Bokeh mystique: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #194

Flower petals bokeh, Valle Crucis, NC

This may be my one and only true confessions post, but when I saw Sofia’s theme this week, I knew I was in trouble. Bokeh is one of those “real” photographer terms, one that I hardly understand, let alone use intentionally. As Sofia says, “It literally means ‘blur’ in Japanese.” And let me tell you, I’m not without good examples of blurry photos — many, in fact, that have landed on the proverbial cutting room floor.

But it’s a technique I truly admire. In fact, a friend of mine, Debbie Wilson, photographs high school seniors using bokeh effect — and seeing these young people against a dreamy background is quite memorable.

My bokeh, on the other hand, is more or less accidental. Take this shot of a butterfly on flowers — the background is a bit blurry, but that just happened. Nothing on my part takes credit for this one.

Butterfly on white flowers - bokeh

And here’s another one — if it can even be considered a bokeh at all: a lifesaver ring handy for well, you know, saving lives, of course. Spotted this one in Searsport, Maine, and snapped the photo hardly thinking about background at all.

Lifesaver in Searsport, Maine
Lifesaver ring: Searsport, Maine

Also in Maine, this precious drop-headed flower caught my attention and formed a nice image just waiting to be included in a post like this one!

Pink flower: Maine
Spring blooms — Maine

This bird, too — accidental as well. Snapped while waiting for the ferry to take us to Oxford, Maryland.

Gull on dock: Eastern Shore USA
Waiting for the Oxford Bellevue Ferry

But I have to admit to using at least one of Sofia’s techniques for getting a good bokeh image: switching to a telephoto lens. By doing so in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, I was able to snap away at this budding tree, even though I still have no idea what this tree is called. And please, if any of you know this tree, add the name to the Comments section below. And take a look at another version of these blooms in the photo at the top of this post.

Flower in Valle Crucis, NC
My favorite bokeh — but, oh, what is this tree called?

So, yes, I guess I do have a few bokeh examples, even if they are accidental ones. But I’m inspired now. I’m going to try using Aperture mode (Sofia’s instruction) to capture gorgeous spring blooms (with fuzzy backgrounds) during Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts time.

Blooms and blurs — coming right up!

Travel in a blur,

Rusha & Bert

21 thoughts on “Bokeh mystique: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #194

  1. Toonsarah

    If you can get examples as good as this by accident, I’m looking forward to seeing what you can create when you set out to do so deliberately! These are lovely, especially the flowers and tree 🙂

  2. Sofia Alves

    Nothing wrong with accidental photography, as you just shown us with your beautiful photos. There’s site that help identify plants by dropping your photo, like Plantnet identify. It’s not 100% accurate but it helps sometimes.

  3. Wind Kisses

    LOL. I think you nailed it. And made it fun to read. I think what is fun about these challenges is that make us think about what we might try, or how we can enhance photos. The beauty in digital photography is we can have 50 photos of the same flower and different looks.

    And so far no one knows the tree? Hopefully someone will come through. Donna

  4. Pat

    Love your accidental bokeh photos. My preferred setting is aperture, but still enjoy my accidental bokeh when it happens. 🙂

  5. Tina Schell

    LOL, first you tell us you don’t know how to create it and then you share some amazing examples. Not sure I’m buying the “accidental” blur statement!! Gorgeous images.

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