Infrared Saves the Day (Again)

Even though I’ve had an Infrared converted D70 for over a year (converted for me by LifePixel, who I highly recommend) but I am still amazed by how differently some scenes appear in Infrared. In particular, the worse the light often the better the IR. This morning once again my IR camera saved a portion of my shoot…

I was photographing a local vineyard and the light started out just gorgeous. Soft and shining from the sunrise. But as the ground warmed up the fog and clouds appeared. Soon the light was a cool, darkish gray with the sudden well enough hidden that staring straight at it didn’t even cause any discomfort. Before LifePixel worked over my D70 I would have either looked for some muted macro shot or just spent some time scouting rather than shooting.

Pl_PV-Vineyard_0213c-1 

But I remembered my own rule about switching to IR just when the light is worst. Even though the spring grapes were a dull green in the muted light—nearly matching the leaves on the large tree where I was working—the Infrared filter showed them as a dramatic white contrasting nicely with the dirt and the road.

Even the sky which appeared a muted and dirty white to the naked eye began to pop under Infrared. I was able to take this photograph with a quick click of the shutter. Once into Photoshop it didn’t need any processing at all other than a quick conversion to true Black and White using my IR preset for SilverEfex Pro.

Of course a key to making the image work is to visualize the result (or at least to review how it looks in the LCD and adjust accordingly). In this case I was excited by the converging angled lines of the road and the rows of the vineyard leading directly to the thicket of trees and was hopeful that Infrared would help make them stand out—which it did.

If you have an old camera body you’re thinking of selling for a pittance, do yourself a favor and send it to LifePixel for a quick Infrared conversion and you’ll extend your quality shooting time tremendously and get a lot of unique images you won’t be able to get any other way.—David


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