Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Playing with Infrared Photography...

Heard a lot about IR photography but never had the chance to play as the filters are expensive and not easily available. A few months back I came across with a few sellers in Hong Kong who offers really good price for different kind of filters. So I decided to give it a go..

IR photography can be done in 2 ways. You can either modify your DSLR or use a filter. If you modify your DSLR, you can use normal shutter speed to take IR photos. But the con is, your camera sensor will never be able to take normal pictures again. Obviously, I was not eager to screw my 5DMKII, hence placed an order for an 720nm NIR filter. No, its not a HOYA RM72. That bloody thing costs like USD170!!!! The one I ordered is manufactured by BONDS Camera and costs only USD23...

After two long weeks, the filter finally reached my mail box... Ahhhhhh....

I wanted to use it with my Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L which has a 77mm thread. Since the filter is a bit thick, I could see some vignette around the corner.

Anyway, screwing on the filter I rushed to take some shots. And when I looked into the preview pics, I got very disappointed.

They looked something like this..
Infrared Photography, a failed attempt.. :(

I knew IR will make the green trees look white and sky would turn dark. The picture above, was no way near to the desired effect. So I got suspicious. I turned on the LIVE VIEW mode on 5DMKII and used a TV remote to beam into the lens. I knew, all DSLR sensors can see IR light, but the good ones strongly reduce the intake so that colors remain natural. In 5DMKII, the beam looked very very deemed. That means 5DMKII has a strong protection against IR. To confirm this, I did the same test with Canon S2IS. Voilla!! the beam looked significantly brighter.

So I tried shooting again. This time with my S2IS..

Here's the picture without IR filter
Playing with Infrared Photography (Normal Picture)
Settings: F/4, 1/800 Sec, ISO 50

Here's the picture with IR filter
Playing with Infrared Photography (WIth IR Filter)
Settings: F/4, 5 sec, ISO 50

But you will not get that kind of image with IR filter right away. You have to go to Photoshop and need to do channel mixing.
[See this video on channel mixing:]

Once channel mixing is done, you will end up with a dreamy image. Since IR is not like visible light, the shadows and reflections are different. Trees become white, Sky becomes darker.. This kind of effects are hard to manipulate in Photoshop as a different kind of optics is in play here.

I am pretty excited with the thing and think you guys will find it interesting as well..

If you want to buy the filter, go to this link

And those who want to read more, try the link below:

Happy Clicking!!