Beyond Red

I managed to get out with the infra red camera on Saturday morning. The sun was shining when I left the house and I managed to follow the clear skies around until I found a suitable location.

I’m still learning how to use the camera and the differences that infra red sensitivity requires in the taking process. For example, flare in the lens is far more pronounced as the anti-reflection coatings on the lens glass don’t work so well for longer wavelengths of light. It’s hard to judge the correct exposure when reviewing the image on the display. The Fuji S3 has a small LCD. I’ve been shooting with .jpgs but it would be easier to shoot RAW and have more latitude for adjustment on the PC. The camera can’t adjust the colour temperature enough to compensate for the infra red filter so all colour adjustments must be made at home.

Nevertheless, I’m pleased with the results so far.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I hope it brings you everything you want, and a few pleasant surprises too.

When I was in college I experimented. Yes, I’m sorry to ruin your impression of me as an innocent. I tried new things, sought out new chemicals and saw what effects they had. One of the things I tried was infra red film. It was hard to handle, difficult to process and the results were hit or miss to start with. After college, Ilford brought out a black and white film (SFX) which had an extended red sensitivity and had to be handled carefully, like IR film. I got on better with that and as black and white was my chosen medium most of the time, I got used to it’s odd reproduction of colours and high contrast.

Digital photography tends to steer away from infra red because the sensors are, ironically, too sensitive to it. So manufacturers slap and IR blocking filter in front of the sensor which removes most of it. (Some cameras have less effective IR blocking filters and can be used with the appropriate infra red transmission filter in front of the lens).

I’d read reviews of digital cameras converted to infra red by the removal of their sensor filter and by recalibration of the processors to take account of new exposure and focussing parameters. I had even thought about getting my D300 converted. Then I saw the advert for a Fuji S3 pro, ready converted, at an excellent price. Temptation got the better of me and I wrote a pleading letter to Father Christmas. He was a little late, understandable given his workload for the weekend, but I finally got my infra red camera on Friday.

Of course, s*d’s law says that it shall be grey and grim and wet when you have a new(ish) camera to play with. I’ve only just been able to test drive it today. There’s quite a learning curve as the camera delivers files that initially look as if I’ve used a deep red filter. Which I have, of course, as that is what an infra red transmission filter is. But a little careful manipulation in Photoshop and I’m getting some interesting results. Time will refine them but I thought I’d share some with you now.

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