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Infrared (IR) basics for digital photographerscapturing the unseen Digital cameras make it easy to explore a world of invisible

light just beyond red. In this topic...

Why Infrared?
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Extra-Sensory Perception A Fresh View Within Easy Reach The Digital Advantage Sidebar: Jay Scott's Excellent IR Adventures Near, Not Far IR That IR Look Can Your Camera Handle IR? What Makes a Good IR Camera? Internal IR Cut Filters Honey, Where's The Remote? IR-Sensitive Cameras Less Sensitive Cameras First, Some Filter Terminology NIR Transmission Spectra For Several Common IR Filters The Ever-Popular Hoya R72 The Wratten 87 and 87c The Wratten 88a What Do IR Filter Numbers Mean, Anyway? The Short Version Apply Liberally Know Your Sources Sidebar: Black Body Radiation Exposure And Camera Support Supplemental Filters Recording: Color vs. Grayscale Focusing

IR Performance in Digital Cameras

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IR Filter Choices
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Basic IR Techniques
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Whence the Digital IR Look? Source Spectra o Relative NIR Reflectivities o Camera Variables o False Colors and Monochromes

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Sidebar: Forbidden Absorptions R72 False Colors Wratten 87 Grays Wratten 87c Blues White Balance Caught Blue-Handed The Real Skinny?

IR Contaminationthe Other Side of the IR Coin If You Need Something To Worry About, Find Something Else o What Would IR Contamination Look Like? o Hot Mirror Filters A Cure Worse Than The Disease o The Heliopan 8125 "Digital" IR/UV-Cut Filter

References and Links IR Galleries o IR Information o Suppliers


See also the IR/UV Checklist Last updated October 22, 2009

Why Infrared? Conventional visible light photography is challenging enough. Why bother with infrared? Because it opens up an otherwise unseen corner of the world one of serene beauty and never-ending surprise. Digital cameras make this peek around the red end of the visible spectrum easier than ever before. On this page...

Extra-Sensory Perception A Fresh View Within Easy Reach The Digital Advantage Sidebar: Jay Scott's Excellent IR Adventures Near, Not Far IR That IR Look

Topic Index Last updated October 22, 2009

Extra-Sensory Perception

Our senses strongly shape our understanding of the world, as every photographer well knows, but they sample only small slices of the reality around us. What might we learn and think and feel if we could hear beyond 20-20,000 Hz, as our dogs do, or see beyond the narrow visible light band at 400-700 nm? Curiosity about the world beyond natural perception motivated some of our greatest inventions and scientific advances. Since the 17th century days of Galileo and Leeuvenhoek, telescopes and microscopes working with visible light have extended the reach of human vision to ever larger and smaller scales today by many, many orders of magnitude. To say that these instruments have revolutionized all of science and much of Western philosophy and even religion in the process would not overstate the case.

Denver's Washington Park and the Rockies beyond

In the last 2 centuries, visual observation escaped not only the human scale but also the visible spectrum that narrow band of electromagnetic (EM) radiation where the solar power spectrum and the sensitivity of the human eye both peak. (Certainly no coincidence there.) Cameras and films sensitive to infrared and ultraviolet light gave us our first glimpses of a world awash in invisible light. Imaging devices based on more exotic forms of light (X-rays, radio waves, etc.) soon followed and continue to proliferate. Today, as ever more sophisticated observing devices open up new segments of the EM spectrum to our view and analysis, astronomers and cosmologists find it necessary to revise their understandings of the cosmos and even of our own solar system on an almost continuous basis. And along with these views of the world beyond the senses have come many scenes of unimaginable beauty. Any image at Hubble Space Telescope Images by Subject or in the W. M. Keck Observatory gallery will attest to that.

