Tag Archives: infrared

Playing Catch Up

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The last several weeks have been a whirlwind and I have just now found time to update the blog. Our last post was about our annual star party at Spruce Knob. We followed that up with a Labor Day Weekend tour again in West Virginia. A number of our clients were concerned because heading into that weekend Hurricane Hermine was making her way up the east coast and rain was predicted. We were optimistic that everything would be fine and we were treated to really nice conditions throughout the weekend.

The image above was shot at Seneca Rocks at noon. I used an infrared converted Nikon D200 and then to get the motion of the clouds, I used a Singh-Ray 15 stop neutral density filter. This allowed me to expose for 5 minutes under the bright mid-day sun. We recommend Life Pixel for camera conversions. Click this link for more information on LifePixel.

P.S.  Don’t forget to use our code to “ROADRUNNER10” to save 10% on Singh-Ray Filters!

 

 

 

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So Worth the Hike

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The view above is from Tibbet Knob in the George Washington National Forest, basically the sister hike to another favorite of mine, Big Schloss. Both hikes are pretty easy if you’re in good shape, but throw in hot and humid conditions and the hike is a little harder than I want to admit.

This past weekend, part of the reason for hiking was to get out with Rudy, our recently adopted Labrador. But even during the middle of the day I wanted to also make photography part of the reason for being there as well.

The panorama above is handheld and stitched in Photoshop. I shot it with a D200 converted to Infrared by LifePixel. Using the Infrared is a great choice when the conditions are too harsh for color photography.

Processing Infrared Images

Today I want to share one of the methods to transform an infrared image from a RAW file to various stages of a final image. The actual final image chosen is about preference and totally up to the photographer.

That is the reason I will show each stage of the process, as each result could have been my final image. Enjoy!

RAW image

I converted my camera to infrared through Lifepixel. The provide many conversion options, so you are likely to find one that suits your preferences. I chose Super Color, which provides the most flexibility and can easily achieve a blue sky.

 

Some cameras allow you to set a custom white balance. That is the case with my camera, so this is the “out of camera” result. For cameras which do not allow custom white balance settings, the image will start as fuchsia; which can still be processed to the final image you will see at the end of the blog.

The next step is to swap the RED and BLUE channels. To do this, open the “channel mixer” in Photoshop. Choose the RED channel from the drop down menu. You will see that the RED channel is set to 100% for RED and zero for GREEN and BLUE. Put a zero for the RED channel and 100% for the BLUE channel. Next select the BLUE channel from the drop down menu. You will see that the BLUE channel is set to 100% for BLUE and zero for GREEN and RED. Put a zero for the BLUE channel and 100% for the RED channel. Hit enter and you should see the following:

 

Since I have the Super Color conversion, my sky will go from “orange” to blue and the colors that represent “green” foliage turn a varying degrees of yellow.  This is image can be considered final and is often referred to as “false color.”

If you are working your way to Black and White infrared, you can continue to process the image. For me, the next step is to remove the Yellow cast. To do this, first flatten your image and then select Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Choose Yellow from the drop down menu. Then select the dropper+ icon and click on an area of the image that is yellow. I try to click on an area of deep yellow. Now, drag the saturation slide all the way to the left and you will see the yellow foliage turn grey/white. You may need to select additional areas depending on whether the white balance was accurate. If your white balance is off, you may find the “green” foliage is more of a rusty color, in which case you may need to desaturate red and yellow. Here was my resulting image:

 

Again, this image can be considered finished. You may get to this stage and want to add some contrast and “glow” to deepen the image. In this case, because I was moving towards black and white infrared, I did not process the image further at this point. I wanted to complete my transformation, then adjust contract and “glow.”

There are a number of ways to get to black and white infrared:

  1. Create a black and white adjustment layer in Photoshop.
  2. Create another Hue and Saturation layer and desaturate with RGB selected (a step that could have been done above).
  3. Use Macphun Tonality Pro (discount code: ROADRUNNER), TopazLabs B&W Effects (discount code: roadrunner), or OnOne Perfect B&W (contact us here for the discount code).
  4. Other software.

 

 

I also added a “glow” effect, typically associated with infrared images. I did this through an action I created. However, you could also achieve “glow” with various Photoshop plugins.

For those folks new to Infrared imagery, now is the time to convert that old camera body sitting on a shelf. If you wait until spring, any of the conversion companies will be busy and waits can be long, so act now! When spring returns and the leaves pop out all great and lush, you will be ready!

To see a demonstration of these techniques, click here for our video tutorial.

What do you do on a Road Trip?

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Recently I was invited to speak to the Charlotte Camera Club.   Whenever I travel with a camera I try to build in time to explore.  On both of my travel days I was able to explore some of the back roads near Charlotte.  I was not disappointed!  My discoveries included beautiful forests, old cars and, in the case of the image above, a beautiful fixer upper.   Truthfully this house is too far gone to restore but I could not help but marvel at the architecture.  The roof lines and the wraparound porch seem to suggest that at one time this was a beautiful house.

 

All the stops to take pictures added a few hours to my travel time, but the moments and the images made this a worthwhile endeavor.

Landyacht?

Landyacht is a term often associated the with large, American-made sedans built between the 1950s through the 1990s. However, when I look at the featured image… I think this is the ultimate definition of landyacht!

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I can just imagine how beautiful this schooner was back in the day. Today it is home to many plants and no doubt a number of small creatures.

Many thanks to Charles R. for sharing this treasure with us!

This image was shot with Sony NEX 5R, converted to infrared, Super Color, by Life Pixel. Camera setting: 18-55mm at 27mm, f/6.3, ISO 400, hand-held

If you are interested in infrared photography and have an older camera lying around the house, send it off and enter the amazing world of non-visable light! Click here to learn more about Life Pixel and the various ways to convert your camera!

July 4th Infrared

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe 4th of July! I am finally starting to sift through my images, but there was one that stuck in my mind from the moment it was conceived… an infrared of the monuments from Rosslyn with those AMAZING clouds!!! The weather did exactly as predicted by the weatherman, but before those beautiful white puffies disappeared, I thought…oooHHH, infrared. There are a lot of takes on infrared, from faux color throughout to the blue channel to pure black and white. For me, for that scene, I wanted to create the image I saw… beautiful white clouds, with striking blue sky. Hope you enjoy!

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