Brenizer Panoramic BBQ Smoker

I’m having fun experimenting with Brenizer bokeh panoramas.

At last weekend’s photo meetup I met a wedding photographer, Chris, who introduced me to a technique for creating bokeh panoramas. The technique is called the Brenizer method after it’s “creator”, wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer. The idea is simple but the results are challenging to achieve.

So what is it?

For those who may or may not have heard of it and are not sure of what this technique is exactly, it’s essentially using a telephoto lens to create a very shallow depth of field as if shot with a wider angle lens. This technique makes a dSLR image look like it was shot by medium format.Bui Photos

Of course when I learn a new photographic technique I have to immediately immerse myself in it. So I’ve been experiment with 12-16 images panoramas shot with my AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8.

I’ve read — and seen — that the results are better when photographing people but that will have to wait until my results improve. In the meantime I’m having fun creating 20-30MP images from my Nikon D5100.

For these images, I set my 85mm to f/1.8. The Nikon D5100 is a DX camera, meaning it has an APS-C sensor with a 1.5 crop factor. My 85mm f/1.8 will produce results similar to a 127mm f/2.7 on full frame 35mm DSLR.

I panned around the subjects trying to capture the area around the subject. I think I used 12 images for the photo of the smoker and 16 for the “red shrub”. I used Photoshop to import and auto-merge the images. This took about 30 seconds on my 3.4GHz iMac. Having 32GB of RAM helps a lot!

If you click over to Flickr, you’ll see that the final cropped image of the red shrub is 9508 x 6303 pixels. The image of the smoker is 11070 x 4879 pixels!

Brenizer Panoramic Graveyard
Brenizer Panoramic Graveyard

I’m often asked by other photographers and new acquaintances1 “what kinds of photographer are you?”. Am I a nature or landscape photographer? A portrait or wedding photographer? I know what they are asking but I’m often frustrated at finding the right word(s) to describe my work. Until now.

I went out for a walk to clear my head and get a cup of coffee. I spend the first two hours of my work day crafting information security governance documents and I needed a break. As I walked along the sidewalk I started reading an article by photographer Jorge Quintero’s. A lot of what Jorge wrote connected with me but the one word that made me stop to think was the word “avid”.

Jorge wrote:

My byline says it all. I’m an avid photographer. That’s what this blog is about with a strong emphasis on photography and yet sometimes not just limited to that. I will always have a stronger connection with blogs that bundle their content with a first-class personal story and whether I write about a photography gear I own or an experience I had shooting, it will never just be another gear review or rant as I will always aim to instill personal meaning into it.

NIKON_D5100_20131012_-4.jpg

I stopped and pondered the one word and then the paragraph. I know what kind of photographer I am. I am an avid photographer who blogs. I love taking photos. Photos that have meaning to me. I love writing about the emotion and thoughts that were going through my mind when I took the photo. I am enthusiastic about learning about and doing the craft of photography. I love the technical and hardware side of photography. I love knowing how the various components of my cameras work.

Like Jorge, I admire the work of other photographers. Trey Ratcliff is one photographer whom I admire greatly. However, I am not inspired by them. For me inspiration comes while out walking while listening to trance music from my favorite artist like Armin van Buren and Chase & Status. Music can change my mood. Often the music that I’m listening to triggers a thought which causes me to see something in a scene that resonates with me and triggers and emotion. Like a word.


  1. When they find out I’m a photographer.