Friday, 12 September 2014

Infra-red with a Nikon D90

So I took the plunge and invested in a modded Infra-red camera.
Shortly after selling my old Nikon D90 I've gone and bought another one of the familiar old friends with the aforementioned Infra-red modification made to it.

In case you are unaware of what the infra-red modification is that can be made to a DLSR camera I am now going to summarise my understanding of it... which may or may-certainly be wrong.

Essentially the modification allows your camera to capture a different spectrum of light that is normally filtered out. DSLR sensors themselves actually capture far more information than the human eye can see, as a result, these sensors have to be filtered somewhat so that what you capture with your camera is what you'd expect to see.

If you remove/replace that filter with something that allows or restricts the sensor to only the spectrums of light we don't normally see you can get some interesting results where the brightness of an object in a photograph can be impacted by the materials it's made of as opposed to the illumination and colour of it.
 For example, with the infra-red spectrum greens end up appearing quite bright next to a sky where, to the human eye, the greens would be darker or quite similar to the shade of the blue that is in the sky.

For example...
This shot was taken from around the bay near my workplace.

Notice how the sky looks quite dark. This was otherwise a bright blue sky shot on a mid-summers day. Similarly the water is darker.
Compare that to the tree/bush foliage that surrounds the bay, almost as bright a white as the clouds.

I'm pretty sure that doesn't explain it terribly well so here's a link to a wikipedia article but I think the images demonstrate the point.

This flower is a bright yellow dandelion flower.

These berries are a very bright red!
As an example of colour being less relevant than material this example shot of a cyclist shows a man wearing black trousers and a black backpack.

A lot of infrared photography tends to make much more sense in pure black and white but when trying to retain some of the colour, it all comes down to the choice of white balance  during post-processing
I'm still experimenting with my creative choices in this area so you might notice a slight variation between images as seen below.

Finally, my preferred shot from my first experimental run. 
Could be better, of a more interesting subject even, but it shows all the potential I was hoping for in the camera/technique, expect to see more IR photography from me in the future..