I was able to get a few images of an American Pipit with a spider two days ago while photographing the Peregrine Falcon from the Antelope Island causeway. I have never seen as many pipits as I have this year and their high numbers have been going on for at least a month now. Every where I go to photograph birds I hear and see the pipits. They must have had a very good breeding season.
This posts isn’t just about the American Pipit though, it is about eyes and the bokeh of a lens. In the image above the pipit and the spider and part of the rock it is perched on is in sharp focus while the background boulder is smooth and almost creamy looking. That is because of the bokeh of my lens causing the blur of the background.
Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. It also describes the appearance or feeling of the out of focus areas.
The pipit flew off rather quickly, I only took three images of it and the last image I took shows the Proterozoic Farmington Canyon gneiss boulder that was behind the pipit. My lens very quickly focused on the boulder and because of the depth of field the rock the pipit had been perched on it out of focus in this frame. When I looked at this image I wanted to be able to show what features were in focus in this frame and not in focus and compare it to the frame with the pipit and spider in focus.
By combining the two frames above as a composite I can show the boulder in the background much more sharply in focus along with the pipit and the spider (minus the birds shadow). If I had used f32 for my aperture I “might” have been able to get a frame with the bird, spider, boulder and perch all in sharp focus but I think the swirls and textures of the background boulder take the focus away from the subject. I actually prefer the smooth bokeh of the first image because the focus is on the American Pipit and the spider.
Life is good.
See this post on Bokeh and Background Blurs for more information on Bokeh.