Out-of-spectrum experiences have generally been beyond the reach of the average photographer, but today's silicon-based consumer-grade digital cameras make it easy to explore the strange and serene corner of the invisible world found just beyond visible red in the near infrared (NIR) band of the EM spectrum at 700-1200 nm (0.7-1.2) wavelengths. Throughout this article, the terms infrared, IR, near IR and NIR will refer to the 700-1200 nm band of interest to digital photographers unless otherwise noted. Saturn's moon Titan at 0.8-5.1 microns (near to far IR) as captured by Cassin on 10/26/2004 from an altitude of ~450,000 kilometers (280,000 miles).

To this day, the NIR remains one of the most useful extra-visible bands in the EM spectrum. Aerial photographers have long relied on NIR imagery to capture the landscape with the greatest possible clarity over a wide range of atmospheric conditions including some quite unsuitable for Twin Keck telescopes visible light photography. For much the same reasons, atop Mauna Kea

the world-class Keck telescopes atop Mauna Kea (right) spend much of their precious observing time with sophisticated digital NIR detectors mounted. Abundant interstellar NIR radiation conveniently passes through dust, gas and our own atmosphere to allow glimpses into otherwise hopelessly obscured regions like the Milky Way's galactic center. At left is one of humankind's first-ever looks at the surface of Titan, one of Jupiter's four large Gallilean moons. The 0.8-5.1 micron infrared wavelengths were chosen specifically for the Cassini flyby in order to cut through the haze that completely obscured the surface to the Galileo flyby a decade earlier. Titan is in many ways a frozen version of Earth. Page Index | Topic Index

A Fresh View Within Easy Reach The world as seen in the NIR is at once familiar and strange. The vastly different tonalities in the sunlit images at right show how widely the spectral properties of common natural objects differ in the adjoining visible and NIR bands. Manmade objects are full of surprises as well. (For some cheap fun, walk around the house with an IR filter mounted on your digital camera and examine all your stuff through the LCD. You'll hardly recognize some of it.) We'll explore some of the physical phenomena behind these differences below. NIR reflectance patterns

Visible Light

Near Infrared

The false color schemes seen in digital IR images like the park scene at right and the leaf still-life at top are another matter entirely. The colors are nothing more than artifacts deeply rooted in camera hardware and firmware, with no direct connection to the objects imaged. Colors aren't even defined in the NIR, of course, but the false colors can add their own mystique to digital IR photographs, and some digital IR photographers like Chris Miekus work hard to manipulate them to their own ends. In all fairness, NIR images aren't for everyone. As accomplished film IR photographer Josh Putnam once put it on RPD, "... people either love [IR photography] or just don't get it, but the ones who love it really love it." That seems to be more true of photographers than of viewers, however. IR photographers commonly find that their IR images generate more interest than their visible light images. Many people appreciate IR's fresh view of things, but it's not just a matter of novelty. IR images have a rich beauty all their own. Page Index | Topic Index

The Digital Advantage Unlike ordinary films, silicon-based CCDs and CMOS sensors turn out to be quite sensitive to the near infrared (NIR) in the 700-1200 nm (0.7-1.2) range so much so, in fact, that some of the incoming

NIR has to be filtered out in order to reduce IR contamination artifacts to acceptable levels in the visible light images most buyers aim to take. The usual solution is to fit digital camera sensors with special internal IR cut filters (IICFs). These sensor-mounted filters vary in their IR transmission spectra, but most consumer-grade digital cameras let enough NIR through to allow some IR photography. Despite a clear trend toward ever-lower IR sensitivities in higher-end cameras, that's still true in 2004, but it gets harder with every passing year. If you get hooked on digital IR, you may end up searching high and low for an Oly C-2020Z or Nikon Coolpix 900, or for the more recent 5MP Minolta Dimage 7. These discontinued cameras are all still quite competent by any standard, but the high prices they command largely reflect their extraordinary IR capabilities. No, my C-2020Z isn't for sale. Special external filters passing NIR while blocking most or preferably all visible light make infrared photography possible. Film-based IR photographers have been using such filters for decades, but daunting technical and financial challenges continue to keep IR film photography well out of the photographic mainstream. Luckily, digital cameras have changed all that. Armed with even an inexpensive IR pass filter, a sufficiently IR-sensitive digital camera makes IR photography

Eminently affordable no need for expensive IR film and developing, Enjoyably impromptu no need to switch back and forth between regular and IR-sensitive films, Easily learnable via immediate feedback in the field, Immensely fun for the many surprises the NIR world holds (and for all the reasons above), and Intensely satisfying for the serene beauty you'll discover all around you.

