesome. I also had an @$$hole comment on one of my photos back in November on the photo 101 assignments n I never replied because I knew it would lead to a conversation that would ruin my day. Everyone in the WP community is always so supportive so its best to stick to the positive feedback although negative always push us to do better. I love your photos so keep doing what you’re doing 😃

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    • You’ve got me curious now. I noticed two people (out of the hundreds) in Photo 101 who frequented “the commons” weren’t very nice. I would not at all be surprised if it was one of the two. One was a woman, the other I think was a man (I never figured it out). Both seemed to think they were offering advice, but they both clearly had a superiority complex. One of them (the one I think was a man) quit blogging during Photo 101. I wonder if someone put him in his place?

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      • The comment I received was from a man and I noticed he quit halfway. I had seen bloggers complain about “certain people” trying to “teach” how blogging should be done but of course their response was there’s no right way of doing it. So maybe that’s what made that man quit and if someone put him in his place then even better😃

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved your Rule of Thirds photo and I am so very, very much in love this latest capture (and yes, it is a beautiful bokeh at f/5.6). Keep doing what you are doing and ignore the @$$hole. You take amazing pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I think this fits the definition of bokeh too. I don’t know what he was thinking. At first I believed he must have thought I was talking about starbursts (diffraction) when he told me I needed to use f/22 to get it, and that I couldn’t get both that and bokeh. Which is when I told him, no, I was looking for sparkly bokeh at f/ 5.6 (which happens to be the widest aperture I can get with the one lens I own). That’s when he got into this rant about how it’s not possible and talked about what “the best lenses” are designed to do. Obviously, it is possible with my lens. I like what my one “crappy lens” can do. I suspect that different sensors read lenses differently too, but that’s just a guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this photo and an love the sparkly kind of bokeh as well. In this winter I was chasing after it and tried to catch every chance when sunlight hit the frozen plants and sparkled in the drops. I love it and don’t worry. I for one am not a pro about technique, to be honest. I am still learning and I am not come as far as you 😉 But I have learnt one thing: People that are pros at techique don’t necessarily have ‘the eye’. People who got ‘the eye’ sometimes don’t need much more. I’d love both to come together, but if I had to decide, I’d take ‘the eye’ again, if you know what I mean 😉

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    • Thank you! I’m not a pro about technique either. I’ve got soooo much to learn. I really am very much a newbie. I do appreciate good quality photos, but I can appreciate the artistic qualities of not-so-good quality shots too. It doesn’t have to be “proper” to be beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gorgeous shot.

    I have read all the comments above, and can only agree with them. Since digital photography came into play, the world has been swamped with know-it-alls, photography snobs and whatnot. Too many people are too full of themselves. I take photos because I enjoy it, I’m not even interested in getting them critiqued unless I specifically ask for it.

    You did good when you finished it off, instead of going into an even longer ‘discussion’ with him. I’m not so sure I could have done that — I think I’d lost it LOL

    It’s snowing tonight!

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    • Thanks, Rebekah. I’m not interested in being critiqued either. If there’s something in my photo that’s not quite right, I’m aware of it (I occasionally mention it in my posts). Sometimes I know exactly why it’s not working for me, other times I don’t and I go looking for answers online. I also learn a lot from other hobby photographer bloggers who write about their learning process—what works for them and what doesn’t.

      It’s snowing here too. Big time! *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Never let anyone tell you how your shot “should” look. Even if you specifically asked for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, most good photographers will be happy to share their knowledge and will do so in a helpful, non judgmental way. If you like your shot that’s what matters. Never forget that your photography is yours and yours alone. I know that mine are not always what some photographers think they should be. Don’t care. I like them. I’ve sold some of them. I’m happy. Personally, I love the lights and Bokeh effect. They add to the warming effect of the ice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words. You are 100% correct in that nobody should tell a photographer how photos should look. The other day I was watching a photographer on YouTube who has people send in photos to critique. If something isn’t his cup of tea, he says so, and states that that is just personal taste and not a reflection of how good or bad the photo is. Then he goes on to respectfully review the image pointing out all the things that are done well (even if they aren’t to his taste), and where he thinks things could be improved keeping with the style of the photo.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a great photo with a wonderful perfect Bokeh affect Amy. It ‘s your photo, your blog, your vision and I’m happy you chose not to enter into a disheartening correspondence with your @$$hole commentator. It really isn’t worth it when there are so many of us that just want to be supportive and enjoy all the wonderful, varied and unique work that we are lucky enough to share with each other. Sometimes the image may not be perfect but it really doesn’t matter. Every one is a learning process and I know that I have improved over the past few months. I always appreciate hearing from you and knowing you are enjoying the work. Your blog is just great and a pleasure to visit. Best wishes, as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As owner of the Book of Bokeh site I can weigh in on this conversation as an expert witness and the bottom line is, it’s your art, do what you want. Also on the point, bokeh is not blur, is not even the amount of blur or the type of blur. Bokeh is the aesthetic increase in a photo added by the blur. Thus, being an assessment of artistic value, it is in the eye of the beholder, but only after it is in the eye of the artist. So say to hell with everyone else, do you like it? You are the most important critic. (And by the way, I liked it very much! 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is a great shot! The clarity and sparkle in the icicle is awesome against the blur and sparkle of the background however you want to label the look. I say shoot creatively and don’t be overly caught up with technique or jerky comments!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Amy,
    Your probably sick of this subject by now but I thought I would give my 2 cents worth. Firstly Bokeh is produced by the lens not the camera so it is very possible to obtain bokeh at 5.6 it just depends on your lens. Secondly, bokeh is a blur that increases the appeal of the photo either by drawing you into the part of the picture in focus or by creating an overall asthetic appeal. There are good and bad examples of bokeh and many pictures fall in between these but in the end its still bokeh. Thirdly, its your photo so don’t worry about what others say. You have many beautiful photo’s on your site, well done and keep going. A wise man once told me, “never argue with idiots, they just bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”. Have a great day!! 🙂

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