I'm so glad you found me! I'm a San Francisco photographer, and this blog charts my journey in the ever-evolving world of photography. One of the things I love about photography is that it's a journey, not a destination. I'm constantly learning and meeting wonderful people. Please peruse the blog to your heart's content, then check out my website and feel free to contact me! (I love hearing from you.)

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow." – Imogen Cunningham

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen

Bird of Paradise (and Gratuitous Bokeh tutorial)

In the middle of Downtown San Francisco! People love bokeh. On Flickr, there are entire groups dedicated to shooting wide open, or taking totally unfocused shots of lights at night. While I don't go as crazy for it, I get why they love it. It can be really special.

Recipe for a photo like this, should you be interested in making one:

Step 1
- Wait for dusk. The light still needs to be decent out, but to get the bokeh like I have here (circles of blue and white lights) it needs to be dark enough that people are turning on their headlights, and other lights, so that you have light in the background. If you wait until later in the evening, the background lights will be brighter, and you'll need to light the subject, or find something that's already lit, and you'll probably need to use a tripod. I'm lazy, so I like to shoot a little earlier.

Step 2 - Find your subject. In my case, it's this flower. Choose something that captures your interest.

Step 3 - Use a low aperture number (wide aperture). In this case, I'm at f/3.5 on my 50mm f/1.8 lens. (If you're not comfortable in manual, use the Aperture Priority mode on your camera, usually marked Av. It will figure out the correct shutter speed for you.) I tried various f stops, and I like this one the best for not completely blurring out the background, but also not distracting too much from my subject.

Step 4 - Compose. Leave some negative space for those lights in the background. No pretty light bokeh without lights in the background!

Step 5 - Focus.

Step 6 - Shoot!

Play around with it some. If anyone tries this, I'd love to see your results. And if you're a bokeh master, feel free to leave some tips in the comments!