Monday, April 26, 2010

Fun with Infrared Photography - Part III

Don River and Gardner Expressway -- IR Converted 20D & Pentax-M 20mm f4 @ f8. Larger Picture.

There are different flavours of infrared, depending on the cut-off frequency of the IR filter. Most common IR filter is the Hoya R72, which has a cut-off frequency of 720 nanometers (nm). Lots of people like this filter because the R72 allows some visible colours to get through the filter, thus gives the "False Colour" you see in some IR pictures.

The higher the cut-off frequency, the less visible light and the image will become more monochromatic. Anything above 800nm will be basically just black and white. Some like the monochromatic look, but I personally prefer false colours in IR. This was what attracted me to IR photography in the first place. Besides, you can always convert the picture to black & white if needed.

Lucky for me, the IR converted 20D I bought has an internal IR filter similar to R72. It allows small amount of colour through, especially the blue and deep red. As with everything in life, having too much of one thing will quickly make your bored. I have shot with the IR 20D for just a few days, and I am already having IR fatigue. IR pictures need high contrast scenes to look interesting, like blue skies and lots of trees and water. An IR picture of a building will not be very exciting, regardless how wonderful the lighting is. IR photography is like a fish-eye lens -- it's fun and interesting when used in moderation. This begs the question, should you convert your camera to a dedicated IR camera?

I would say no to expensive cameras, unless you have an obsession to IR. But if your Rebel 300D, 10D, 20D, etc, is collecting dust and hardly sees the light of day, it maybe a good idea to have it converted to be a dedicated IR camera. Just keep in mind that the conversion itself will cost more than what your camera is worth.

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