Black and White Photography - Vol. II

Dave Beckerman Photo Blog (New York Photography)

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New Purchase

29 July, 2008 (13:52) | 2 comments

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.


Towards 110th Street

28 July, 2008 (11:46) | 2 comments

towards-110th-ir1 Towards 110th Street

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97th & Park

24 July, 2008 (22:00) | No comments

97th-park-1966 97th & Park

“Let you path be strewn with golden petals…” - Aetherius, Greek Poet

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Path, Central Park

23 July, 2008 (22:04) | 4 comments

ir-walkway-cp-2 Path, Central Park

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Bethesda Passage - Infrared

22 July, 2008 (17:12) | 1 comment

ir-bethesda-passage-4 Bethesda Passage - Infrared

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Lake and San Remo Towers - IR

22 July, 2008 (09:58) | 6 comments

ir-san-remo-towers-1927 Lake and San Remo Towers - IR

Early morning - around 7 a.m.  I was trying to figure out what this reminded me of - and now I see - it feels like a prehistoric diorama.  It’s almost as if someone set out to do a model of the city and put it behind glass.

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Secret Garden - Digital Infrared

21 July, 2008 (09:22) | 6 comments

ir-secret-garden-1905 Secret Garden - Digital Infrared

40d / 20mm lens / 87 filter

Okay - so there is a secret in the Secret Garden: getting a custom white balance off grass or leaves of a tree, i.e. something green that gives off IR. btw, the 87 filter for the 20mm Canon lens wasn’t cheap. And for a while there I was thinking about returning it. Glad I didn’t. This is a pretty cool setup. I can use the 40D as a regular camera, and so long as I have a tripod and am willing to shoot at 2 seconds or so, I can do infrared with it. Not bad.

I happen to have a voigtlander 28/35 mm viewfinder, which I might just stick in the hotshoe and use with the 20mm lens on the cropped sensor.  That should work pretty well for framing.

One other note. Last year, as some of you might remember I had a flash converted so that it only emits infrared light. It was a lot of fun to work with. Now the only thing about this current system is that I can’t use that flash with the 40D - I would have to have the camera converted by LifePixel in order for the flash to emit enough light to work with. What I think I’m going to do - is wait for the 50D - and then if I have the money get the 40D converted, though I need to do some testing just to make sure that the flash (Vivitar) fires with the 40D. Some quick tests that I did were sort of iffy. I think it fired in most modes but not in manual mode. Anyway - that’s for later, maybe around Christmas.

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Infrared Walkabout

20 July, 2008 (14:58) | 1 comment

The weather cooled a bit today; there’s was even a dash of rain. I felt comfortable enough to take my first walkabout with the 640 IR and here are a few things I came up with:

Memorial on Steps

ir-memorial-2214 Infrared Walkabout

Cloud Vortex

cloud-vortex-2240 Infrared Walkabout

Approaching Storm

ir-approaching-storm-2250 Infrared Walkabout

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Blurred Tree, infrared

20 July, 2008 (10:52) | 4 comments

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

18 July, 2008 (16:16) | 2 comments

Okay - now I see what I was doing wrong. You’ve got to get the white balance set properly. I was using auto-white balance. This isn’t exactly right, but it’s pretty much straight out of the camera. I did a so-so custom balance off the sidewalk. I’ll look for my gray card later.

It also means that all my previous tests with the 40D were also done wrong. This was with the 87 filter and the A640. Now I need to test the other filter and camera properly by setting a custom white balance with the gray card while the filter is on. Not quite sure how that’s going to work out with the 40D since I can’t see anything through the viewfinder. Wonder whether live mode will be any better…

ir-diner-bw-2141 Diner - Infrared - Im Close


Basketball Hoop

17 July, 2008 (09:49) | 2 comments

ir-a640-basketball-2055 Basketball Hoop

Canon a640 with R72 filter. Schurz Park. These look promising. On a bright sunlit day, you can see what you’re shooting pretty well with the r72 filter in place (held in place with the lensmate or Canon’s filter holder) - and you can get a pretty good idea of what the effect will be, though it’s mostly purple looking. The one issue is that since the thing is blocking out so much visible light - almost all exposures for daylight are in the one second / f2.8 range. Still, as I say - not bad for a poor man’s IR.

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