"great, I'm thrilled you like it, but WHAT is it?!
And how do I do it AGAIN?"
Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light". Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Often bokeh is pronounced "boh-kay" and referred to as the aesthetic quality of the blur.
How do you achieve it? Open up your lens’ aperture to its widest setting (this is the F number), strangely the lower the F number the larger the aperture. (I know...who makes these decisions that confuse me?) Lenses with low F numbers like 2.8, 2.0, 1.8, 1.4 and lower are your best choices for ‘Bokeh Shots’. (Oh yes, not every lens can go this low!...how low can you go...not that low.) Often a standard 50 mm lens is recommended. And you need to use your manual setting (a scary setting for this newbie) on your DSLR camera. Oh, a tripod is helpful too.
For a little more info see digitalphotosecrets.com (here) and for a more in depth article see Photographic Psychology (here). For a great example of what I'm talking about, watch this video.
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” - Ansel Adams
I realize people don't "get" that photography is
more then the quality of your camera,
a good photo is made by the one click'n the camera,
not the camera itself!
(Finally last night, I captured our Christmas tree after
hours of reading and experimenting...I took
this shot from the next room. My next purchase
will be a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens!
I already feel like a golfer with 9 putters...)
It still bugs me when people say,
"your camera takes really good pictures".
That's like saying guns kill people...
(sorry, I know that is a crass thing to say, but it honestly is the same thing!)
(I love this technique and look forward to that new standard lens!)
That Ansel Adams quote was talking about the ability to
skillfully use a camera technique
and that composing the subject in a pleasing way,
turns a photo into art.
It ain't easy but it's so addictive to finally get it right!
(My final capture was at midnight...yawn.)
Just do it, join a photography group
or start a blog to talk about this wonderful hobby!