Leon Hackl's picture

Nature Bokeh

Some more moody nature pictures with some nice bokeh. I wanna get a 85mm f/1.4 soon so i can get an even nicer blurry background, but i‘m happy so far. Let me know what you think about my style and pictures!

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9 Comments

Robert Tran's picture

For me, the processing is attractive and would also work well with scenes that had orange / red elements to contrast. Overall, I like your direction and recommend spending your time finding more interesting subjects to capture. As-is, the images rely on the processing to catch the my eyes, but having more captivating subjects would go a long way in holding attention.

Leon Hackl's picture

Thanks for your feedback Robert! I appreciate it.

Chris Jablonski's picture

I like both of these, Leon! The first invites close inspection, with all those textures creeping up that trunk. I can't quite agree with Robert about subject interest, although the very first image you put up has had the most distinctive subject, and is outstanding in my opinion.

I think both are good compositions; the second would be better still (for my taste) if the branch were a little further left, as per my edit.

I love this moody style you're doing here! A very high calibre introduction to this forum. Well done.

Everyone wants an 85 f/1.4, but think about it - with these images, if you used a tripod, you'd have to move it back and forth to fine-tune the composition, which is a right pain. With such images, a zoom makes a huge difference. And your backgrounds are nice and blurred. As you've noted an f/2.8 zoom would be even better for these images, but I'm not sure would have resulted in better images. Keep shooting with what you've got!

Leon Hackl's picture

Thanks Chris, the very first image is my favorite as well. You’re right about the second image, now that i see it like that it looks better to me as well! I think i wouldn’t have any problems with fine tuning the image if i had a prime lens on a tripod, an f/2.8 zoom would be awesome too though. I love my 70-200 f/4 but i always think that a 2.8 or better would give the images that extra bit of quality if you know what i mean. But for now i‘ll stick with what i got! Thanks again for the feedback!

Chris Jablonski's picture

I'm fairly serious about shooting with what you've got, Leon. You're doing really well with it. Very dubious about "that extra bit of quality" being actually visible without pixel-peeping (which is hardly the point of photography like yours, I'd think!). The bokeh is appealing in your images.

I can't tell the difference between my sharpest and my least-sharp lenses (both primes) on A2 prints when they're well-focussed images at optimal aperture, and I've aimed for the crispest-looking print. I did dump one fast AF lens for bad bokeh before I'd heard of bokeh, and replaced it with said least-sharp lens, slower, older and MF. Use it a lot.

There's a psychological effect if you know you're using a "good lens" - if the shot sucks, you can't blame it! And they can give a certain confidence. But we're all suckers for upgrade-itis to a degree. I know I am, and it does zero for the quality of my images.

Leon Hackl's picture

Yeah that’s true, there’s probably not a big difference. A good lens is always nice to have but it always depends on the photographer!

Phillip Breske's picture

I'll second what Chris said. You're doing fine with the lens you have.

I own and use both a 85/1.4 prime and a 70-200/2.8 zoom. They are both amazing lenses, but I very rarely use them wide open. In fact, the 85 at ƒ1.4 is almost unusable because the depth of field is so shallow.

There are other reasons to get a fast lens besides the shallow DOF. Because the lens allows more light into the camera during composition, the auto focus system is typically faster and more accurate. And these lenses are typically sharper at a given aperture than a slower lens, i.e. the 70-200/4 at ƒ5.6 will usually be sharper than a 70-200/4 at the same opening.

Remember that in addition to being much more expensive than a slower lens, the faster lenses are also much bigger and heavier. Carrying around a 70-200/2.8 all day gets to be a pain in the ass after a few hours.

This is the 70-200 wide open:

Leon Hackl's picture

Thanks for your comment Phillip! I never tried an 85mm f/1.4 myself, i just always hear awesome things about them. But i think before buying one of those super fast lenses i first try to get a 24-70 f/4. Will pair nicely with my 70-200, I‘m happy with the sharpness of it, of course you can always get something better but it’s good enough for me. The 70-200 f/2.8 would be awesome though despite the weight haha...

Chris Jablonski's picture

Now, now... don't gear-freak! ;-) Just go and take more pictures.