Now I got it!

February 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

C. B. Smith Park Pembroke Pines, FL Feb 2016

CB Smith Park Pembroke Pines, FL
February 2016

I had somewhat of a breakthrough this week in my infrared photography.  It came about unexpectedly, as these things usually do, but it left me with an amount of knowledge in various infrared photography techniques that escaped me for a long, long time.  I'll get to what those techniques are in a minute.  

I was looking through Google+ as I frequently do (BTW, it's better than FB for enjoying others' photos), and was specifically looking for infrared photography, when I noticed a lack of these types of images in my feed.  I come to find out that the Google+ Community of which I was a longtime member, ceased to exist.  I looked everywhere, and couldn't find it.  And so I searched for another community to join, and in the process stumbled upon a Google+ collection by none other than Jason Odell, of the Image Doctors podcast fame.  In looking through his collection I saw that he shared a similar vision as I did in IR, albeit with better images than me.  And then I discovered that he had a link to a short video tutorial that he had put together in Infrared.  It turns out that inside his videos were specific discussions regarding the very techniques I was wanting to learn, or at least fine tune.  Now, I typically don't buy these kinds of things, especially with things like YouTube around, where you can literally find dozens of videos on every conceivable subject.  But in looking through the contents list of Jason's videos, there were the very specific techniques I needed.  So I plunked down the $20, and proceeded to absorb the entire presentation in one sitting.  It was excellent.

Now, those of you that have at least dabbled in color infrared photography know that accurate white balance is key to achieving the proper balance of colors in the final image.  Auto white balance can't cut it, as today's digital cameras simply aren't calibrated to adequately determine white balance.  Therefore it requires a precise manual setting using either gray cards, or, as I chose to invest in, an Expo Disc ($60).  Yeah, I'm serious about my IR.  Anyway, within Jason's videos was a very clear explanation of how to create a specific camera profile using Adobe's DNG Profile editor, so that it could be used in Lightroom or Camera Raw, to be able to adjust white balance in these applications.  I'd seen discussions on this before, including a free video that Jason had created (but he did leave out the small key details of specifically how to go about doing this).  But in any case, here it was.

And so I created the camera profile, installed in in Lightroom, and low and behold, had complete capability to tweak white balance as in normal color photography.  Now, Jason's videos went on the describe his techniques, including getting a 720nm IR look from the 590nm filter that I have inside my camera.  This is the other piece I was missing.  It's a look that can be slightly tweaked to give you an image with light pastel blue foliage, against a dark or black sky.  This is a look that I could never achieve.  It turns out that I haven't been able to go shoot specifically with this look in mind, but you can visit Don Ellis' kleptography site titled "Infrared Bali".  I think it's beautiful, and now this look will be within my reach.

To see more of my IR images simply click on the photo above to be taken to the gallery.  Not the greatest, but a vast improvement over my previous work.  Incidentally, the look you see above was achieved through the use of Lightroom, Photoshop, and the Nik collection of plugins.  Yes, infrared is fun, at least to me, but it does require a significant amount of post processing.  So if you want to dabble in it, first have a look at Jason's videos.  They'll get you started right away.


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