Learning More about Enhanced Infrared

“I have learned all kinds of things from my many mistakes. The one thing I never learn is to stop making them.” ― Joe Abercrombie


In my post “Setting White Balance for IR Photography” I suggested that you “Shoot in Monochrome mode. No white balance needed, after all, everything is right there on your LCD.” As I’ve gained more experience in working with a Panasonic Lumix G6 converted to infrared (by LifePixel) using an Enhanced IR filter I’ve had a change of heart. This filter is equivalent to 665nm filter and allows more color to pass through to the sensor and is especially suited for color IR photography with great saturation and color range.

Based on recent experience, I don’t think that’s the best way to shoot with this filter because it seems more sensitive to variations in exposure. Overexposed Enhanced IR images, as is the case of the above photograph of Mary at Bingham Lake, can still be used to produce a good black & white image, because as LifePixel themselves state, “BW also looks quite good although with a bit less contrast without adjustments.” But not so much for a color image.

LED.IRSince traditional histograms don’t work as well in infrared, shooting the Enhanced IR filter in RAW lets you see sky/foreground separation directly on the LCD screen or EVF for mirrorless shooters. If you have sufficient separation, as seen at left, you can  produce color the kind of infrared images shown in my tutorial “Creating the Blue Sky Infrared Technique.” The magenta-charged images on the LCD screen look like color negative film and may be a little harder to view but you can clearly see separation, if there is any. Obtaining proper exposure—bracketing may be required—with the Enhanced IR filter around the same lake lets you produce images like the below photograph.



My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out-of-print but copies are available from Amazon starting at $19.95, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies under $10 and used copies selling for $2.55 (plus shipping) one of the best book deals out their for what is my personal favorite book.

Author: Joe Farace

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