Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Out of focus highlights

click photo to enlarge
One of the things I like about photography is the "accidental" effects that lenses and sensors produce. Of course they are not really accidental - all can be explained scientifically - so perhaps unforeseen is a better way to describe them. What am I referring to? Well, it can be the way that shooting contre jour sometimes produces a sepia effect. Or it can be the flare that the sun introduces as it bounces around inside the lens elements. But for me the best unforeseen effects are present in out of focus highlights.

In 2011 I was using a macro lens to photograph some glass marbles; shiny, spherical glass balls with colours inside them. I was captivated by the beautiful out of focus highlight effects that I saw before I brought the lens into focus. At the end of the session I decided that these out of focus shots were far superior to the sharp photographs of the subject that I had originally intended to take. The other day, as I was photographing some sunlit steel mesh that filled in the rails at the side of a footbridge, I noticed some unusual out of focus highlights, examples that looked positively three dimensional. The small photograph above shows the mesh as I initially photographed it, with it gradually appearing and intensifying as sharpness decreases. The main image is a crop of a shot I took solely of the effect. Not great photography I think, but noteworthy and an addition to my collection of such phenomena.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 2
Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 140mm (210mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On