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Old 09-11-2012, 06:37 AM   #46
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:45 AM   #47
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:50 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackiedawg View Post


Sony DSC-H5 - a superzoom P&S model:



Your pictures are great.
Can you share how you are able to do the shot of Jack with him in focus and the background blurred? I have a superzoom - panasonic not sony - but hoping the concept is the same on the cameras.

Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:38 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pantherlj View Post
Your pictures are great.
Can you share how you are able to do the shot of Jack with him in focus and the background blurred? I have a superzoom - panasonic not sony - but hoping the concept is the same on the cameras.
The concept is indeed the same as far as how to achieve shallow focus or narrower depth of field, which produces this effect. Though for full disclosure, I did actually enhance the effect a bit in post processing, as I wanted the background even smoother and more blurred than it was.

In general, you want the following combinations with a superzoom camera to achieve the blurred backgrounds (these actually are true of any camera, though DSLRs and large-sensor cameras have much shallower depth-of-field to begin with, and so don't need as much distance as P&S cameras do):

1. You want the largest aperture possible on your camera (represented by a smaller 'f-stop' number). If you set your camera to A priority shooting mode, you can dial the aperture to the smallest Fstop number (usually F2.8 to F5.6 or so on a superzoom, depending on what amount of zoom you have applied). For the shot above I was at F4, which was the widest aperture I could use at that zoom level.

2. You want more distance between you and the subject - use the zoom lens to bring them in closer and fill the frame. For the shot above, I used 120mm equivalent - roughly 5x or so on a superzoom camera, and stood much farther back (the trick was to stand behind the performers as fewer people stand back there - they always circle around where they're facing, so from behind you can usually get an open shot from 20 feet away - during the show, they will turn your way!).

3. You want the most distance you can get between the subject and the background. By catching them when they have walked your direction, you can get the people in the background to be 10-15 feet away, so they can start to blur out as they fall outside the focus zone.

Those three methods will help with getting blurred backgrounds. The reason it's easier with DSLR cameras is because of the very large sensor, and the ability to install different lenses with very large apertures. The smaller the sensor, the more you need to start relying on distances and zoom to get the blur effect.

As for the enhancements I did in post processing...in order to get the background to look even more blurred, I made a duplicate layer of the photo, then applied 'gaussian blur' to the background layer, erasing around the actors to bring through the non-guassian layer. It was mostly to smooth out the blur a little - the background was out of focus and blurred, but had some harshness to it (what is commonly referred to as bokeh - a Japanese term describing the pleasantness of a blurred area in a photo - how smooth, rounded, and clean it looks, versus having haloes, edges, or choppiness). If you have blurred background, but it doesn't have that nice, creamy, smooth look, then applying a little gaussian blur can help smooth it out.

Here's an example with the same camera, using the same techniques, but with no post processing applied:


I was able to get a nicer background blur without post processing because the background was farther away, I used a little more zoom, and the aperture was a little bigger.

This would typically be considered 'harsh bokeh', choppy and not as smooth or creamy looking (also taken with the H5):


See how the leaves especially to the left look edgy, almost like the leaves have outlines? And there's still too much choppy transition between the dark and light areas? This was the same type of background the Jack Sparrow shot had - it was blurred, but wasn't as smooth as I'd have liked. The gaussian blur smoothed it out for a more pleasant look.

Long-winded explanation...hope it helped somewhat!!
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:38 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackiedawg View Post
The concept is indeed the same as far as how to achieve shallow focus or narrower depth of field, which produces this effect. Though for full disclosure, I did actually enhance the effect a bit in post processing, as I wanted the background even smoother and more blurred than it was.

In general, you want the following combinations with a superzoom camera to achieve the blurred backgrounds (these actually are true of any camera, though DSLRs and large-sensor cameras have much shallower depth-of-field to begin with, and so don't need as much distance as P&S cameras do):

1. You want the largest aperture possible on your camera (represented by a smaller 'f-stop' number). If you set your camera to A priority shooting mode, you can dial the aperture to the smallest Fstop number (usually F2.8 to F5.6 or so on a superzoom, depending on what amount of zoom you have applied). For the shot above I was at F4, which was the widest aperture I could use at that zoom level.

2. You want more distance between you and the subject - use the zoom lens to bring them in closer and fill the frame. For the shot above, I used 120mm equivalent - roughly 5x or so on a superzoom camera, and stood much farther back (the trick was to stand behind the performers as fewer people stand back there - they always circle around where they're facing, so from behind you can usually get an open shot from 20 feet away - during the show, they will turn your way!).

3. You want the most distance you can get between the subject and the background. By catching them when they have walked your direction, you can get the people in the background to be 10-15 feet away, so they can start to blur out as they fall outside the focus zone.

Those three methods will help with getting blurred backgrounds. The reason it's easier with DSLR cameras is because of the very large sensor, and the ability to install different lenses with very large apertures. The smaller the sensor, the more you need to start relying on distances and zoom to get the blur effect.

As for the enhancements I did in post processing...in order to get the background to look even more blurred, I made a duplicate layer of the photo, then applied 'gaussian blur' to the background layer, erasing around the actors to bring through the non-guassian layer. It was mostly to smooth out the blur a little - the background was out of focus and blurred, but had some harshness to it (what is commonly referred to as bokeh - a Japanese term describing the pleasantness of a blurred area in a photo - how smooth, rounded, and clean it looks, versus having haloes, edges, or choppiness). If you have blurred background, but it doesn't have that nice, creamy, smooth look, then applying a little gaussian blur can help smooth it out.
Long winded is what I needed!! Thanks for taking the time to give such good detail. I can't wait to play around with it this weekend. We are headed to an arts/crafts festival - should be a good place to try it out!
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:51 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pantherlj View Post
Your pictures are great.
Can you share how you are able to do the shot of Jack with him in focus and the background blurred? I have a superzoom - panasonic not sony - but hoping the concept is the same on the cameras.

Thanks!
I will say, I was immediately impressed with the Jack Sparrow show when I first saw it. Great shot.

The bokeh effect worked really well in this shot, but it is generally considered most useful in portrait photography. You'll often see it with the subject in front of a floral background, with the flowers all blurred out.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #52
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:32 AM   #53
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:06 AM   #54
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DSC02669.jpg by Havoc315, on Flickr


Grand Central by Havoc315, on Flickr

Last edited by havoc315; 09-15-2012 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:38 AM   #55
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:17 PM   #56
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Quote:
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DSC02669.jpg by Havoc315, on Flickr


Grand Central by Havoc315, on Flickr
That is just stunning!! VERY cool effect!


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Beautiful! I was out at York Beach, ME last week....no sunset shots but boy was the surf up!!

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Old 09-15-2012, 01:02 PM   #57
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That is just stunning!! VERY cool effect!

.
Thank you. Just the benefit of a very slow shutter speed. Gotta love carrying a gorilla pod to allow for it.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:54 PM   #58
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Aug 31, 2012-110 by Havoc315, on Flickr
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:43 PM   #59
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:15 PM   #60
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I was just browsing through this thread and I just wanted to comment on how amazing everyone's photos are!
I also have a question, I am not very knowledgeable about cameras, but would like to get a new one for my upcoming birthday. I currently have a point and shoot Sony Cybershot which I got in 2007, and am looking to get something better. I am curious what your opinions are for a relatively inexpensive ($200-$300) p&s camera? Mainly will be using this camera for Disney trips!
Thank you in advance if anybody may have suggestions
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