Highway Bokeh

Date - September 17, 2011

Highway Bokeh - Abstract Photography by James Cole

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About   the   picture

Bokeh - In photography, "bokeh" is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light".

I took this photo with the Canon 5D MkII, using the Canon EF24-104mm lens. I remember reading a lot of articles about the lens, saying that it had rubbish bokeh. My first thought was "what the hell is bokeh?" A quick trip to Wikipedia and I felt like a pro again. I pulled out the camera and started snapping of out of focus shots to see what all the fuss was about. I didn't get it. I thought the bokeh was quite nice.

A few nights later I was out with a friend and fellow photographer Cole Stockman. Being a passenger in the car, I thought I’d experiment shooting out the window of the car. I put the camera in manual focus and played around with different depths of field focusing on the lights then the rain on the windscreen. This image was one of my favourites as it captured the dark road, distant out of focus lights and crisp raindrops together which combined, I felt created an abstract, moody image that also portrayed a sense of tranquillity and warmth.

As for the bokeh, I thought then, and still think today, that it's great. Sometimes I feel like photographers and indeed many creative professionals get too caught up in the technical and their own pompous mindset and forget what the art form it's all about. Bottom line it's about capturing or creating something that affects its audience with a sense of feeling. No one other than those deep in the industry cares about the technicalities of "how the bokeh is created by the refraction of this and the reflection against that and the wonk, wonk, wonk... therefore it's no good" No one cares!!!

The only thing that matters is if the audience (being the person who is looking at the image) likes it or not. And the only way they're going to like it is if they feel something when they gaze upon it and take it in. Love it, hate it... It's all good. The worst feedback any creative can get is "meh!"

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