First off. What is Bokeh?
Bokeh is the quality of the part of a picture that is out of focus when a photographer uses a shallow depth of field to capture their subject. Many people, including myself, tend to focus on the part of the picture that is in focus. This is a big mistake. There are ways to control the bokeh’s aesthetic appearance. By adjusting the depth of field, choosing the correct lens, ¬†and choosing the correct bokeh to coincide with the foreground subject, you too can create pictures that have that “wow effect”.
Bokeh is directly controlled by depth of field. If you increase the aperture size, the smaller the depth of field will be, and if you decrease the aperture size, the depth of field will increase. Choosing proper depth of field is more important than always choosing the blurriest backgrounds you can find.
Most pro photographers like the look of circular bokeh compared to the normal octagonal bokeh that we see in many photos. However finding a lens that has more aperture blades or uses curved aperture blades, to create the circular effect, is hard and they are expensive.

Relating the background bokeh to the foreground subject creates a picture that the viewer did not anticipate. Such as in wedding photography when you see the bride in the foreground and the groom in the back out of focus. Another technique is to have the foreground interact with the bokeh.

Using these techniques can help to improve your photography dramatically! Good luck!


Rule of Thirds

The most important rule of taking any good shot is the “Rule of Thirds”. As I found out the hard way. Taking pictures this way and that not knowing what I was doing. My dad who also has a hobby in photography helped to teach me the “Rule of Thirds”.

The basic principle is that you divide your image into 3 sections both vertically and horizontally so that you end up with 9 parts. Obviously you cant draw onto your view screen or viewfinder. Instead you do this with your minds eye as you get ready to snap that perfect shot.

The idea behind this is that the intersections of the lines is where it is best to place points of interest. This usually makes the picture look more well balanced and visually appealing to the viewer.

When you begin to take a picture ask yourselves these questions:

What are the interesting points in this picture?

Where am I intentionally placing them?

As usual rules are meant to be broken and once you become proficient in using the “Rule of Thirds” try breaking the rules. See what kind of striking photos you can take once you start thinking about where the points of interest are and where you want your viewers eyes to be drawn to!!!

Trip to NYC and a New Lens

I recently traveled to the east coast to visit some family. I had an interview with a marketing research agent in New York, which was only a 3 hr drive or an hour by train. So I began to plan a whole day around New York. I thought I would see Times Square, Ground Zero, The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street and a few other places that fancied my eyes. As I looked around for places to go I noticed that Adorama, one of the largest buyers of used camera equipment, had their home office in New York. Only about a mile or two from where I was having my interview.

So of course. I had to visit. When I walked into the store I was amazed at how much equipment they had. Not just for Digital cameras but also Film, Video, Lighting and Audio. I immediately went to the back section where I had read that you can try out different lens’ for your camera before you buy them. I have recently been looking at getting a 50mm prime lens or a 85mm prime lens. However when looking at price range I decided to look at a 50mm f2.8 prime macro lens, and a 70mm f2.8 prime macro lens. After trying them out, which I am so thankfully glad that I did, I realized that although a 70mm would allow me to farther from the subject, a 50mm would be more versatile in the uses of macro and portraiture.

So after much ado, I got the 50mm f2.8 Sigma macro lens. And am I so happy that I did. I have been loving ever since I got it.

Until next time.


Living Life Through the Lens

A recent discussion with my father about memories and how we remember them led to the topic of, do we take a camera everywhere in the hopes of getting that perfect picture? Or do we leave it at home sometimes in order to enjoy the spontaneous moments that seem to ingrain themselves into our head anyway?

I have decided that although a picture may be worth a thousand words. That picture will never convey the actual moment that was happening. Fireworks in New York look better in person than with a camera. Weddings are remembered not by the pictures we take but by the little things we remember.

So back to the question. To take the camera everywhere, or to leave it at home once in a while? While it seems like my opinion should be pointed in the obvious direction. I would say that having a camera at all times is necessary in order to capture many of the moments that would go unnoticed! In moderation of course. You need to be able to put down that lens when your little one wants to play or when your wife asks for you to get something. There shouldn’t be this incessant need to take pictures all the time.

So as a conclusion, take your camera almost everywhere, but learn to put it down once in a while and maybe even take some time to pass on your skills to someone who will appreciate it!

About Me

My name is Alex.

I am an student Photographer at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT.

This blog is to share some of my better pictures that I have taken, whether for assignments or for fun. I currently work for the university shooting all of their concerts, I also take senior portraits and do free lance work.

If you want to contact me feel free to email me at,

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Photos and Stories from World Travels