With quality IR pass filters like the Hoya R72 going for as little as $24, there's hardly a good reason not to try IR if your camera's up to it. Page Index | Topic Index

Sidebar: Jay Scott's Excellent IR Adventures In late 1999, dpFWIW contributor Jay Scott shared with me his first forays into the IR realm with an Oly C-2020Z: I got a Hoya R72 IR filter, and I love it. Taking infrared pictures could not be easier. Put the filter on the lens, optionally set the camera to black-and-white, and go. The camera has enough sensitivity to IR that daylight IR photos can be taken handheld, and I was even able to get indoor IR photos under incandescent light. White plants, dark skyI love it! A few months later, Jay was still at it, more enthusiastic than ever. IR photography with a digital camera is almost like having an IR eye. You point the camera and look at the display, and you see what it sees. It's so much fun to peer at this surreal invisible world that I wonder why everyone doesn't!

Most infrared photos are made either outdoors or in a studio. But incandescent lights are IR-bright, and I found it easy to make IR photos in ordinary indoor lighting. You have to be prepared for exposure times up to one second, depending on how bright the room is, but it's not a problem if you have camera support. Because incandescent lights are redder than daylight, the "infrared effect" is stronger indoors, at least with my Hoya R72; you are effectively photographing using longer wavelengths than you would outdoors. Household objects can surprise you with their weird appearance in IR; my blue dishwashing soap turned out to be IR-transparent. Plants are white in IR. Flowers are bright, but seed-heads are often dark. The sky is dark, but clouds are bright. Skin looks strangely smooth, which could be an advantage for some portraits. Any object which is hot enough to glow red is more than hot enough to glow near-infrared. I've photographed gas flames and hot coals. The camera's flash is bright enough for IR macro photography with the R72. A decent external flash should be bright enough to take pictures at portrait ranges. Someday I hope to get an IR flash head so I can take IR photos at night without being noticed. Check out Jay's IR photos and commentary. Page Index | Topic Index

Near, Not Far IR Let me emphasize here that digital IR photography typically relies on reflected NIR from sources like the sun and incandescent lamps. Digital camera sensors based on silicon are not sensitive to the far (thermal) IR wavelengths (typically 3.0 and longer) emitted by objects at room to body temperatures. Heat leaks from houses aren't visible in the NIR, and people, animals and other objects at room to body temperatures don't glow in the NIR any more than they do in visible light. To photograph them in the dark, you have to provide proper NIR illumination using a suitably equipped camera like the Sony DSC-F7x7 or an external NIR-only flash with no filter. This article doesn't have much to offer on NIR-illuminated night photography, but many other web sites only a Google search away address this rich and useful field. Page Index | Topic Index

The IR Look Digital and film IR photographs have a look many describe as surreal. Clear, serene, bold and tonal are additional words that come to mind, at least for landscapes. Physical and firmware-related factors contributing to the IR look are discussed below. Aerial and reconnaissance photographers have long valued the often stunning clarity characteristic of IR photographs, and it tops my list of IR virtues as well. Clarity

IR images owe their great clarity to the atmosphere's exceptional transparency in the NIR. Scattering by air molecules is much less efficient at NIR than at most visible wavelengths. As a result, NIR photons take on average a much straighter path from object to CCD.

