infrared

Friday Image No. 51

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Bridge at Chatsworth
Bridge at Chatsworth

This weeks image is another from my walk on Monday where the weather was perfect for Infrared. The image was shot with the EM5 Infrared converted camera. Processing was then caried out using Nik Color Efex, Silver Efex Pro, Analog Efex and then back into Color Efex. It was a bit of an experimentation in all honesty. The print seems to work better than the screen image.

Hope you have a great weekend.

The Weather for Infrared

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Olympus EM5 converted to Infrared. f7.1, 1/400", ISO200, lens at 14mm
Olympus EM5 converted to Infrared. f7.1, 1/400″, ISO200, lens at 14mm

If you live in the UK and enjoy Landscape Photography you will have noticed that the light is growing more harsh and the time of day for shooting great Landscapes is becoming more restricted. At this time of year you often find yourself need to be shooting landscapes at either end of the day or in bad weather. If you are out in the middle of the day in bright sunny weather, you can find it very difficult to shooting anything. This is when I like to turn my attention to Infrared photography as these are the ideal conditions.

If you shoot infrared with a digital camera you really need strong sunlight to get the best infrared effects. Whilst you can shoot in any weather conditions, if the light isn’t strong you will find that many of your images have a soft appearance, lacking sharp detail and look a little grainy. Compare this to scenes where the light is strong and you can achieve some amazing results.

This was the case yesterday when I went for a walk around the Chatsworth Estate. I found myself snapping away at all sorts of scenes that were literally transformed by the infrared capture.

Whilst I do love Infrared photography, I miss the halation effect that could be seen in films such as Kodak HIE. If you want to create the glowing white effect and shoot digitally, you will need to simulate it in some way as I have done in the image above. In this case I used Alien Skin Exposure 7 which has a good halation simulation. I then selectively introduced it into my image using a mask in Photoshop. This was to restrict the effect to the foliage as I didn’t like how it affected the sky.

I hope you like the finished image. It really didn’t look like much with a conventional camera but was transformed by infrared.

Don’t do this if you shoot film

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Rollei IR400 film rated at ISO 6 and developed in Rodinal 1:100. Hasselblad XPan + 30mm lens.
Rollei IR400 film rated at ISO 6 and developed in Rodinal 1:100. Hasselblad XPan + 30mm lens.

A couple of weeks back I had a clear out in my study. I have shelves full of books and decided to throw out many of the older ones. I also have stacks of old note books full of random jottings so I pulled out and ripped up all the used pages. It wasn’t until I came to develop some Infrared film from my trip to Malham that I realised I had ripped up all my developing notes – gulp.

This was not a good feeling but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. In this case I found mine on the Massive Dev Chart website (http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php).

If you have never used this site it’s a great resource to find out development times for different film and developer combinations. But the real bonus for me was that they now have an App. Whilst I had to buy the paid version in order to record my development notes it’s a really great little app.

If you haven’t seen this before and you still use film, it’s well worth checking out.

Interesting Infrared Process

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Olympus EM5 Infrared with processing in Exposure 7 and Nik Color Efex Pro
Olympus EM5 Infrared with processing in Exposure 7 and Nik Color Efex Pro

I have been experimenting with the image from my new Infrared camera and identified a rather interesting look that can be achieved in Nik Color Efex Pro.

You can see the finished image above and shown below is the starting image following RAW conversion and white balance correction in Lightroom.

 

Starting Image
Starting Image

The next image shows the conversion to infrared black and white using Alien Skin Exposure 7. This is one of my favourite tools for Infrared processing as it includes sliders that allow you to control the halation effect (bright glowing areas).

 

Processed in Alien Skin Exposure 7
Processed in Alien Skin Exposure 7

The conversion from this image to the finished image was achieved using a few contrast adjustments in Nik Color Efex but the toning was achieved using the Glamour Glow filter. You can see the filter settings below.

 

Filter settings in Color Efex
Filter settings in Color Efex

I really quite like this effect as the halation glow is further enhanced and the toning can be controlled quite precisely moving from warm to cool.

In case you’re wondering how I got rid of the sun flare, I moved the Cyan slider to 0 in the black and white conversion process.

An Infrared Day

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Olympus EM5 Converted to Infrared with processing with Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure 7.
Olympus EM5 Converted to Infrared with processing with Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure 7.

As planned (and mentioned in my Friday post) I visited Malham in Yorkshire at the weekend. The weather conditions were forecast to be sunny with broken cloud so the intention was to shoot Infrared. I actually intended to shoot mainly infrared film on the XPan using my new 30mm lens. In the end I found myself shooting more with the newly converted infrared EM5. By the end of the day I was convinced the EM5 conversion was a great idea but I still had some reservations about processing the RAW images.

When I returned from my previous trip and first outing of the EM5, I found problems in trying to process the RAW files. For some reason I couldn’t achieve a good white balance with the RAW files in Lightroom. As usual they all came out blood red. You can normally overcome this by creating a bespoke profile using the Adobe DNG editor but for some reason I still can’t explain, I couldn’t get this to work for me. I even started to wonder if I had made a mistake choosing a 665nm conversion.

This time on my return I tried again to create a new profile and it worked first time. I then tried processing the images. Channel swapping to produce false colours seems much easier with the 665nm converted camera, but that wasn’t my objective. Instead I was trying to create a nice Infrared look that was more akin to the traditional Kodak HIE films but retained better definition. I wanted to create something of a cross between Kodak HIE and Ilford SFX (at least in my vivid imagination).

In the end I came up with a custom preset in Alien Skin Exposure 7 which works pretty well with most of the RAW files once they have been white balanced. I hope you like the results.

The Sun is Out

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Olympus EM5 Infrared conversion, 9-18mm Olympus lens. Post processing in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex.
Olympus EM5 Infrared conversion, 9-18mm Olympus lens. Post processing in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex.

The sun is out at last which means it’s no good for Landscape Photography. But it is good for Infrared Landscape Photography. Yesterday I went up to the Yorkshire Dales in order to try out my new Olympus EM5 which I had converted to Infrared.

The conversion was completed by ProTech in the UK and used a 665nm filter. My other camera is a Panasonic GX1 with a 720nm filter and was converted by ACS. If you are wondering why I didn’t use ACS again, it’s not because they did a bad job it just it took them a couple of months. A friend had used ProTech and was very pleased with the service. So too am I.

The results from the EM5 are just as good as I hoped. Whilst I am still finding my way with the 665nm filter in terms of post processing, it does look quite promising. Here is a first image from the top of Malham Cove. I hope you like it.

Another EM5 Posting

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Taken with a Panasonic GX1 converted to shoot infrared. Post processing in Alien Skin Exposure 7.
Taken with a Panasonic GX1 converted to shoot infrared. Post processing in Alien Skin Exposure 7.

I’m excited. I have bought a second EM5 body given the recent drop in prices. It’s second hand but has a low shutter count. In fact I didn’t want a new EM5 as I am going to get this one converted to Infrared.

When I had the GX1 converted I used a company called ACS. They did a good job but took an age to do the conversion. This time I have spoken to a company called ProTech who a friend has used for a few conversions.

I hope to take delivery of the camera this weekend and then it’s off for the conversion. I hope to be able to report back in a few weeks time and make some comparisons regarding image quality.