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Posts tagged ‘Infrared’

Introductions – The Dune Mouse

The Dune Mouse, or Cybele Moon, or the blog “There was a time” are all the same person. I haven’t known Cybele for long, well really only since I’ve been doing the Monochrome Madness Challenge, but she is someone that I feel I have struck a chord with, and it has been great getting to know her better.  There is something about the way she works that I am fascinated with, and the work talks to me.  I don’t know if I am making sense, but I am sure you will understand what I mean when you see her work.

niamhs-boat1If I had to pick one image that I thought summed up Cybele’s blog or work, this would be it.  It could have something to do with the moon in the image, or the way she has processed it, but I do love this image of hers. There is something about it, something I can’t quite put my finger on.

I asked Cybele why she takes photos.

Capturing a scene with a camera is like making time stand still. First Nations people thought that the camera was a stealer of their souls, and there is an element of truth in that. It is the possession of a moment in space/time that is gone forever.

The beautiful west coast rain forests are full of myth and stories from the first nations people. Where I live I am very at home in the woods, and old trees seem to predominate many of my photos. I like the challenges of photography, of learning new techniques and stepping out of my comfort zone.

In my own journey and excursions, I like to find the magic in what I am photographing. I like to create a mood and sometimes another world.

kadish-tolesaHere are some of those trees she was talking about.  I think it is great to be able to live in a place that gives you so much inspiration.  She lives in the city of Victoria in Canada, and I live in the state of Victoria in Australia, I knew there had to be a connection between us.

I asked Cybele about her inspiration.

As some of you may know I have a very active imagination. I enjoy writing stories. So another question I’ve been asked is which comes first, the photo or the words? I would have to say that it’s a bit of both. Definitely a visual scene can inspire a story in me. Like most people who photograph I am extremely visual. Words also create pictures and so the two complement each other. All my life I have loved the written word, but like Lewis Caroll’s Alice I prefer a book that has pictures.

I have to mention that I am also inspired by the many talented photographers on WordPress who have been so generous in their tips and advice.

the-island-on-the-lagoonWhen I was looking through her blog, “There was a time”, one of the things that really stood out for me was her use of colour, or rather the lack of colour.  There is colour, I probably shouldn’t have said that, but images are stripped down to the bare essential colours needed for her images. I really admire that and it is something I would like to work on more.

I know it seems a silly question, “is there anything special about the way you work”, but we all work very differently.

Probably like a lot of people, I like to work, ponder and photograph alone. I need to be totally focused or I get lost!! Sometimes I forget to bring things, so the less I have, the better it is for me. I’m good at improvising and a failure at organizing. Keep it simple is my motto!! For the added artistic touch I love working in photoshop ( Laura Macky told me I must get it). Previously I used the free source Gimp.

aylard-farmI did suspect as I was looking through her work that she may use infrared photography.  I do remember someone mentioning recently that Cybele did, though I wasn’t quite sure.  I do like that infrared style, if you can call it that, and I think it works wonderfully with her work.

The next question was about gear.

A backpack, a camera, a snack and good pair of sneakers!! (oh and a stick to ward off cougars in the park!! :) )

I use a canon rebel t4i. I have a few lenses, including an inexpensive zoom 55-250 which produces some bokeh in macro (I love!) and a Sigma landscape 10-20mm. I also have a dedicated Nikon Coolpix infrared, so I always carry the two cameras. I originally started out with a Canon Powershot which I took through the Yucatan and progressed from there. I want more lenses!!

As you can see, she does use Infrared.

stonehenge-to-the-starsShe has so many great photos on her blog, I didn’t get very far and I had so many photos already for this post.  She seems to live in a amazing part of the world.  I did ask her where she was.

The great cosmic intersect and the rest of the time Victoria on Vancouver Island in the beautiful province of British Columbia.

I know I already told you, but I loved the way she put it.

I would like to thank Cybele for allowing me to feature her blog, “There was a time”. here on my blog.  I would also like to invite you all to go and take a look at here blog, “There was a time”.  Visit you must, follow if you adore, which I know you will.  Here is a gallery with more images for you.