Clarity comparison

In visible light (left), scattering severely limits detail on the more distant portions of the far hillside in this hazy afternoon scene. Removing visible light with Visible light Near infrared aHoya R72 IR filter takes out much of the detailscrambling scatter. An impressive amount of detail shines through the haze in the IR image on the right, despite the odd false-color scheme. Usually monochrome or nearly so, IR images also partake of the deeply tonal beauty typical of black-andwhite photographs. In combination, these visual charms make for some truly stunning IR images. To see for yourself, take a moment now to browse the galleries in Beyond Red..., a site created by talented landscape photographer and dpFWIW contributor Carl Schofield. Page Index | Topic Index

IR Performance in Digital Cameras Before rushing out to buy an IR filter, test your camera to make sure it can do its part. On this page

Can Your Camera Handle IR? What Makes a Good IR Camera? Internal IR Cut Filters Honey, Where's The Remote? IR-Sensitive Cameras Less Sensitive Cameras

Topic Index Last updated October 22, 2009

Can Your Camera Handle IR? Warning! Some digital cameras are better suited to IR work than others, and a few are downright hopeless. Ever since 3 MP CCDs hit the consumer scene in late 1999, digital cameras have varied widely in their IR performance, but the overall trend has been toward lower and lower IR sensitivities ever since. As of

4Q2004, quality handheld IR photos are unlikely with most new cameras even through an IR filter with minimum light loss like the popular R72. But if you come prepared for long exposures, in-camera or post-processing noise reduction and rock-solid camera support (read "tripod"), even relatively insensitive cameras can produce satisfying IR photos. If you're looking for a digital camera specifically for IR work, you'll have to buy used. The 2002-vintatage Minolta Dimage 7 or 1999-vintage cameras like the Oly C-2020Z, the Nikon CoolPix 950 and the Nikon D1 all good bets. Page Index | Topic Index

What Makes a Good IR Camera? With few exceptions, the very best IR cameras ever most notably, the Oly C-2020Z, the Nikon CoolPix 950 and D1, and the Canon Pro70 came out ca. 1999, and most were built around Sony's thenpopular 2.11 MP CCD. The 5MP Minolta Dimage 7 (D7) was a surprise late-comer to the club. All had some combination of the following features:

CCD or CMOS sensors with large sensels through either large sensor diameters (the D1 and D7) or fewer sensels crammed onto average-sized chips (all the others) Less restrictive internal IR cut filters (IIRCF) presumably through less manufacturer paranoia about IR contamination in visible light photos (the C-2020Z) Fast lenses (especially the D1 and C-2020Z) Flexible exposure, including manual Effective in-camera noise reduction at high ISO (the D1) Firmware that happened to render IR images in pleasing false color schemes (the C-2020Z and Nikon 950)

The Gold Standard: The Oly C-2020Z Oly's 2nd generation digital rangefinder, the C-2020Z, achieved its legendary IR performance through a combination of large 0.0039 mm sensels, a permissive IIRCF and a fast f/2.0 lens. With an R72 IR filter, it suffered only 5-6 stops of light loss and could easily produce crisp handheld IR shots on sunny days at ISO 100. That's become the de facto gold standard for IR sensitivity among consumer-grade digital cameras, and that's the standard I'll use when comparing all the other cameras mentioned here. And for all that IR sensitivity, the C-2020Z still took great visible light photos with no noticeable IR contamination in the vast majority of situations. It also rendered IR photos in a false-color scheme that most users could live with and many came to like. A Typical Recent Camera: The Oly C-5050Z

No digital camera sold new or even factory-refurbished in 2003-2004 can match the C-2020Z's IR performance. A typical case in point is the C-2020Z's 5th generation descendent, the Oly C-5050Z, which I purchased as a factory refurb in 4Q2003. The C-5050Z is a very highly regarded camera in its own right, but it's IR performance is so-so at best. Smaller 0.0028 mm sensels and a much more restrictive IIRCF render the C-5050Z a whopping 5-6 stops less IRsensitive than the C-2020Z. With an even faster f/1.8 lens and reduced noise at maximum ISO (400), the C-5050Z manages to stay in the IR game but only with the R72. The deeper 87-series filters are out of the question. At right is a handheld R72 taken at maximum ISO and aperture with shutter speed fixed at 1/20 sec (which I can usually keep still).

