Infrared Photography resembles the image in my mind’s eye.
I always preferred shooting black and white film before I moved to digital, I even usually prefer seeing other art formats in B&W. I didn’t even make the jump to digital until around 2007/08 because of the desire to continue working with b&w film and prints in the darkroom. The primary reasons for the switch were the hassle of disposing of chemicals in a rural environment and the Polaroid effect of seeing instant results.
I loved the manipulation process in the darkroom to create the image I liked, I can’t say I really enjoy doing the same on a computer.
Over these digital years I have attended some fantastic workshops on how to process digital black and white, much the same as one would create a b&w image from a color negative. One of he best was at Shooting the West with Mark Citret, learning how to adjust curves, contrast and hue/saturation to try and achieve detail in each zone of grey from white to black.
Still often I would find myself shooting in color. If the zones of grey were off a bit or the detail wasn’t fine enough in a particular zone, color would often mask what my mind’s eye thought should be there.
This last year I decided to try infrared photography again and had a Pentax K-01 converted to full spectrum using r72 and #87 filters on the lens.
What a joy! To work in almost pure black and white again has been extremely satisfying.
I’ve realized that even though my eyes do see color, (I can distinguish red from blue and yellow or green, etc.,) they are always bland.
In my mind’s eye I see in light or lack of, resulting in shape, form and texture.
Now the challenge will be going back to color:)
Testing the Tiffen #87
Recently I picked up a NIB Tiffen #87 Infrared filter to see if I would enjoy working more with the shorter IR wavelengths (to produce a truer Black and White image) or if I wanted to stay with the 720 and under filters to achieve some color from visible light.
I have always preferred viewing B&W photos and movies to color and when I hold an image in my mind it is almost always in B&W.
The 87 comes in around 795 or just at the baseline of the IR spectrum. Not quite as black as the 093 (830) or 87c (850) but still dark to the human eye.
I do like the contrasty effect the monochrome images have over the false color, though it is difficult to achieve focus.
The majority of my favorite lenses are still manual focus, so I will just have to practice more.
If you can find this filter it is made of glass with a metal ring and well constructed, plus it comes in at about 1/2 the price of other name brands.
I find the images comparable to the Lee 87 film filters for those who already have a holder system.
I did notice under the right light and white balance there were a few shots that did have a hint of blue sky after an attempt at color swapping.
Very busy this month but I was able to revisit the Lensbaby Plastic Optic and play with a bit of Macro Photography in the yard.
These were taken using a de-glassed Takumar-A TC for an extension tube, approximately 27mm in length, giving around 1:2 magnification.
Very pleased with he results and really like the soft focus effect the lensbaby plastic optic offers.
And a few with IR:
Added a couple of new lenses to the infrared photography lens hotspot database,
the Pentax F300/4.5 and the Pentax F 35-70/3.5-4.5.
I remember trying Infrared Photography a few times in my film days and found it difficult and challenging.
It always seemed I was guessing the exposure time and the focus, trying to approximate the red line on the lens distance scale.
Winter Farm IR
Recently, I acquired a Pentax K-01 and had it converted to a full spectrum camera. Unlike film, digital sensors are sensitive to all light waves (UV, visible bands and IR) so most cameras use a hot-mirror to block the infrared bands and pass only visible light.
Winter Mules IR 1
Most conversions replace this hot-mirror and replace it with an IR based filter for a full time conversion, usually in the 720nm range. With the full spectrum conversion the mirror is removed and the IR filter is placed over the lens, much like the film days; however, unlike the film days I can see the image in live view just as if I was looking through a viewfinder.
Winter Mules IR 2
Apparently the new mirror-less systems make fantastic digital infrared cameras. They automatically set accurate exposure and the focus can be determined manually via live view or calibrated for auto focus. Another wonderful aspect of the K-01 is that it will take all my older Pentax K mount lenses.
Winter Tree IR
I now need to experiment with several to determine which will be good performers or or which will be susceptible to flares and hotspots. Infrared is often most noted for its use with contrast or faux colors with vegetation.
Faux Color IR Canal
Here are a few shots from the winter local scenery, a bit different but fun. I look forward to working with the camera as the spring green comes around.