Up for Discussion – Infrared Photography

Last week for the Monochrome Madness Challenge I did an image and I added a infrared filter in post to it to give the impression of it being infrared. It was fairly obvious it wasn’t, but it was fun playing around with it. Infrared is something you do see from time to time, but not many of us have dedicated equipment for it.  I thought it might be good to get some information on how you can go about doing it, so I have asked fellow blogger, Infraredrobert to guest post and to tell you how he does his.

Infrared Photography by Robert

By revealing what is normally invisible to the human eye, infrared photography captures light in the near-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum by recording infrared reflections on either specially sensitized film or digital camera sensors.

It’s all Just Radiation: The Science Behind the Art

Before we get to the art of infrared (IR) photography, I need to speak briefly about the science behind it. As photographers, we are doing nothing more than capturing visible light radiation that is reflected off our subjects. Visible light is just a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that our unaided eyes can detect. The human eye can see light waves with frequencies between 390 to 700 nanometers (1 nm = 1 billionth of a meter). Infrared light lies just beyond what the human eye can detect, with frequencies between 750nm and 1mm. In the digital infrared photography discussed here, we will be imaging in the near-IR portion of the spectrum at wavelengths between 700nm to 1400nm.

The important thing to note here is that digital infrared photography captures reflected light radiation – not emitted radiation. Therefore, you cannot “see” in total darkness using near-infrared imaging.

Camera and Equipment

Digital camera sensors (CCD or CMOS) do nothing more than convert light into a digital value. Camera manufacturers have known for some time that these sensors can detect light outside the visible spectrum, so they provide a dichroic filter (hot mirror) over the sensor to exclude unwanted (IR) light. As camera technology has evolved, these hot mirrors have become better at excluding unwanted light from the sensor.

If you would like to try shooting digital infrared, you have two options: Find an older camera with a less efficient hot mirror (such as the Nikon CoolPix 950) and use a filter over the lens to exclude visible light (such as a Wratten 87 or Hoya RM-72); or convert a camera into a dedicated IR camera by replacing the hot mirror with one that passes only IR wavelengths. It is important to note that once a conversion is done, you can no longer take conventional images with the camera.

For my imaging, I have opted for the latter and use a converted Nikon D100. My camera was converted by lifepixel, but there are numerous companies worldwide that perform this service. My only recommendations are to use a reputable company, and do not attempt the conversion on your own.

Another important consideration is the lens you will use as some are better than others for IR imaging. From my own experience, my standard 18-55mm Nikkor yields the best results, while images from my much more expensive 12-24mm Nikkor are disappointing due to a lot of internal flare from the optical elements. Check around for online feedback for your particular lens to see if others have had any issues with them when shooting infrared.

How I Work

All my shots are taken in aperture priority mode using a three-frame bracket of +1, 0, -1 stops. Capture is done in RAW mode and brought into Photoshop through Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).

After picking the best image from my bracketed set in Adobe Bridge, I increase the Clarity to 75% in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) and then open in Photoshop (PS). The images will have low contrast and look very red as they are brought into the post-processing program.

Processing Steps

1. Channel Mixer: Working with adjustment layers in PS, I do a Channel Swap using the Channel Mixer. Set the Red channel to R=0 G=0 B= 100; set the Blue Channel at R=100 G=0 B=0.


2. Levels adjustment: Sometimes “auto” works, but be aware that this will affect color balance as well, so use with caution. Most images need both a boost the mid-tones and in the contrast.


3. B&W or Color: At this point, you need to decide if you want to have the image retain color, or go as monochrome. When converting to monochrome, I always use the Convert to Black and White adjustment rather than simply converting to grayscale. By choosing the B&W adjustment option, you can further manipulate the contrast by using the color conversion sliders.


4. Tone: The Toning option is done through the Photo Filter adjustment. My particular favorites are Sepia (Warming) and 80A (Cooling). I rarely go much more than 15% with either.


