Infrared Photography Gives You a Fresh Start

I once received an e-mail from a reader asking “why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?” as Señor Wences once famously said, “Is easy for you, is difficult for me.”

Your eyes usually see a range of light from approximately 400 to 700 nanometers. . (A nanometer or nm is a metric unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter.) The typical sensor in a digital camera sees light in wavelengths from 350 to 1,000nm. Most digital cameras have a low pass filter placed directly in front of the sensor that allows low frequency light that’s visible to the human eye pass through to the sensor where it’s captured but blocks unwanted light from infrared and ultraviolet spectrums, preventing them from polluting a photograph’s color.


caption: Shot with an IR-converted Panasonic Lumix G6 and 12-32mm lens (at 12mm) with an exposure of 1/32o sec at f/11 and ISO 400.

If you have your camera modified for IR-only capture, the low pass filter is removed allowing all but instead of replacing it with a piece of optical glass a filter that only permits light of specific wavelengths to pass is installed. LifePixel offers several different filter options. For the image shown, it uses the Enhanced Filter that allows more color to pass and is especially suited for color IR photography with great saturation and color range. Black & White looks good too although with a bit less contrast without adjustments.

If you would like to experience some of the same thrill of discovery that occurred during the first phase of your photographic education, my suggestion is that you never stop exploring. Try some new things. Maybe it’s infrared photography but whatever you do try something that’s outside your normal comfort zone. Stop taking the same picture over and over again and try something new.

Tip: Try infrared by having an old camera that’s gathering dust converted to IR-only operation. You can save a few dollars when converting your camera to infrared at LifePixel by using the coupon code “farace.”

Author: Joe Farace

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