Show "Contextual Bokeh"

AgentMichaelScarn

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Show us examples of bokeh (foreground or background) that still add context to the photo.

Here are two great articles by John Kennerdell on this subject:
20 Years Ago Next Month: What Is 'Bokeh'?
In Defense of Depth

Perhaps the most complained about subject of M43 by gearheads is the DOF equivalence to other systems. Our f1.4 lenses are "only" f2.8 on FF, which is often used derogatorily. But this is simply another opportunity for creativity. If you compose an interesting foreground or background that adds context to the subject in focus, why would you want to obliterate it into a sea of bokeh? Unless of course you're not composing the out-of-focus areas, and need maximum shallow DOF to be interesting. This is often one-dimensional and doesn't require much effort - just $$$. Bokeh can be a useful tool for eliminating distracting elements, but I say just try not to have distracting elements in the first place. If it doesn't add to the photo, it will take away.

Add the settings you were at so we can get an idea of what we can achieve with our own gear. I'll start:

PL15mm @f1.7
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PL15mm @f1.7
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Panasonic 12-32mm @12mm f3.5
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PL25mm @f1.4
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PL15mm @f2
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PL15mm @f1.7
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Phocal

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Perhaps the most complained about subject of M43 is the DOF equivalence to other systems - even more so than other things like high ISO noise and AF performance.
That's kind of a broad untrue statement. As a wildlife/sports photographer mostly shooting telephoto lenses the extra DoF is nice and I even find myself stopping down to get more DoF since the DoF is so shallow in telephoto shots. I also complain more about shitty high ISO ability of m4/3 when I'm trying to capture a bird catching a fish at sunrise when I need at least 1/800 shutter speed to freeze the action. Or having to use every trick I have learned and working my ass off to get action shots that were so easy when I shot Canon.

Don't get me wrong, I love m4/3 for the size advantage it provides me over other systems. DoF is the last complaint I have about the system for 99% of what I shoot.
 

AgentMichaelScarn

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Oh yeah I'm talking more about gearheads who use shallow DOF potential as a measure of a camera's ability.

Awesome photos on the front page by the way!
 

nstelemark

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I have to say I am of two mind on this thread. It is great that it shows that m43 can blur the background which is commonly denigrated, but background blur is a tool, and it is directly related to the relationship of the subject and background etc. But, background separation is a tool of the photographer not a hardware problem...
 

AgentMichaelScarn

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I completely agree which is why I started the thread. I want to see examples where the background contains context and shallower DOF would probably make the photo weaker. There are plenty of examples in portrait lens showcases that illustrate more than enough background separation, but then some backgrounds are just bokeh blobs and are not interesting examples of this tool in use.

We all have nice cameras so we should just post photos :dance2:
 

AgentMichaelScarn

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Panasonic 12-32mm @12mm f3.5
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barry13

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@12mm/2.8​
 
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AgentMichaelScarn

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12-32mm @12mm f3.5
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ionian

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O45 @f3.2
 

AgentMichaelScarn

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12-32mm @12mm f3.5
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AgentMichaelScarn

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Vivitar 85mm f1.4 @f2
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T N Args

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call me Arg
...background blur is a tool, and it is directly related to the relationship of the subject and background etc. But, background separation is a tool of the photographer not a hardware problem...
and it is a tool that can be added in PP exactly as desired, but cannot be removed in PP.
 

AgentMichaelScarn

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I've actually never considered adding background blur in PP. Can you add bokeh as well? As mentioned, background blur is directly related to the relationship of the subject and background etc. Seems like it would be tedious to apply progressively stronger blur the further you get away from the focus plane, but I've never tried.

I've only seen it done poorly on Instagram so if you have a good example please share it!
 

wjiang

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I've actually never considered adding background blur in PP. Can you add bokeh as well? As mentioned, background blur is directly related to the relationship of the subject and background etc. Seems like it would be tedious to apply progressively stronger blur the further you get away from the focus plane, but I've never tried.

I've only seen it done poorly on Instagram so if you have a good example please share it!
I've never had any luck in adding blur when there wasn't already extremely clear background separation from DoF already. If you already have that separation though, enhancing that separation using software blur is not that bad.
 

AgentMichaelScarn

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Look at us poor small sensor folk, having to add blur in post! :boohoo: Also software probably wouldn't be able to achieve the Leica© look.
Anyway I thought there'd be more people posting since it's a pretty broad theme.

PL25 @f1.4
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aKilter

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Ok, not a recent photo, but here's one:
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