Picture This!
Background Blur

Our Picture This! assignment for this month was Background Blur, creating a sense of dimension in the photograph by playing a sharp foreground subject off against a blurry, or unsharp background. Readers sent in a wide variety of subjects, from flowers to statues to birds and carnival rides, all using this time-honored technique. Many used telephoto lenses to enhance the shallow depth of field, while others relied on subject placement and close focusing against a distant background to attain the effect. In all cases the technique does something eminently "photographic"; it holds a moment that the naked eye can only consider in a picture, and not in "real" life.

Monarch: Nolan Braud used a Canon EOS 10D with a Canon 75-300mm lens to capture this gorgeous butterfly as it landed on some flower petals. His exposure was f/9.5 at 1/90 sec.
© 2005, Nolan Braud, All Rights Reserved

Water Lily: Janice L. Braud made this colorful photo where the buds of the lily seem to jump off the print with her Canon EOS ELAN 7E and Tamron 28-300mm lens, with extension tube. Exposure was f/6.3 at 1/8 sec.
© 2005, Janice L. Braud, All Rights Reserved

Springtime Flowers: Kim Heiser worked with her Canon EOS Digital Rebel and 80-300mm lens at an aperture setting of f/4.5 to attain this wonderful counterpoint of color.
© 2005, Kim Heiser, All Rights Reserved

Superb Starling: Without the use of background unsharpness it would have been quite difficult to pick this bird out from the limbs. The nice placement of the vine also helped. Gary O'Hara made this shot with a Canon EOS 10D with a 135mm lens set at f/4.5.
© 2005, Gary O'Hara, All Rights Reserved

What `Chu Lookin' At?: That's the apt title sent in with this fun shot of a "goby" made by Andrew Wallace on a recent dive at the Breakwater in Monterey, California. Wallace worked with an encased Nikon D70 and 105mm f/2.8 lens and twin Sea&Sea SB120 strobes. Exposure was f/5 at 1/160 sec.
© 2005, Andrew Wallace, All Rights Reserved

Dewey Dragonfly: This amazing photograph was made by Gary W. Potts on an early August morning with his Nikon F5 and 20mm lens on Fujichrome Velvia. He exposed at f/11 at 1/20 sec and kept things steady on his Gitzo tripod and Kirk ball head.
© 2005, Gary W. Potts, All Rights Reserved

Statue In The City: Neale M. Albert made this golden shot with his Contax 645 on Kodak Portra 400 VC film.
© 2005, Neale M. Albert, All Rights Reserved

The Eye Of The Peacock: The painterly background really makes this peacock stand out. Allen Bellman shot with a Canon A2 and 100-400mm Canon lens on film, although no exposure or emulsion was noted.
© 2005, Allen Bellman, All Rights Reserved

Flying Lady On Blue: Shot at a car show in Southern California, Charles Abrams worked with his Nikon F5 and 80-200mm AFS lens on Ektachrome VS 100 slide film.
© 2005, Charles Abrams, All Rights Reserved

Take Your Mark!: Becky Andelson made this photo of daughter Emily as she waited for the starter's signal at a swim meet. She worked with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel and Sigma
28-200mm lens. Exposure was f/5.6 at 1/400 sec.
© 2005, Becky Andelson, All Rights Reserved