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Grasping Bokeh
Grasping Bokeh

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Bokeh IV (Basic Editing)
Camera: Canon EOS-400D Rebel XTi
Lens: Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO DG Macro HSM for Canon
Date: Sep 3, 2007
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/100s
Date Uploaded: Sep 3, 2007

Well, this is an idea I had for the last bokeh challenge, but I didn't have the equipment to pull it off. Now, with my new 2.8 telezoom, I've managed to do what I envisioned a year ago. I'm glad this was run in Basic editing, as it made this shot even more of a challenge. I couldn't let myself cheat. :)

The setup took a long time of thinking about it, and a whole evening to achieve it. The idea, as you can see, was to photograph someone holding a ball of bokeh. There were many challenges in this shot.

First the ball. I needed a small point source of light really close to the camera, so it would be in front of the hand, and way out of focus. I thought about making LEDs and suspending them on really thin wires, but eventually came up with the idea of shooting through an empty picture frame with cotton strung across to suspend a 5mm diam piece of alfoil right in front of the camera, about 20cm from the lens. Then, I shone a bright LED torch onto the alfoil, and angled the foil to reflect straight into the camera lens. The result is a nice bokeh ball, that is well in front of the subject (which was about 2m away from the camera), but the ball doesn't block anything.

You can actually see the small shadow of the cotton in some of the background bokeh, and right near the middle, there's a pink ball with the shadow of the alfoil dot. :) It's ironic that the background bokeh actually revealed in perfect focus the foreground that was actually way out of focus. Well, I could have done it without the background bokeh, but that wouldn't be as fun, and hey, the challenge is bokeh, so the more the better.

Now lighting the hand. There is actually a light globe (compact energy saver) right in the frame, in the middle of my hand. It's shielded by black carboard, carefully shaped and arranged to just cover the globe, so you can't see it in the image. My hand is held over and around the invisble globe, so my hand is actually lit from within, as it should be if I'm holding a bokeh ball. Oh, and the lampstand actually runs straight out the top of the frame, because I shot the image upside-down and then rotated it.

There's also 2 extra lamps lighting the back of my hand from either side, to define the outline. The background lights are our christmas tree lights.

So, there is no complicated expensive pro lighting equipment, or even off-camera flash. Just household lamps, a lot of mucking around, and about 15 metres of sticky tape to hold everything in place. WB was a little tricky. The lamps were all daylight bulbs, but I went with tungsten WB, to bring out a little more colour from the background lights, and to colour the LED torchlight bluer. The other major frustration was trying to time my shots with the blinking christmas lights in the background. Only about 1 in 5 shots had the lights on!

PP is curves adjustment, crop, 180 degree rotation and USM.

I will be very disappointed if I don't get asked for validation on this one. :)

Place: 111 out of 364
Avg (all users): 5.8391
Avg (commenters): 7.6000
Avg (participants): 5.7386
Avg (non-participants): 5.9419
Views since voting: 992
Views during voting: 292
Votes: 174
Comments: 8
Favorites: 1 (view)

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09/12/2007 10:51:55 AM
Great idea!! Really creative and well performed!!

Message edited by author 2007-09-12 10:52:33.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
09/10/2007 06:59:17 PM
Very nice idea. Very good shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/09/2007 02:00:41 PM
Very creative!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/08/2007 12:38:36 AM
i have no idea how you did this in basic editing but i freakin LOVE it!! my choice for blue so far! 10 baby
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/06/2007 08:37:12 AM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/05/2007 09:33:43 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/05/2007 04:43:07 PM
Nice, ...and different - 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/05/2007 08:04:04 AM
Pretty neat. Like the play of the lights.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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