infrared

Infrared Simulation Using Nik

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Realistic Infrared simulation using the Nik Collection. Watch the video to find out how.
Realistic Infrared simulation using the Nik Collection. Watch the video to find out how.

I have seen many articles and videos over the years suggesting ways to create infrared simulations using regular colour photographs. Most of these fall short, possibly because the authors don’t appreciate the true characteristics of infrared. One example I read simply suggested using the channel mixer in Photoshop and using it to turn a blue sky black.

The best tool I have seen for simulating the effects of Infrared film a standard colour image is Alien Skin Exposure. This is also one of the tools I turn to when converting my digital infrared images as it allows me to simulate the halation effect often seen with Kodak HIE film. Unfortunately, as great a tool as Exposure is, it’s costly.

So how can we create a simulation using Nik plug-ins? Well, there is an Infrared film simulation in Nik Color Efex Pro but it’s not very convincing and doesn’t produce the halation effect. Nik Silver Efex Pro did once have an optional preset you could download from the Nik website but this has been removed. In any case, the preset wasn’t very believable.

This video features my simple solution based on combining a couple of filters in Nik Color Efex with a monochrome conversion in Silver Efex Pro. It’s quick to do and is quite effective.

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Friday Image No.115

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Silver Birch on Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 converted to shoot Infrared. Olympus 12-40mm lens, ISO 200, 1/320" at f/7.1.
Silver Birch on Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 converted to shoot Infrared. Olympus 12-40mm lens, ISO 200, 1/320″ at f/7.1.

It’s another tree in Infrared. Sometimes, when the light is right, shooting infrared becomes addictive. It’s hard, actually very hard to put the camera down. And so, it was when I visited the Lake District at the start of November. As a result, you will need to suffer more infrared images.

I do hope you like this one and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.114

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Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 Infrared + Olympus 12-40 lens. ISO100, 1/80" at f/7.1
Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 Infrared + Olympus 12-40 lens. ISO100, 1/80″ at f/7.1

This week I would like to share another infrared image. This was captured using an Olympus EM5 which I had converted to shoot Infrared. It was shot in the Lake District at a location called Place Fell and it’s the first time I have been thee. I intend to return in the future as I think there is a lot of material in the right conditions.

I’m not sure why but the day was far better than expected for Infrared. Everything just seemed to be glowing. The EM5 also makes a superb Infrared conversion. The image was then converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Infrared Processing

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Olympus EM5 converted to shoot Infrared. Post processing with Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro.
Olympus EM5 converted to shoot Infrared. Post processing with Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

A few people have written me recently asking about how to process Infrared images and how I go about processing mine. If you’re interested, I created a short tutorial and accompanying video which are posted on Lenscraft. These explain how the image above was processed.

Enjoy

Hidden Gems

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Boat study at Heswall Marina. Panasonic GX1 converted to Infrared. ISO160, 45mm lens, 1/50" at f/10.
Boat study at Heswall Marina. Panasonic GX1 converted to Infrared. ISO160, 45mm lens, 1/50″ at f/10.

Yesterday I finally decided to sell my Panasonic GX1 that’s been converted to shoot infrared. The cameras been sat in a bag since I had the EM5 converted and whilst I thought it would be a good backup, I need the money for a new project (more on that in the future).

Whilst advertising it on eBay I decided to look through my back catalogue for some example images to show what an Infrared conversion can do when processed. I can’t believe how many shots I really like and that I have overlooked. Again, this is an example of distancing yourself from the event of taking the image.

I don’t know why but I particularly like this cluttered shot of the boats at Heswall Marina on the Wirral.

Hope you like it as well.

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.