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About a week ago I told Josh about a Korean website that was doing some interesting things with bokeh. Josh and I talked on AIM one day and devised a simple way to build your own "shapertures" ((Full credit for the creative name belongs to Josh.)) and he took some test shots and published his instructions.

My wife has a scrapbooking machine called a "Cricut," which cuts shapes out for scrapbooking. Unfortunately, the smallest size "hole" for a 135mm lens is about 0.9 inches, and the Cricut can only cut 1" shapes at the smallest. So, my results (in the extended entry) aren't quite as compelling as Josh's. But hey, we've proven the principle sound, and the Korean website is really the one you want to visit to see pretty pictures with "shaperture"-driven bokeh.

Shaperture Test

The above is a quick Photoshop job to merge three shots into one square. I took some shots with stars and some with a flower. Notice that towards the tops and bottoms of the image you get the most pronounced bokeh. In the two flower patterns, notice how they're in opposite directions. If you know anything about optics, you probably guessed quickly that in one I focused in front of the Christmas lights I threw over a chair in the basement and in the other I focused beyond them.

The slight blurring is due to the fact that the lights were too close to really be considered point lights - depending on the angle of the little light bulb, sometimes the whole bulb would appear to be lit rather than a small point.