Experiments with Infrared, 18 March 2022

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.

Published by Keith Devereux

'Let me close my eyes and sense the beauty around me. And take that breath under the dark sky full of stars.' Mira Furlan

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