Handheld C5050Z/R72 in the camera's native false color scheme

In theory, the C-5050Z's less IR-friendly IIRCF reduces IR contamination in visible light work, but in practice, I can't say I see the benefit, even against the very IR-sensitive C-2020Z. The table below details the differences between these two cameras and how they contribute to their respective IR sensitivities. IR Performance Comparison: Oly C-2020Z vs. C-5050Z Property Sensel size (mm) Widest aperture Noise at ISO 400 Remote test C-2020Z 0.0039 f/2.0 Moderate to severe C-5050Z 0.0028 f/1.8 Mild to moderate Comments These sensel diameters translate The fast C-5050Z lens gives it a

Increased quantum noise due to s 5050Z's electronics.

A remote test result as dim as the game, but it does mean that IR w far beyond the handheld range.

Technical Note: For a straight-a ISO 100 in manual exposure mod cropped without further post-pro

Handheld sample : Visible light

In visible light, the two cameras equal EVs, which have been norm

f/6.3 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 100 EV 14.3

f/4.5 @ 1/800 sec, ISO 64 EV 14.6

Technical Note: For the handhe maximum zoom (105 mm EFL), sharpening disabled. Post-proces resampling to 800x600 and unsh with identical USM parameters. settings.

Handheld sample: IR with R72 filter

The C-2020Z's faster shutter spe passing cyclist. It is just this kind favorite among IR enthusiasts.

f/2.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100 EV 8.3 Sensitivity loss in the NIR band -6.0 stops

f/2.6 @ 1/5 sec, ISO 400 EV 3.1 -11.5 stops

Note also the strikingly different scenes. Differing auto-WB algor normally apply an IR-specific W the C-5050Z has that capability; rather pleasant.

Bottom line: The C-2020Z is 5. conditions.

You'll find many additional IR sensitivity comparisons involving a number of different 4-5 MP cameras among the excellent online photography articles posted by Andrzej Wrotniak, Jens Roesner and Alfred Molon. Page Index | Topic Index

Internal IR Cut Filters (IIRCFs) Silicon-based (CCD and CMOS) image sensors are equally sensitive to visible and NIR wavelengths out to about 1200 nm. To fashion a peak sensitivity in the visible band and to minimize IR contamination of visible light images, most if not all digital camera manufacturers cover their silicon sensors with an internal IR cut filter (IIRCF). Little is known about them outside the camera manufacturers and their suppliers, but some IIRCFs are clearly more restrictive than others. It's often stated, quite incorrectly, that professional cameras usually have very restrictive IIRCFs and consumer models usually don't, but the empirical Nikon D1 vs. 990 IR sensitivities noted below tell a very different story. The pattern if there is one remains unclear. Look Ma, No IIRCF Some hardcore digital IR enthusiasts have gone so far as to disassemble their cameras and remove the IIRCF, a move guaranteed to increase IR sensitivity and void the warranty. James Wooten's Removing the IR Blocking Filter in the Nikon CoolPix 990 and 995 nicely illustrates the results and the surgery, which involves replacing the IIRCF with a plain piece of glass to preserve the camera's auto-focus ability. The IR galleries at Don Ellis'www.kleptography.com include many shots captured with a similarly modified Canon G1. Few have Don's eye for IR images. The Sony DSC-7x7's Nightshot Mode With built-in NIR illuminators and a "Nightshot" mode that removes the IIRCF from the lightpath to the CCD, Sony DSC-F7x7 digital still cameras excel at IR-enhanced low-light work. They would seem to be naturals for daylight IR work as well, but Sony felt a need to force auto-exposure metering and to restrict Nightshot exposures (f/2 at 1/60 sec or longer) to keep voyeurs from subverting Nightshot to see through

