It’s bird time again! I have not posted a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis Cardinalis) photo for awhile so I thought it was about time to do so again. I was going through my folder of unprocessed bird photos when I ran across this photograph of a male Northern Cardinal. I have mentioned before that Northern Cardinals are in abundance here in Texas. They also happen to be one of my favorite birds.
One of the key elements of bird photography is a “soft background”, also called “bokeh”. I have written about bokeh before but I thought it was time to revisit this very important topic. Bokeh is a Japanese word that defines the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image by a lens. Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting, “good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively. Bokeh is primarily achieved through aperture settings but the lens focal length (aka lens length) also plays a role. The wider the aperture (smaller numbers) and the longer the lens (e.g. 300mm) the softer the background. Combining the two, as was the case in this photograph, yields very pleasing backgrounds.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports Lens set on 600 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/125th of a second and the ISO set at 3200. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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