Good News!

May 13, 2015   Religion, 85/1.8

This is what I call good news: a recent study suggests that young Americans are less superstitious than their elders. Hooray!

You might say I was lucky. As a very young boy in hyper-religious Texas I looked around the church I was sitting in and realized with a chill that those surrounding me actually thought someone was listening to their prayers. I told my mom that I'd never set foot in her church again. Fortunately for me, she was primed for my decision as my father had made the same decision when he was a boy. Of course, I've since visited as tourist many beautiful old churches which I look at as testament to religion's once-powerful ability to explain what was at the time unexplained. I keep hoping we'll move on from this illusion, and today's Times articles - there are two - give me some hope.

In a similar vein check out Andy Borowitz on "fact-resistant humans". Actually I'd recommend Andy Borowitz' take on anything.

Today's photo was inspired by bokeh, which is a popular photographic buzz-word for the out-of-focus areas of a picture. If you check out any of the photo blogs you'll quickly hear arguments over which lens has better bokeh. Bokeh quality is subjective, like art. Your taste in bokeh may evolve as you see more and more of it.

This out-of-focus area of a photo can be maximized with the use of a large aperture (small f-stop) but there are other ways such as the use of long focal lengths. Prime lenses, or lenses of fixed focal length, are popular for maximizing bokeh because the largest apertures are the purview of primes. Aperture shape and lens aberrations, among other things, also affect bokeh.

This shot was taken with an 85 mm prime set at f/2.2. It's a yellow bench viewed through yet another lens, a 50mm f/1.2. The big yellow blob on the right is of course the yellow bench completely out of focus.