Black and White Photography Blog

Mostly black and white photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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New Purchase

29 July, 2008 (13:52)

Well - I just bought a Digital Rebel XT online (I won’t say how much because someone always tells me that I could have gotten it cheaper at so-and-so; okay $375 new body) but the purpose is just to get it converted at LifePixel. You knew that was going to happen at some point. I’ll then be able to do hand-held IR.

My only question - is which filter to have them put in - I can go with the b&w only filter (87) or the standard color one which has a lower visible light threshold. That can than be converted to b&w with I guess similar results with tweaking, though I’m not sure about that. I’m probably going to bite the bullet and go with the 87 b&w filter.

If I can get the whole rig in time - then I’ll go up in the balloon with it.


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Comment from Joel
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:10 pm

I have been lurking around your site for a bit. I think you are allergic to color : ). Go for the deep black conversion.

I am interested in doing IR. I will be using an IR filter though because a conversion is way out of my range. What kind of filter do you use? I am thinking of getting the Hoya or Opteka R-72 filter on an XTI.

Comment from Dave Beckerman
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:24 pm

I’m using an 87 filter which is b&w. Don’t really think it matters what brand. And yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll go for the deep black.

Comment from Steve V.
Time: July 30, 2008, 6:21 am

Hi Dave, love your NYC photos - especially, I must confess, the ones that you probably consider most ‘postcardy’ - and I was wondering whether you could comment on artistic growth vs. sales incentive when deciding what and how to photograph.

Specifically, I’m curious about your interest in IR photography and the seeming (and I could be wrong!) *relative* non-interest in this style from non-photographer visitors to your site. It seems that most of the comments you get when you post IR images are from other photographers who have (or want to have) experience with IR, and less often from viewers who are writing to affirm its use with a “Great photo, Dave!”

Again, I may be mistaken and perhaps the IR stuff is quite popular with buyers - and even if it’s not, I would never want to discourage artistic adventurism - but I’m curious in general about finding the balance between photos you take “for yourself” vs. photos you take “for buyers.” If you’ve addressed this before, please point me there…

Great site with great photos; please keep it up!

Comment from Dave Beckerman
Time: July 30, 2008, 6:59 am

Great question. I only take photographs for myself. I never go out and say, oh here’s something that will really sell. Last summer I began to experiment with infrared film. I can never pin down the reason that I might move from one look to another look other than just general curiosity, boredom etc.

At the time, the first reactions in the blog to that infrared were generally sort of negative. Why are you doing this? I’m not a fan of infrared. Etc. Etc.

Frankly, I don’t care that much - maybe not at all what the reactions are in the blog. The blog is almost entirely viewed by photographers and they are - for the most part - not buying prints.

During that summer I was very excited with what I was doing - and turned out about ten prints that eventually ended up in the galleries for sale. Those prints have sold very well. Again - not my intention to take sellable pictures, but I have a pictorialist style - no matter what I shoot - and that tends to be much more popular than straight street shots.

Oh - and most of the people who buy the infrared shots from the gallery don’t even know what infrared is. They just like the image. This includes a bunch of art buyers, designers etc. who have ordered large infrared prints for hotels etc. and asked me why they looked the way they did.

In short - sometimes the follow your own nose - just shoot for yourself works. And sometimes, things that I do for myself I realize are not going to be sellable so I just don’t put them in the galleries. Someday they may wind up in a book or calendar but not on a wall.

My most popular print (POets Walk) has probably sold about $50K of prints since 1993-4 when I took it. I thought at first it was too postcardy - and have to admit that a friend convinced me to show it. So that shows what I know :)

Good question — Dave

Comment from Dennis Ward
Time: July 30, 2008, 8:28 am

Hi Dave, I think you should go the deep BW filter since it’s close to the 87 you’re already using. Black and white is undeniably your thing! My D1x has the standard IR filter equal to an R72 but with hindsight the deep filter may have been a better choice.
Don’t forget to ship your favorite lens with the camera so they can calibrate the autofocus for IR.

Comment from Eric
Time: July 30, 2008, 7:16 pm


When you use the 87 filter, approximately how long are your exposures and what aperture are you typically using?


Comment from Dave Beckerman
Time: July 30, 2008, 8:02 pm

With an uncoverted 40D, in bright sunlight - 10 seconds (sometimes more) / f2.8 / ASA 800. In other words - long exposures. In other words: tripod, cable-release, mirror lock-up.

In shade I might have to go to 20 seconds / f2.8 / ASA 1600. It isn’t a very practical way of doing digital IR.

The 72 filter lets in much more light. Say 2 seconds @f2.8 in full sunlight / ASA 400.

Another issue is that since I’m shooting at f2.8, I don’t have the type of focal leeway that I had when I was shooting film and could shoot at a decent f-stop to compensate for the IR focal shift.

Comment from Stephen BRAY
Time: July 31, 2008, 5:13 am

Are we to assume that you’ll be replacing all that scarce IR film in your freezer with ice cream ;-)


Comment from Dave Beckerman
Time: July 31, 2008, 8:51 am

It’s possible that I have two-year Attention Artist Deficit (AAD)

So true. I have 20 rolls of HIE bought from B&H on 11/6/2007 in an unopened box. If anyone is interested and wants me to check the expiration date - then let me know and I’ll crack the seal. A couple of photographer friends are riding me because I don’t want to shoot the HIE and have gone in the digital IR direction. Well, they can pick up the HIE at cost if they want.

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