Infra Red

mickyates B&W, Falmouth, Infrared, Landscape, MA, Masters, Nikon, Photography Leave a Comment

One of my action steps for 2019 is to explore other ways of rendering my traces / negatives, and that includes infra red. I am particularly taken with how Judy Glickman Lauder mixes black & white and infra red, depending on the subject at hand, in her work on Denmark and the holocaust.

I very rarely have posted a ‘technical’ item, but I felt this needed recording. To get started, I got a Hoya IR filter (720mm wavelength) to experiment with on my digital cameras, before plunging into IR film or even converting a camera. Chlorophyll reflects green light in the visible spectrum, hence the way we see fields, trees and landscapes. Yet chlorophyll also is transparent to infra red light, so rendering a completely different colour palette, and, in black and white, rendering pure white.

I set up one of my Nikons, to take a test shot.

Natural

As the IR filter is virtually opaque to the human eye, manual focusing before using it was essential. Then, with a little trial and error, the best settings using the filter were ISO 6400, F/16, and +5 stops exposure compensation, which led to shutter speeds in the several second range. The result, out of the camera with no adjustment:

RAW Infra Red with IR Filter

Adjusting colour balance, contrast and so forth led to this, somewhat in the style of Richard Mosse:

Colour & Contrast Balanced

Whilst I am not yet convinced of the aesthetic here, It is noticeable how the infra red is pushing viewer’s attention to the sky and the middle distance – the upright conifers and the hillside.

I now decided to turn to black and white. First, a straight forward conversion of the original ‘natural colour’ image:

Black & White

Then, a conversion of the colour infra red to black and white,

Infra Red Conversion

This is something quite disconcerting about this latter image, again those large conifers, but with a ghostly presence. By contrast, the ‘straight’ black and white is rather flat.

To be continued.

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Glickman Lauder, Judy. 2018. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception. New York: Aperture.

Mosse, Richard. 2012. Infra. Available at http://www.richardmosse.com/projects/infra. (Accessed 12/11/2018).