clothing during the day. (Some fabrics are apparently transparent enough in the NIR to reveal what's underneath in bright sunlight.) These firmware restrictions pose challenges for legitimate daylight IR work with F7x7 cameras, to be sure, but with ISO locked at 100, a deep IR filter (e.g., the Wratten 87c or the Hoya RM90 or RM100) and one or more ND filters to cut daylight NIR input, the F7x7s can rise to the occasion, as Paul Cordes recently detailed on RPD: I'm using a B+W 58 093IR, equivalent to an 87c. The filter is absolutely black and admits no light to visual inspection. The pictures are great.... You'll also need some Neutral Density filters, as the 707 is limited to f2 and 1/60th sec as the fastest shutter speed (Nightshot Mode). I'd suggest 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 ND filters to give you flexibility for exposure control. If you don't mind a 3-filter stack, you can skip the 0.9 ND. Don't forget to block the IR emitters with something IR-opaque, or you'll see reflections from the back side of the filters. Stacking filters of course results in vignetting. If you think that you will be stacking, a step-up ring and IR and ND filters of, say, 67mm might be a good starting choice. Wish I had thought of that before I bought mine! Paul recommends the "Sony Talk" forum at www.dpreview.com as a good resource for F7x7 IR photographers. Page Index | Topic Index

Honey, Where's the Remote? As usual, testing is better than assuming. Here's a very crude test of IR sensitivity for digital cameras:

Put your camera in program mode at ISO 100. Point a TV, camera or other IR remote into the lens from no more than 12" away. Press any button on the remote. Look for the IR beam in the camera's through-the-lens (TTL) LCD or EVF (electronic viewfinder).

If the remote's IR beam looks as bright as the one captured at right with a C-2020Z, you should be able to get handheld IR images with an affordable Hoya R72filter or Wratten 89b equivalent. If the beam is as dim as the one captured at left with my Oly C-5050Z, you can still get IR images with an R72, but handholding will be iffy at best. You'll generally need solid camera support and long exposure times.

Remote Test Comparison

C-2020Z C-5050Z Technical Note: For a straight-across comparison, both cameras were fixed at f/2.8 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 100 in manual exposure mode at full zoom (105 mm EFL). The full-sized test images were cropped without further post-processing. But Will an 87 Fly? If your camera passed the remote test, it's almost certainly good to go with a Hoya R72 filter or Wratten 89b equivalent. But can it also handle the more expensive black IR filters like the Wratten 87 and 87c? The C-5050Z certainly can't. Compatibility with 87-series filters is hard to predict reliably with the remote test alone, but you can at least get an idea if you happen to have access to another camera of known 87 compatibility. If you can't compare with a known reference, consider starting out with a Hoya R72 or equivalent Wratten 89b filter. (FWIW, the R72 is still my favorite IR filter overall because it can be handheld most of the time on my C-2020Z.) If your camera sustains less than 7-8 stops of light loss in bright sunlit scenes with an R72/89b, it has a very good chance with an 88a and at least a fighting chance with an 87 filter. If it loses more than 7-8 stops, it's not likely to fare well with a black 87, but it still has a chance with the shallower 88a. Page Index | Topic Index

IR-Sensitive Cameras Included in this category are cameras that come within 3 stops of the Oly C-2020Z when used with an R72 filter. As noted above, the most IR-sensitive higher-end consumer-grade digital cameras were built around the large-sensel original Sony 2.11MP CCD ca. 1999. The Oly C-2020Z, Oly C-2000Z and the Nikon CoolPix 950 all used this CCD, and all do well with deeper IR filters like the Wratten 87 series. The red-filtered sensels in this now-obsolete CCD approached the 700 nm visible-IR boundary with a whopping ~70% residual sensitivity and a relatively shallow drop-off into the NIR. That left a generous window for NIR recording, particularly forshortwave (700-770 nm) NIR. The updated 2.11MP CCD found in the Oly C-2040Z is much less IR-sensitive, as noted below. I've also seen excellent IR images taken with the 2MP Canon Pro70 using an R72-equivalent Kodak Wratten 89b gel, but I don't know what CCD it used. By all accounts, the IR sensitivity of the large-sensel 2.5MP Nikon D1 also seems to fall in this category, but I know little about D1 internals. So much for the theory that professional digital cameras have more restrictive IIRCFs.

