Monday, May 23, 2011

Bokeh, OOF and glass

click photo to enlarge
Sometimes I think that we live in an increasingly casual world. Casual has its upside, certainly, but it can have disadvantages too. Written English is slowly (and in some circles rapidly) casting off the structures and formalities that the twentieth century inherited from the Victorian age. Spoken English is following a similar course. And where language goes dress by and large follows, though in some areas such as weddings the past twenty years has seen the re-appearance of garments last seen during the Edwardian era. But it's the changes in the technical language associated with photography that has exercised me of late.

I can live with the introduction of bokeh, a Japanese word meaning the way a lens renders the out of focus areas of a photograph. It's a single word that describes something that takes several words in English. What I can't manage though is the use of OOF for "out of focus". This word/abbreviation, one that is better kept for the sound of exhaled air that accompanies a punch in the stomach, makes frequent appearances in photography forums. It hasn't yet, as far as I know, made the leap into formal written texts, but it can only be a matter of time. Perhaps it is the pervasiveness of "text speak" that makes it seem acceptable. However, the modern usage that really stirs me up is the word "glass" instead of "lens" or "lenses". I think it's the cliquish familiarity that annoys me most. It shouldn't, I know, but it does!

Today's photograph of a distant Wisbech factory seen through a wire fence that had green netting fixed to it prompted today's reflection. When I looked at it on the compter screen I thought to myself, "I like the OOF bokeh that my choice of glass produced in this image." Or words to that effect.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 105mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/205
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On