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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Brenizer Bokeh Panorama

Have you ever heard of bokeh panoramas? It was popularized by photographer Ryan Brenizer.

Here's a description.  And another.  But here's an overview without going into detail....I don't explain it as well as the articles, so make sure you read them to get a better understanding, if you're interested.

Say you're shooting with a fast, telephoto lens - we all know you get a very narrow view of a scene with a telephoto lens.  And with a fast telephoto lens (apertures 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.0. 2.8) you also get ridiculously outstanding bokeh.

Let's say you love the scene that you've got in front of you with the knockout bokeh, but want a wider view of it. To get a wider view of the scene you'd have to pop on your wide-angle lens or step far back with the telephoto.

The problem with a wide angle lens is that you can't get that delicious, buttery depth of field and bokeh that you can with a fast telephoto lens.  And if you back up with your telephoto lens to get more of the scene, you lose the bokeh. A dilemma!

What to do? You want a wider view, but you also want to keep the yummy bokeh all around the subject.

Bokeh Panorama to the rescue!

Take several shots of the scene with your telephoto while standing in the same spot and moving your camera around, and then stitch them together into one big panorama in Photoshop.

For this experiment I used a 35mm lens on my cropped sensor Nikon. On my cropped sensor the 35mm is more like a telephoto and it also produces the most lovely bokeh. And since it was the lens I had on my camera when I had the opportunity to practice this technique, I went with it.

The first photo is a straight-on shot of just the main subject with my 35mm at 2.5. No cropping.

The second image is a combination of the first shot plus 8 more shots taken all around it. Each shot was overlapped by about 1/2. All the images were then stitched together to make one large photo and then cropped in Photoshop.

See how by stitching together all the shots that I got a wider angle of the scene and didn't lose the bokeh?  I could have stepped back with my 35mm and attempted to get an image that looked similar in size to the second one, but I would have lost much of the bokeh.

Cool, huh?

This is my first attempt. I need a lot more practice. I want to try it again with my 85mm 1.4 - that seems to be the lens most folks use for this Bokeh Panorama technique. It seems they are all using that lens with a full frame camera, but I'll make do!

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