XDrive Photo Lesson – 5 – Focus on blurs

I was really inspired by this post from Raj. Just take a minute to go through it all. He has a bunch of examples to help understand the concept. And Helen’s post just blew me away. Please take a few minutes to check them out. You are guaranteed to learn something.

I tried panning this summer with horrible results. The key is to match your subject’s speed and click away as you move together with them. (please correct this if I am wrong). Here is an example


f 22, ISO 100, 1/25sec, 244mm

It isn’t an easy task and it took about 200 photos to produce two that weren’t blurry in the right spots. [I had a lot of success following my daughter down a slide, so if you are curious about this technique, I would start there.]

I could pull more examples out of my archives but that defeats the purpose of the lesson, doesn’t it? The purpose is to blur with intention. I had an idea of using a wide aperture to create a beautiful bokeh of glittering snow. The day I set out to do this, the frost wasn’t as refractile as it needed to be. (I am not even sure if it will work since highlights are generally white and snow is white. My attempts resulted in just large blobs of white all around but I am going to keep trying). During this little escapade, the snow began to fall off the trees so I shifted my stance and caught this



taken with my 50mm, f 1.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 

I am wondering if the resulting image is too soft? I had increased my aperture and waited for more snow to fall so more of the branch would be in focus, but I waited and waited and waited… well you know how it goes.

And just because tis’ the season for glittery lights, here is a picture where everything is purposely blurred (tutorial here )



50mm. f2, 1/125sec, ISO 100

Looking forward to your critique, Raj.

Happy clicking everyone 🙂








13 thoughts on “XDrive Photo Lesson – 5 – Focus on blurs

  1. Thank you, Kelly, for mentioning my blog. It’s nice to know someone appreciates my effort, even though I was just having fun trying different possibilities. (Is it possible you forgot to link to Raj’s page? I could miss it, but I didn’t see it.)
    I love love love that snow picture. Living in Minnesota, I usually wish the snow wouldn’t come until Dec. 23., but now I am so anxious to try what you did, so I say, “Let it snow!” 😉
    Thanks for the link of that tutorial page. There are so many things to try, aren’t they?
    Have a great day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Helen. For some reason when I link it doesn’t seem all that obvious on my website. It’s not something I ever noticed until now. I’ll have to find a way to remedy that 😊
    Trying things is fun, isn’t it? It’s seems to be the only way I learn.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Helen. Thanks for stopping by.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Shutterbug for your contribution. Great post!

    Pic1: Lovely attempt to pan the shot! Yes, the concept of planning is very simple as you explained. As you explained it’s about keeping your subject stationary with respect to your frame as you click. Main variable here is the shutter speed, it can vary based on the movement in the subject. In your pic I feel still there is softness in the chopper, probably bit higher shutter speed would have frozen the subject. I noted that you are on f22, I would use the wide aperture as I need a blurred background here.

    Pic1: The Nice play of lights with the bokeh. Falling snow should provide a great opportunity for such shots. I feel backlit condition should support such shots. However, in the image, I wanted to see the main subject (I believe the foreground shrub) should have been in full sharp. Currently, some softness is seen which is not desirable. Right settings have been used. The main issue here is the centre of the image, unfortunately, it hosts the soft area. Viewer eye first goes to the centre of the image and one has to be careful in composition.

    Pic 3: Great experiment and the tutorial, very creative work. As an alternative, just imagine a vase or a persons hand at the bottom in full focus, giving the illusion of accepting the love. The yellow area on the top right is creating the distraction, you can clone it out on your post-processing.

    Overall great work Shutterbug, these experimentations teach so much about photography. We will be able to use so much of knowledge from these experiments in our daily life normal photography.

    This critique is part of XDrive’s Photography learning sessions. Gald to see you here!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Raj. I know you have expressed some concern in giving feedback but it is really great to receive your tips. I absolutely love your idea about the hearts. I am going to enlist my kids and see what I can do. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks shutterbug, it really gives me immense pleasure to read the feedback some of you give here.. That’s the whole driving force for this mission. Want to see more of your experimentation… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. actually I set the camera to manual focus and moved the focusing ring around until the hearts appeared. The more out of focus they were, the bigger the hearts. I have been trying to get my kids to sit by the tree so I could snap some pictures of them, but they won’t sit still long enough! I thought it would be a nice addition to the xmas cards 😊


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