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Yearly Archives: 2013

This months theme was mobile phone.  In an attempt to keep my kids busy and myself sane while they are all four home during summer break, I decided to teach my seven year old son more about photography.  For as long as he’s had an iphone, which is around three years (I feel compelled to explain that it has no cell service, so its more of an ipod touch), he has been setting up “scenes” for his toys and then photographing them from different angles.  It’s really amazing to flip through his iphone and see what catches his eye and compels him to take a picture.  Using my children as “models” I attempted to show him how he can set up simple lighting, use motion, and lens distortion to enhance his iphonography.

Lighting: In these first two images, I showed him how a simple flash light can be used to add drama and interest to a scene. During this lesson we also had a lot fun making shadow puppets and giant “kid eating” dinosaurs on the wall.

Motion Blur: These next two images focused on motion blur.  This was the simplest lesson since they are always moving! just frame up the shot and click (or tap) no need to try to get them to “stand still.” Frankly, that pleased me a great deal since that request is almost always met with groans and well… movement. As if a five year old, in full ballerina attire, could ever stand still MOM!


Distortion: This last image was taken from underwater looking up at the baby (I just got an S4 Active–yay no more worrying about my phone getting wet, although I am sacrificing camera quality).  I showed him how deliberately tilting the camera towards and away from the subject changes the way the image is recorded. The water also adds to the overall distorted look of her face.  He thinks his sweet baby sister looks like a pig, because her nose looks like a snout.  I think she looks like one of those antique eery dolls. Doll sounds much nicer than pig.

Please continue our exploration of mobile phone photography by visiting the very talented Elena S. Blair Photography. Elena is a natural light photographer that specializes in newborn, child and family portraiture. Her beautiful family portraiture work was just recently featured on ABC’s The View.

For this months challenge I decided to take an image that had a relatively shallow depth of field and then show you how you can enhance this effect through the use of Alien Skins Bokeh 2 plugin for Photoshop.

The base image was shot using a Canon 5D mk III | 100mm f2.8 L lens | at f4.0.


I ran that image through a series of filters emulating the effects of various traditional lenses:

Canon 50 mm f1.8 @ f1.8 and f5.6 (not a big difference here)

Canon 85mm f1.2 @ f1.2 and f5.6 (at f5.6 it is quite nice but still needs a little work)

 Nikon 105mm f2.8 Macro@ f5.6

Zeiss 100mm f2.0 Makro (modified) at f2.0 and f5.6 (again I prefer the 5.6 version but the shape of the bokeh region needs to be adjusted)

Mirror Lens (just a fun cool effect that works well with this image)

Some of the examples are extreme (I left the adjustment as default to show the full effect) and would certainly need to be tweaked to be a usable image, which is easy to do within the plugin. You can fully adjust the effect by changing the shape and size of the bokeh region and the amount of bokeh.

If you prefer to not use the traditional lens option, you can create your own custom lens effect. Bokeh 2 also offers motion blur selections and a variety of creative aperture options like hearts and stars.


Overall Bokeh 2 is great for enhancing the effect of a shallow depth of field  if you were unable to shoot wide open -or-  if you prefer to have more of the field in focus but still want the flexibility to change that in post production. In this case, I like how it smoothed out the bokeh at  f5.6 while still leaving some texture in the image.


Please help us continue our blog circle by checking out what Narelle Bailey did with this months theme!

The joy at looking at old pictures is realizing how much I have learned since.  Looking through this file of images from 2011, I am pretty sure I broke every rule of macro photography–not enough light, too shallow depth of field, bad–BAD–focus, not using a tripod, and almost all of the images are centered composition (how boring). The first image is a water fountain in a public park, the next two were taken in my backyard and they were my ONE AND ONLY attempt at insect photography (I like my subjects to be a little bit more…still). Still they are “beautiful” images of otherwise ugly things (sinks and bugs–yuck as my 3 year old would say).  Please continue the blog circle by visiting Narelle Bailey Photography next.