A few years ago when I followed a Canon forum, I learned of Infrared Photography. The surreal photographs that come out are just other-worldly. There are a couple of ways to accomplish it - you can buy a special filter for your lens, or you can modify your camera.
Last year, while attending Kevin (K1) Pepper's loon retreat, Kevin produced his own modified Nikon to take an infrared shot. We talked about it, and his process of having a camera modified and from there, I knew I wanted to do it.
I researched a company called Life Pixel who perform these conversions. From their California office, they will take most any DSLR (and others as well) and will remove the IR blocker that is in every camera, and will fit a filter of your choice in it's place. In a matter of a few weeks (and many hundreds of dollars), my camera was back and ready to shoot!
(After publishing these shots below, I've had about half a dozen emails asking about infrared, so this post will cover those questions, and maybe a couple more)
Infrared photography isn't without it's own learning curve and challenges though. "Out of the box", your photos will be mostly red. This is because before you shoot, you must set a custom white balance to shift your colours away from full red to something more real.
Once you learn this, you may discover another challenge - some lenses simply don't work with infrared photography and the result is what you see above - a bright circle in the middle of the image. It took me 4 lenses to discover one which did not suffer from this problem.
One thing I am liking about infrared is that it opens the door for editing that I would never otherwise do. Straight out of the camera, the images inspire another creative side. One thing that is important though is sunlight and clouds. On a pure cloudy day, skies are dull and boring. Blue skies are just as dull though - if there is no contrast from sky to cloud, the sky is a missing link.
A typical way to edit these shots is to switch the reds with the blues which will return the sky to a blue colour and make the trees more of a reddish colour. Sometimes though I think I prefer this effect straight out of the camera. The winter trees look truer and everything else has a more sepia look. It still retains that infrared surreal look that I like, but once spring comes and the leaves appear, I'll see how things look.
And with that, here is a shot with the reds and blue colours swapped and adjusted. Left alone, the shot was very eerie - almost post-apocalyptic to me. I'll post the original shot below.
I'm honestly not sure which way I prefer the shot, but that's the joy of shooting digital rather than film. The options are endless.
If you found this interesting, or you know others that may be interested in Infrared photography, please share this blog and I'd be happy to answer any questions.