Weekend Portraits | + thoughts on bokeh, tools and silliness.


We’re back from our great nondescript long weekend: Victoria/Fête de la Reine/First People/Patriotes/Dollard des Ormeaux Day… No disrespect but I don’t quite know why we don’t get rid of all this political/historical hogwash and just call it Summer Kickoff Day — it’s what everyone celebrates anyway. Fire up the BBQ, get some rays, hit the flower beds; that whole naming situation is getting ridiculous. But I digress ;)

Bit of a lack of updates lately and I apologize. I’ve shot stuff I’m very happy with these past weeks and will be sharing some of it in the near future. I’m getting a little backlogged over here.

My initial thoughts on the pre-production 55–200mm Fuji lens seems to have created a bit of a stir in the online community. In fact I found myself debating its merits in a forum discussion, something I should steer clear of given the passions these tend to inflame. The big issue? That most dreaded of words: bokeh.

Here’s the thing about bokeh: discussions around this subject can quickly devolve into silliness. A little like wine tasting. There are certainly objective factors at play and certain visible technical issues that can be identified… But there’s also a heck of a lot that depends on what was shot and how it was shot. And beyond all the mumbo jumbo, my take on any tool remains the same: use it to your advantage. Use it’s so-called "faults" creatively and they can turn into qualities. It’s all subjective as hell anyway, no matter what pixel peepers like to think. Photography isn’t just about formulas.

Coincidentally, while I was in the middle of this I read David Hobby’s BTS post on Soprano Rebecca Hargrove. In the comments someone mentioned not being crazy about bottom catchlights, to which David responded pretty eloquently. But I think the last part of his answer bears repeating: “In 33 years of shooting seriously, I have never heard a non-photographer even bring it up. I haven’t even heard a photo editor bring it up in literally thousands of picture editing sessions. Ditto the word ”bokeh,“ while we are at it.


Maybe I’m a technical moron. Maybe I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. But I look at the images I’m getting from the very little time I’m managing to spend with this pre-production lens… And I can’t think of a single client telling me there’s a problem with subject separation on my differential focus. Or nissen rings.

Images below from that aforementioned nondescript weekend…