Sofia, our host for this challenge, writes: “The term bokeh was first used to distinguish normal motion blur from the blur obtained when things are out of focus. It literally means blur in Japanese. The Nikon website, after a more complex and technical explanation reduces it to simply this: ‘bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph’.” The picture above is of a very young fern, its leaves all rolled up. The soft focus background draws attention to the inward curl, like tiny arms hugging its own precious new life.
I like how the background blur in this closeup of a dewdrop on some beard lichen reminds me of neuron pathways in the brain. (I do wish the drop were in sharper focus, though.) The bokeh background feels very Zen-like to me. It’s what happens when you are calmly mindful of the thing right in front of you, while the background fades into a peaceful blur. Here’s a gallery of my nature close-ups with bokeh backgrounds:
Please visit Sofia’s post, HERE, for more on this technique and instructions for participating in the challenge.
I’ve been aware of this technique of thirds with a blurry bokeh background for maybe a year or two, and I’ve been working on it. “Working” is a term I use loosely, because I don’t take pictures on any regular basis. But it’s nice when I’m composing a shot that now I have some guidelines in my head to apply. I would love to be able to say that I practice photography with some discipline. I would love to be able to say that I practice meditation and exercise with discipline. Sadly, I don’t. But I really admire people who do. Like Pablo Casals. Here’s my favorite anecdote about him:
When Casals (then age 93) was asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day, he replied, “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”
I suppose that his practice has something to do with him being alive at 93 as well. Ya think? Follow your bliss, photographers, and practice for your own well-being!