I’ve been wanting to dabble with infrared (IR) photography for a while. The last time was in the early 1980s, with Kodak’s famous infrared film, but that’s not been available for a long time. I bought a little Canon digital to turn into a full-spectrum camera (more about that soon) but in the meantime I thought I would try digital infrared with my unmodified Olympus e620 DSLR.
The sensor in digital cameras is full-spectrum but manufacturers fit a filter over the sensor to block out infrared wavelengths. However, these are not 100 per-cent effective, and it is possible to take IR photographs with a modified camera, it just means that you have to use long exposures.
I treated myself to a Hoya R72 infrared filter, which will cut out all wavelengths of light above 720nm, and fitted the DLSR to a tripod. I knew that I would need to use long exposures, but wasn’t quite sure what exposure would be needed, so I decided to bracket the exposures, taking the same frame at 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, and 30 seconds. I used RAW format so that I could play with the images later.
After I had taken several frames I imported these into Lightroom and chose the 8 second image, which looked the best exposed. I made some minor adjustments to the white balance, and converted the images to black and white, before exporting them as JPGs.
This is my first attempt with digital infrared, and I was pleased with how the images came out. I think I’ll need to play around with them some more, and I hope that I’ll be able to convert some into false colour at some stage. The next couple of days are also forecast to be good, so hopefully I can try again and get some images with fluffy clouds before the rain starts again.