Photographs of New York ’cause that’s where I live

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Man on Rock (2)

6 September, 2008 (13:16)

man-on-rock-2977 Man on Rock (2)

Yes, I’ve redone this shot.  The man (who preaches, or at least used to) on Park Avenue everyday - usually waving a torn bible in your face - sits on the rock after a deluge and lets his clothes dry in the sun.

In my world, I continue down this narrow path of working in color and infrared and make some progress.  I want to try and take some of the techniques I’ve learned and apply them to “normal” color shots I’ve done.  I suppose this is a water-color sort of technique, where various tinted washes are daubed onto the paper.  Lines and tints, but at least for me, no visible brushstrokes.

To create this image, the workflow goes like this:

Start with the RAW file in Lightroom.  Make sure it is zeroed out, i.e. no sharpening, linear curve for tone, etc. and I use a recipe I created in Adobe DNG profiler which which takes the very red raw image and helps separate tones from it.  In general, the best I can do from infrared is come up with distinct tones, usually, red, blue, yellow, white, and black.  Sometimes a bit of green will come through. 

The file still has a red cast, but much less than before going through the profile.  Oh, the profile is set in the camera calibration of Lightroom.  It could also be used in Photoshop (at least the recent version).

- Then the raw file with the lightroom “corrections,” goes into Photoshop where blue and red channels are swapped in the channel mixer.  Nothing else is done to it in Photoshop.  Saved as a nice sort of dull 16-bit PSD Adobe RGB colorspace file.

- Lightroom II sees the changes immediately.  So to get to a nice place to start, I set the White Balance to Auto.  This immediately turns the image brownish with some yellow and blue areas.

- Lightroom: Auto Tone.  This brings me very close.

- Bits and pieces are then “painted” with the Lightroom brush (if anything large is going to be done than I would have to do it in Photoshop since the Lightroom brush is very slow).  It is especially bad when using the wacom pen.  With the mouse, the brush is fairly useable.

- And the final bit, in general is using the Split Toning in Lightroom to fine tune the overall tint of the highlights and shadows.

After that - you are into the usual Lightroom stuff, such as graduated filters, tone corrections, saturation, and stuff that you’d do to a normal image.

I’ll keep this post up for a while just to see if my workflow changes much.  If this turns out to be the way I work - I’ll post some intermediate images.

So there you have it - a sort of outline for going from raw infrared file to finished image.  However, I must say - that there have got to be other ways to process your infrared digital shot, but a few things that I do know:

- The channel mixing step is always needed because the infrared raw image is just about always going to have a pretty reddish tone to start with, i.e. the sky is going to be sort of brownish-yellow-red, and grass is going to be white.

- The infrared color temperature is going to be cut off at the low end of the blue spectrum (2000K), and that the DNG profiler helps get you back into a range where there is some “play” in the color temperature.

And of course there’s one other caveat - a big one - the output of this workflow could’ve been totally different.  Almost any element, i.e. the sky, the grass, the man — could’ve been a completely different color.  What this workflow does is giving me a starting point for the type of colors and saturation that I like for this image.  And as I look at it again - I still see bits and pieces that I’ll probably change…

Well, that’s what I almost know so far.  If you’ve got a different technique - I’d love to hear it - DB

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Comment from Stephen BRAY
Time: September 6, 2008, 3:46 pm

Hmmm, I wonder if you could try printing onto alternative stock. Sometimes I print digital colour onto watercolour paper, rather than photo paper, and get some interesting effects.

Maybe this approach may suit some of your IR images?


Comment from Dave Beckerman
Time: September 6, 2008, 3:47 pm

Stephen - great idea. I have a package of Hahnemuhle “FineArt” paper that’s been sitting here for about three years. Not water color paper, but dappled texture.

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