Black and White Photography - Vol. II

Dave Beckerman Photo Blog (New York Photography)

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Blurred Tree, infrared

20 July, 2008 (10:52)

ir-blurred-tree-2200 Blurred Tree, infrared

It’s just too hot for me to really get very far from my house, but I’m also getting past the experimental stage with the digital IR. I can’t use the 40D - I see that dispite my tests with various filters, I can’t get past the fact that you can’t see what you’re shooting and how it’s going to look with the 40D. If you want that you need to use LifePixel or some similar service.

On the other hand, the A640 is very useful, though the exposures are often long if you aren’t in direct sunlight. This was a 10 second exposure, hence the sky moves, the tree waves, and frankly, even the buildings seem to be moving. In summary - as I hope the weather gets cooler and I get a chance to do more than experimental tests - what I’m doing is this:

- 87 filter on tube (or whatever the thing is called) on the A640

- with filter on - set a custom white balance. Do it off of something white, rather than gray. If you do this correctly, you should basically see a b&w image in the lcd.

- I’m shooting at asa 100. The jpgs get a bit iffy at 200 for my taste.

- Manual shooting mode. You can see the exposure as you work on the LCD. You can also see approximately how images are going to look. i.e. some trees are going to be white, others don’t register at all.

- Since the exposures are long, I’ve been using the self-timer (2 secs.) since the thing doesn’t have a cable release.

- Into Lightroom, pretty simple. Most of the presets work well. You can give it the high-contrast b&w preset, and work from there.

That’s it. Sometimes the results have a certain pinhole camera look as the lens does have issues at the corners and since the exposures are long - generally at least 1 second - there is going to be movement in the trees and sky.

In a way, it is the opposite of shooting with IR film. IR film - you are always being so careful since everything seems to hit it. Load it in a dark bag. Keep it away from light sources. On the other hand, with this kludged sort of system - you’ve got to set the thing to a second or more to get results.

So - if you want to have some fun - try sticking an 87 filter on your DSLR and doing a custom white balance off a gray card. Okay, there are better ways - i.e. setting the color temp. manually. But it was funny to shoot and evaluate something that I couldn’t see.

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« Diner - Infrared - I’m Close

 Infrared Walkabout »


Comment from Chris Klug
Time: July 20, 2008, 7:00 pm

Okay, maybe I’ve missed a step. You say that you don’t like working with the 40D ’cause you can’t see through the finder when the filter is on. Why can’t you put the camera on a tripod, frame, put the filter on, then shoot? Like as if you were shooting with the mirror up? I thought of this today when I was out shooting landscapes with my Mamiya and I would do pretty much exactly that. Is the metering the issue?

Comment from dave
Time: July 20, 2008, 7:19 pm

Chris. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. And it’s okay; but the difference is that with the A640, for whatever reason, you can see the effect you’re going to get before / while you shoot. With the 40D you have to setup, do the filter swap thing; and then see what you’ve got. Though you just gave me an idea. I could use the 640 as a scouting tool. In other words walk around seeing what stuff is going to look like with that; find what looks interesting and then setup with the 40D. Hmmm. As far as metering goes, you can’t meter through with the 40D and the filter on; and of course it doesn’t make sense to meter with the filter off. I don’t know why. On the other hand, you can easily meter with the A640 and the filter on and exposures are dead on.

I also read something else today - but haven’t had a chance to try it. With the IR filter on, do your custom balance off something green - grass, foiliage etc., not gray or white. Then you can swap red / blue channels and end up with a blue dark sky etc.

Comment from Elliot
Time: July 20, 2008, 9:10 pm

Take a look at this Nikonians specialty forum. Aside from the brand-specific discussions you might find something useful here.

Comment from Chris Klug
Time: July 21, 2008, 2:18 am

Okay, thanks, interesting about the A640, I wouldn’t have thought you would be able to get any kind of idea what the image would be like, but I haven’t shot any digital IR, only film.

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