Minolta Dimage 7 The 5MP Minolta Dimage 7 (D7) bucks the generally valid inverse relationship between pixel count and IR sensitivity, thanks in part to the large sensels on its 2/3" type CCD. Based on exposure data provided with a number of online D7 IR images taken with an R72 or equivalent filter, the D7 appears to run only 3 stops or so behind the C-2020Z in IR sensitivity. Soon after the D7 came out, Minolta released Dimage 7i ahd 7hi successor models, both with much more restrictive IIRCFs and correspondingly much weaker IR performance. If you're interested in high-resolution IR work using a camera with a more current feature set, consider the D7 but stay away from the D7i and D7hi. You can learn more about the D7 as an IR camera by visiting Jens Roesner's well-illustrated IR sensitivity and IR white balance pages. Acknowledgements: Thanks to Michelle Cox for providing the D-490Z data points and to Jens for a wealth of D7 intelligence. Surprises IR performance can be hard to predict. When physicist David Brown conducted an informal IR comparison pitting an Oly C-2040Z, C-4040Z and E-10 against each other using an R72 filter and autoISO, the C-4040Z produced the best IR images by a wide margin, not by virtue of greater IR-sensitivity, but via lens speed and superior performance at high ISO. At an automatic ISO of 337, his handheld C4040Z turned in shorter exposures and crisper R72 images. He also found the C-2040Z to considerably less IR-capable than his old C-2000Z. These findings jibe with Oly's claim that the C2040Z's 2.11MP CCD had been redesigned since the C-2020Z and C-2000Z (and apparently since the C2100UZ), but the difference could have been nothing more than a more restrictive internal IR cut filter. Also much to my surprise, Roland Karlsson reported on RPD that his Heliopan RG 780 (Wratten 87 equivalent) and Heliopan RG 850 (Wratten 87b equivalent) IR pass filters both work well with his 3.34MP Sony S70. Since the RG 850 has an even deeper NIR window than the Wratten 87c, the entire 87 series should work with the S70. The S70's substantially greater IR sensitivity relative to most other cameras (the Oly C-30x0Z, Nikon 990, Canon G1, etc.) with the Sony 3.34MP CCD points to a less restrictive IIRCF. In Nightshot mode, Sony's DSC-7x7 cameras remove their IIRCFs from the lightpath to the CCD in order to capture low-light scenes illuminated with NIR. If it weren't for firmware restrictions designed to thwart voyeurs, their 7x7 cameras would be the most IR-sensitive around by a wide margin. Page Index | Topic Index

Less IR-Sensitive Cameras Included in this category are cameras more than 3 stops less sensitive than the Oly C-2020Z when used with an R72 filter. For better or for worse, higher-end consumer-grade digital cameras have been getting progressively less IR-sensitive since 3MP CCDs hit the market in 1999. If you lay awake at night worrying about IR contamination in your visible light images, that's a feature, but if you hope to get in some digital IR photography with one of these cameras, it's a bug.

Early 3MP Cameras Many of the early 3MP cameras introduced in 1999-2000 the Nikon CoolPix 990 and 995; Oly C3030Z, c-3020Z and C-3000Z; Canon PowerShot G1 and IS Pro90 were based variations of the Sony 3.34MP CCD. All ran at least 3-4 stops less IR-sensitive than the Oly C-2020Z, as you can see from R72 exposure data gleaned from Don Ellis' IR gallery (Canon G1) and Todd Walker's R72 samples (Canon Pro90). IR buffs who tried them with deeper IR filters like the Wratten 87 series and the Hoya RM1000 eventually gave up, but those willing to put up with tripods and long exposures had considerable success with the more forgiving R72/89b filters. Don certainly didn't let the challenges get in his way. 4MP and Later Cameras The Minolta Dimage 7 aside, subsequent cameras with 4MP and higher resolutions have on average been even less IR-sensitive than their 3MP forebears. My 5MP Oly C-5050Z, a typical example, runs 5-6 stops behind theC-2020Z through an R72. To understand why and what that means for use in IR work, see the detailed IR-oriented comparison of the C-5050Z and C-2020Z above. You'll find many additional IR sensitivity comparisons involving a number of different 4-5 MP cameras among the excellent online photography articles posted by Andrzej Wrotniak, Jens Roesner and Alfred Molon. Canon D30 DSLR

