And now for something completely different

Wow, way too much traveling going on for me right now and too few posts on what I’m seeing.  The good news is part of my travels in the past couple of weeks was to attend the NANPA Summit  held this year in Jacksonville, FL.  If you are an outdoor photographer and haven’t thought about being a part of this group I highly recommend you check it out.  Many of the world-renown outdoor photographers are active members and support the activities held by the organization.  The annual Summit brings together great teachers and speakers while providing many opportunities to meet and get to know professional photographers from all over the world.

During one workshop I got excited about infrared photography as a way to see the usual things in a new way (one of the essential challenges with photography).  I have an old digital camera I’m looking into converting to infrared (IR) photography but the latest issue of Popular Photography actually has an article on how to “simulate” the IR look in Adobe Camera Raw (which means it can be done in the Develop module of Lightroom as well).  The effect is best where there is a range of picture elements that absorb and reflect IR light so landscapes are well suited to this look as the sky will absorb IR and turn black (it’s why the sky is blue – it only lets blue light from the sun through for us to see) and foliage will reflect IR and get very bright.

Here’s an example.  First, the original image (I’ve performed no post-processing on this image – it’s the RAW version right out of the camera).

ISO 100, 50mm, 1/125 sec., f/7.1

ISO 100, 50mm, 1/125 sec., f/7.1

Now the “simulated” IR version.

Unlike most of my quests to explore new post-processing methods this one doesn’t really improve sharpness or color saturation or even offer the tonal contrasts B&W images are expected to have.  What it does offer is a different way of seeing, brightening elements that might go unnoticed and darkening elements to provide a backdrop that allows the subject to pop off the screen.

The post processing way of creating this effect isn’t really showing the scene as it would be where only IR light is used – for that the camera has be to converted to only be sensitive to IR light.  My understanding is a converted camera will enhance the effect even more.  Nonetheless, this is a quick technique to get a sense of what some scenes could look like, which is an aid in learning to visualize compositions and elements that lend themselves to this alternative form of photography.

Anyone out there doing IR photography?  What do you like or dislike about it?


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