5. Brightness Contrast/Curves: Use either or both to get you to where you want to be in the image.


6. Finalize: Flatten the layers and Smart Sharpen (Amt. 133, Radius 1.5).

Of course, any of these steps can be used with layer masks, blend modes and other elements to bring out what you want in the final image.

On a Personal Note

I am particularly fond of shooting man-made objects juxtaposed with natural elements. In post-processing, the clouds and sky are often a surprise as formations are usually invisible to my eye when framing the shot. Regardless of your subject matter, infrared photography allows you to truly see your world in a different light.

A special thank you to Leanne for allowing me to discuss this topic here as well as hosting all her very informative posts. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at:


Robert’s sites: (IR images only) (IR and Conventional imaging) (Book sample site)


IR lens comparison chart:

Thank you

Back to me, I would just like to thank Robert for writing this for us and I hope you learned a lot more about infrared photography.  The results are always stunning.  He has sent me some more image for you to look at as well, so I will included the ones above as well, and the extra wonderful images.

Introductions – Infraredrobert

Robert , from infraredrobert  hasn’t been blogging for a long time, well, he has since March this year, but I thought today I would show you some of the work that I really admire that he does.  I have been following him for quite some time, and he does some unusual work, in that it is work that we don’t often see here on WordPress.

When you look at his infrared images it feels like you are being given glimpses of another world, though our world, just shown in a slightly different way.

willoby_0688_comboabflt_loThere is a wintery feel to them, which is perhaps why I like them so much, yet, you can also see that it isn’t winter.  Infrared gives such amazing results.  I did buy some infrared film a long time ago to try, I like to give anything photographic a try, but I couldn’t process it.  I remember that it had to be done in a special way, and so I never did it.  Now to do it properly, or with a digital camera you have to convert your camera just for it.  Which is an appealing idea, I do a spare camera now, but not really sure about that option just yet.

As always I asked Robert why he takes photos.

As much as I would like to be profound, the easy answer is because it is a habit. I have been shooting photographs for more than forty years and what began as a grade-school hobby has evolved into a passion for capturing the world as I see it. Luckily, I still get a large measure of satisfaction out of the entire photographic process – which provides the impetus for me to keep shooting.

seaviewhall_9627There is a kind of deadness to the images, the white trees, being like ghosts and the abandoned buildings left where they are.  I think the buildings are abandoned, which is another thing that Robert likes to photograph.

The next question was about inspiration.

Photography is magic and I am still fascinated by the process of compressing time and space into a two-dimensional image. I look at each scene as a puzzle – a problem of how to render the world and when everything works it is wonderful – which inspires me to keep shooting and refining both my craft and techniques.

eva_0001_flt_loAs I just said he photographs abandoned buildings as well.  I haven’t included many in this post, but you really should go and look at his blog, there are so many fantastic images of these buildings.  So haunting.  I have to admit, I just love the infrared work so much and wanted to really highlight here.

The third question was about how he worked.

With my digital work, I always capture RAW files and bring these into Adobe Photoshop v5. Sometimes images need very little processing – other times I have a stack of adjustment layers – the image usually lets me know what it needs.

Digital infrared always needs at least a channel swap and levels adjustment. In addition, most of my B&W shots have a subtle sepia photo filter applied.

With B&W film, I do a lot of testing to get the best ISO and development combination – I’m a big fan of using a 1% Kodak bath during development, which gives me a nice, long tonal range on the negative.

naugrr_coach_8832It was so hard not to put all of the images on here, I am having a hard time now working out which ones I like the most.  They are so different and there aren’t a lot of people shooting infrared, so it is wonderful to see some great examples of this work.

I also asked Robert about the gear he uses.

I am a long-time Nikon user – bodies and lenses. Currently I have a converted D100 for my infrared work and a D80 as my main digital.

