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.

5 thoughts on “An Infrared Day

    Roger said:
    April 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Great stuff as ever Robin.

    I contacted Protech today and mentioned your inspiring work. My
    E-P5 is now on its way to them for a 590nm conversion.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      April 14, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Roger. Do let me know what you think of the 590nm conversion. I would be very interested to hear although if we carry on in this direction we will end up with a conventional camera.

    Vanessa Counter said:
    June 11, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Hi Robin

    I thinking of converting my old em 5 to IR but I’m not sure of the post processing of raw images. Did you ever finish your book about this?

    Many thanks

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Vanessa,
      If you like IR then don’t worry about the processing and have the conversion done. I love my converted EM5 – the results are excellent.
      Processig is easier than people may have you believe unless you are wanting to add in effects such as halation where the whites seem to glow. I’m going to put together an example tutorial and post it on Lenscraft, hopefully in the next week.
      In terms of the book, I did finish the first draft but decided not to publish it. I wasn’t happy with the quality of the material. I want to improve the post processing techniques as the ones I was using at the time were too complicated for people to follow easily. It’s still my intention to develop something in this area but it will probably include video as well.
      And just to repeat myself – get the conversion done. It’s a great way to shoot landscapes in Summer when the sun is very harsh.

        Vanessa said:
        June 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm

        Thanks Robin, I’ll look out for that

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