Thats a cool black and white photograph, how did you get it to look that way?



Thats a cool black and white photograph, how did you get it to look that way?

Infrared photography was developed during the First World War for reconnaissance purposes, It was not until the 1930’s that film manufactures began to produce it commercially.  The infrared light waves are longer than what the human eye can see, it falls in the 700nm to 1mm range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

It can be photographed in color as well as black and white, and from an artistic standpoint most photographers prefer the monochromatic version as the colors go really wild  and look otherworldly in not a very pleasing way.

The affect of white foliage and dark black skies help boost the contrast of the image and is part of the draw for some fine art photographers. There are some special considerations when creating an infrared image, on film or digitally.

One of the biggest issues when using black and white infrared film is that the emulsion of the film is extremely sensitive to touch. This means if you even lightly touch the emulsion before developing it you will leave a mark. While this film was manufactured in both 35mm and 4X5 sheet film, I only shot a few rolls of it before committing to only using the sheet film and typically upward of 6 to 10 sheets in order to get one negative worth printing.

It’s important to remember that the focal point of the infrared light is longer than visible light and therefore when shooting infrared you must compensate for that when focusing. And by using the larger format film meant you used a camera with no mirror and prism system so you stand a better chance of getting a sharp image.

Some lens manufacturers used to put the infrared focusing marks on some lenses, I’m not sure if that is still being done. Because we can’t see the infrared light and its wave is longer we have to try and guess how far back we need to focus the camera. Over time you get accustomed to just how far to adjust the focus for each lens.

With the introduction of the mirrorless cameras that can have their sensors modified, it has greatly increased ones chances of getting a nice clean image in relation to the film version. Because it is a digital image there is no possibility of leaving a mark, and with no prism for the light to travel through there is a higher probability of a sharp image.

Typically I prefer a partly cloudy day with contrasting blue sky for creating infrared images, I also prefer to have some nice green vegetation. I find the desert  to be a fascinating place to create infrared images.