When I’m in a film shooting mood, I have a Speed Graphic, Hasselblad 501c, Nikon N8008, Nikon FM and a Zero Image Pinhole at my disposal – in my darkroom I use a Zone VI cold light VC enlarger with Nikkor and Schneider optics.

Always good to find another Nikon user.

He does do other work, though the infrared and the abandoned buildings seem to be what he does the most, but you do find some landscapes, and some other things that are abandoned, I’ve included a couple for the gallery.  So please, I hope you go and take a look at Robert’s work on his blog infraredrobert and I would like to thank Robert for giving me permission to highlight some of his work.

Infrared on Different Trees

With summer being here, I remembered the trees I did last month when I attempted to make them look like they were done with infrared film, and wondered what that effect would be like if I did on some trees that have lots of leaves.

Stay on the PathThis is another photo from my scouting trip to Heide.  I thought I would try it in a couple of different ways.  Here is the image, done as a 3 image HDR processed in Photomatix Pro then it is processed in camera raw in Photoshop CS6.

Stay on the Path in Black and WhiteThis is the same image, but has been converted to black and white.

Stay on the Path in InfraredI tried this one using the Channel Mixer and converting it to Infrared.  I am fairly certain that infrared film might have done similar.  Though, I don’t know, I have never used infrared film.  I tried to do the inverted layers, but they didn’t work with this image, which is interesting, compared with what I did to Jim’s images.  Just goes to show you can’t always follow a formula and sometimes you have to be prepared to change what you are doing.

Strolling Around in InfraredHere is the photo from Sunday, I thought I would try it as infrared as well.  It was popular in colour, I wonder what you think of it like this.

Quick post today, your reactions and comments to yesterdays post has been really good.  Copyright is something we should all be concerned about.  I might have to do some more posts on it at some stage.

On another note, for anyone who was looking for the screencast of the tutorial I did a couple of days ago, well I did do it, but for some reason when I put it on my blog the quality was so bad that it isn’t worth looking.  I don’t know what WP has done, but the technicians are supposed to be looking into it and finding out what is going on.

Doing Some Trees in Infrared – Tutorial

Over the weekend I received a request from Jim.  He wanted to know if I could help him with a couple of images.  He had taken some of lots of birds in tree tops. He was thinking black and white, and maybe infrared.  I have never does this before, but I was up for a challenge.  I had an idea of what I could do, looked up some tutorials, but in the end did it my own way.

tute1I started by opening the image up in Camera Raw, I like the different changes you can make in there.

tute2Hopefully you can see the changes I made there.  I have lightened it up a lot, and I tried to lighten the shadows as much as possible.

tute3The image was opened in the Photoshop CS6 and saved, image 1.

tute4The next step was to click on the Invert Adjustment Layer, it will do this to the image.  This was saved as well, image 2.

tute5Both versions were opened, then image 2 was selected, copied (Ctrl A, Ctrl C) and then pasted (Ctrl V) on top of the image 1.

tute6The image was blended with Multiply, that is just above the layers there on the right.  I also reduced the opacity of the inverted layer, but not by much.

tute7A Levels adjustment layer was opened and the image lightened a bit.  The only problem was the tree ended up too light.

tute8To correct this, a Curves Adjustment Layer was opened, and I darkened the tree, and lightened the sky, look at the curve, I have put arrows where I adjusted it.

tute9I then clicked on the Channel Mixer Layer, there I ticked the Monochrome box, and selected the Black & White Infrared in the pull down menu that has Custom written on it.

I have put some red dots on the image because I wasn’t completely happy with how those areas were.

tute10I used the Content Aware tool to make those areas better.  It took a few attempts.

The Trees - 1I also added a little gradient to the edges.  I am not sure if this is totally what Jim wanted, but it is hard sometimes trying to interpret what someone else wants.

I did another one as well.

The Trees - 2This one came out much better, and I like the atmosphere of it.  I hope you like it too Jim.

It was an interesting process.  I learned some new things about Photoshop, which is always a bonus.  I have had a request for a tutorial on Gradients, so I might incorporate that into next weeks tutorial.


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