Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You Bokehing at ME??

As usual, I decided I wanted to investigate something-- in this case, shaped bokeh-- and now... I can't stop.

I created my own heart-shaped lens cover thing out of cardboard and got some pretty cool results:

My only problem was not being able to cut a perfect heart at the tiny size required. Imperfect heart on camera equals imperfect heart on photos:

I'm on the lookout for some hole punchers, but until then I wanted to try a software plugin for Photoshop to see if the easy way worked better.

I should say "easy way."

The plug-in was touted as some kind of awesome vignette-creator and depth-of-focus wizard. The thing is, I can do that very easily in Photoshop without any plug-in. With the program, you still have to select the focus of the photo, and I find that to be the hardest part of creating a short DOF in Photoshop anyways. All I really want is some hearts (or stars, or perfect round circles) in the background.

Here's my shot of Anna Piaggi post-Bokeh but sans hearts:

If all I wanted was a DOF facilitator, then well done. Cool.

BUT. Heart-shaped!

The only one that really worked was the first from inside a maze, but I had to up the brightness and contrast of the bushes first to even see the beginnings of the shapes. The last one with the model was also relatively successful, but you have to look really carefully to find anything. (I recommend enlarging them.)

I tried it one last time on a photo of me from Porto. After spending a healthy amount of time trolling through my photos, I realized I don't have anything ideal for a Bokeh filter because almost everything's in either really bright light or greyish light. The perfect photo would have dappled light behind it-- it looks like even night photos with bright spots of color (which would be amazing for a camera-made shaped bokeh) don't change very well with the computer filter.

I (crudely) circled the only really good hearts that showed up. With a camera-made shaped bokeh, ALL those bright spots of out-of-focus light would have turned into hearts. I think. So either the filter doesn't recognize them, or they're too bright and I should take them down a bit and give them more contrast.

Meh. I don't know. I only have another 28 days to try the filter, but I really think I prefer the physical way of getting the photo. It's also sort of fun to wander around with a honking mess of tape and cardboard hanging onto your lens: many people feel they know what's up more than the chick with the camera and make the bizarre faces to prove it. The bokeh attachment looks mostly like a lens cap, so I guess that explains the weird stares.

(last image from here)

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