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to my personal photography blog. I specialize in making unique and highly detailed photographs. Notice I said making and not taking. Yes I take photos but a lot of time and work is involved in pushing and punishing the pixels in my images to achieve the look I like.

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Can't we all just get along?

Entries in Bokeh (54)


I Dream of Fake Bokeh

I Dream of Fake Bokeh, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

My Sigma 50mm f1.4 is a good lens but it doesn't hold a candle to Kathy's Minolta/Sony 100mm f2.8 Macro lens in the sharpness and bokeh departments.

After seeing some of her great photos of these amber colored Pontiac hood ornaments, I've been on the lookout for them at every car show I go to. She usually finds them first and lets me know where I can locate them.

In this case, Kathy and I had been at the 2012 Uptown Whittier car show for a while with each of us going our own way to seek out whatever treasures the day might bring. Later when we met up again, she told me about this Pontiac hood ornament she had come across. We walked down the street so I could make a few images of it too.

I've noticed that the older the hood ornament, the more cracks it is likely to have. Here it was possible to orient the camera in such a way to capture the sunlight illuminating it's internal structure which had a lot of character.

Later when I went home and was reviewing my images in Lightroom, I could see that the bokeh in my shots left a lot to be desired. Luckily I own Nik Software's Bokeh 2 plug-in. It works great as long as you have a good selection isolating what you want to be in sharp focus from that which you want to be blurred. In this case I think it improved the existing bokeh nicely.


Low Down '57

Low Down '57, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

I saw this killer '57 Chevy at the Ruby's car show in July of 2011. I made several sequences of it. This one was shot with the Lens Baby Composer using the Sweet 35 optic. This manual focus lens allows you to specify an area of sharp focus and everything moving away from that area becomes more and more blurred. It provides an interesting effect I like a lot. Given the reduced size of the focus sweet spot, I would guess this was shot at an aperture of about f2.8.


I Dream of Bokeh

I Dream of Bokeh, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

Here's another image taken at the 2011 Uptown Whitier Car Show. I have posted images of these iconic Pontiac hood ornaments before. They always captivate me, especially if I can get a shot that is back lit by the sun which always shows off the internal structure of these amber colored jewels. I once again borrowed my wife Kathy's incredibly sharp and contrasty 100mm macro lens for this. In addition to being sharp it has the ability to create amazingly smooth bokeh (a Japanese term meaning "beautifully rendered out-of-focus areas") which contrasts so beautifully with the in-focus areas in a shot. To see more of what this lens can do check out Kathy's blog at


Come Roaring Back - Flower Power

Been gone a while. Glad to be back.

I've had never seen a more impressive motorcycle than this particular one. I took several 10-shot HDR sequences of it before walking away for a while to look at other cars and motorcycles at this particular show. A bit later I was sitting on a curb packing away my camera when I remembered I had my Lens Baby with me, so I put it on the camera and returned to this bike for a few more shots.

Although I've had the Lens Baby Composer for a couple of years I still struggle with getting accurate focus. Three things have helped with this process. First was the purchase of an L type focusing screen. It more readily shows the difference between in and out-of-focus areas than my camera's normal screen, second I purchased an angle viewfinder/ 2X magnifier. This allows me to magnify my optical viewfinder by 200% to confirm focus is sharp, and finally I learned a simple technique from about bracketing focus. Once I think I have obtained a sharp focus setting I will move the manual focus ring back and forth slightly while taking images. This gives me several shots to choose from with slightly different focus settings. One of these shots is almost always sharp.

Using the LCD display on the back of my camera isn't an option since it does not have a live view function. I am hoping to purchase the Sony A77 SLT Camera which features live view with 14x magnification as well as focus peaking. So soon I may be packing two cameras to car shows and trips just like my better half does now.


Pontiac Hood Ornament

Pontiac Hood Ornament, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

I really have a strong attraction to vintage Pontiac hood ornaments. I've posted other examples here before and I'm sure I'll post more. When I saw this one, I called Kathy who was also at this car show, and asked if I could borrow her 100mm macro lens which is very fast and sharp. It produces beautiful bokeh as well. I really like how colorful the out of focus areas are.


Not Fade Away

Not Fade Away, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

The setting sun's golden light creates bokeh highlights and casts long shadows across these classic Chevy's at Bob's Big Boy Broiler in Downey.


Anyone Out There?

Anyone Out There?, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

My personal blog, is now over a year old. I want to thank all of you who visit and enjoy my photography. Having a blog has been real commitment in both time and effort. When I first started Big Pixel Pushing, I typically posted a new image every few days.

I began to wonder if I could manage to post one image per day, everyday without fail. Weekends and holidays included. Sounds easy I know. But keep in mind, there are quite a few steps involved in posting what is hopefully an interesting and compelling image. First I have to take a lot of images or image sequences if I intend to make an HDR. Next I have to sift through all these images to find one I think would make a good post. I then have to process the image sequence. This consists of making an HDR merge, tone mapping, post processing, watermarking, posting and finally writing a description.

A few months ago I decided to try. So for almost 100 days in a row, I processed and posted a single image each day. Now I know that I can do it. It can be done. However, this diligence left very little time for anything else in my life and therefore is not sustainable.

I decided to take a break from photography and posting. I got a handful of questioning emails. A few were concerned (thanks), but more were pissed which was interesting and unexpected. While the site gets a good amount of traffic, (in August there were 48,080 page views and 18,953 unique visitors) it gets almost no comments.

I love blogs and read several everyday. I comment on blog postings when I think I have something relevant to say.

You would think with several hundred people visiting this site each day that someone would share an opinion, link, comment, critique, technique, event, or just say hi.

So this seems to be a very one sided arrangement. I post, you view. Ok by me but in the future I’ll be posting when the mood strikes and time allows.

Thanks for reading,



Jet Age Indian Head

Jet Age Indian Head, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

Now this was interesting. A 1950's era Pontiac with a hood ornament that was shaped like a very stylized jet aircraft with a semi-transparent Indian head nose. The light from the sunset was illuminating it which was cool.


Purely Ornamental

Purely Ornamental, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

Lensbaby macro shot of this cool hood ornament I found in the back lot at the Bob's Big Boy Broiler car show. Very often the show is so busy that a lot of cool cars end up parking out back.



Glow-Fest, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

Disney California Adventure is hosting a nighttime celebration of color called Glow-Fest which features music, dancing, professional dancers and lots of interesting lighting and color. I couldn't resist breaking out my Lensbaby.