Digital IR

I was greatly pleased with my first attempt at infrared photography using the Kodak film.  I have more film to play with but also wanted to see how to make the digital versions as well.  It’s been in the back of my mind to buy a used camera and have it converted to IR (there’s a filter that has to be removed so the sensor see IR better) but before that expense I wanted to see if digital will give the same results as film.

Turns out you can use a lens filter to experiment.  The Hoya R72 filter fits on the front of the lens and blocks almost all visible light, letting in only the infrared.  On an unconverted camera this means really long exposure times (a minute or more depending on how bright the scene is) but for a landscape photographer that’s usually not a problem.  I just got one of these filters and started playing with it.

Of course it started raining – not the best IR lighting – but some infrared light does make it through clouds.  I set my camera on a tripod and made a 1 minute exposure.  It looks like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, red filter, red photograph.  Thus the magic of digital processing.  A little work in Photoshop to achieve the effect I’m looking for and there’s this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot bad for a poorly lit scene.  All the expected elements are there – bright foliage, dark shadows, even tones, bit of a halo.  It looks promising.  Now for a really bright day with big white clouds.

Actually, I think I could really like this infrared approach.  Gives me something to photograph in the bright sunshine without getting up at the crack of dawn.



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