Chris Miekus, an RPD regular with an enviable knack for non-landscape IR work, took the featured photo at the top of this article with a Hoya R72 mounted on a Canon D30 digital SLR with a Canon EF 28-135 mm, f/3.5-5.6 IS lens at f/5.6, 8 sec and ISO 100 (EV = 2.0). A common "heat lamp" provided the delicate lighting for this indoor subject. Chris reports that with auto white balance, the D30 produces a subdued magenta R72 false color scheme similar to that of the Canon G1, as shown here. For the photo at top, however, he applied a custom white balance to the RAW D30 recording after the fact.

D30/R72 false color scheme

The D30 appears to run 4-5 stops less IR-sensitive than the Oly C-2020Z. According to Chris, the D30 is more IR-sensitive than its immediate successor, the D60, and about 3 stops more sensitive than the more recent D100 offering. Chris cautions that lens choice is critical in IR work with Canon DSLRs. The popular Canon EOS 50 mm f/1.4, EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L and EF 28-70 mm f/2.8 L lenses all have anti-IR coatings that create bright central artifacts. As of 3Q2003, I know of no other IR-incompatible Canon lenses. Making Less Sensitive Cameras Work Many newer digital cameras still retain enough IR sensitivity for patient tripod-based IR work with a dark red R72 filter or equivalent Wratten 89B, as Don Ellis' IR gallery attests. Some even appear able to venture a bit deeper into the NIR. Danny Gossens reported on RPD that his G1 works well with a Heliopan RG715 filter a Wratten 88A equivalent with a ~750 nm 50% cut-off falling between the Hoya R72 (Wratten 89B) and theWratten 87 series, according to the spectral data published here. Note

that Danny's posted G1 IR samples all required tripod support and shutter speeds of 1/3 sec or longer, but his results are more than acceptable. Page Index | Topic Index

IR Filter Choices Specially-designed filters that block everything but IR make IR photography possible. Here we discuss the main types and some of the properties that distinguish them. On this page...

First, Some Filter Terminology NIR Transmission Spectra For Several Common IR Filters The Ever-Popular Hoya R72 The Wratten 87 and 87c The Wratten 88a What Do IR Filter Numbers Mean, Anyway?

Topic Index Last updated October 22, 2009

First, Some Filter Terminology

Let's pause to clarify some potentially confusing filter terminology. The filters used for IR photography are commonly referred to as "IR filters". To the extent that the much more common filters blocking UV light are properly called "UV filters", that may seem something of a misnomer, but like it or not, this usage is firmly entrenched in the IR band.

Mount Tamalpais from the Berkeley-Oakland Ridge, Northern California In this article, I'll refer to filters that block IR and pass visible light as "IR cut filters", as opposed to the "IR filters" or "IR pass filters" that enable IR photography by doing just the opposite.

Among the many IR filters available, two are particularly noteworthy:

The affordable and forgiving very dark red Hoya R72, and The pricey and more restrictive black Tiffen 87.

In glass in the 49 mm size, these filters went for $25 and $83, respectively, at The Filter Connection as of April, 2000. Page Index | Topic Index

NIR Transmission Spectra For Several Common IR Filters

The graphs at right show transmission spectra for several popular filters the Wratten 89b (R72), 87 and 87c (B+W 093) IR pass filters and the Heliopan 8125 UV/IR cut filter based on data from Clive Warren's Infrared Photography FAQ and the Heliopan No. 8125 Digital filter page.

Data from Clive Warren's Infrared Photography FAQ and the Heliopan No. 8125 Digital filter page.

Note that the 89b (R72) has a sliver of transmissivity in the deep visible red just below the 700 nm visible-infrared boundary. Some refer to it as a "dark red" filter because you can see through it to a very limited extent, but that appellation doesn't give the R72 proper credit for blocking nearly all visible light. The "black" 87-series filters, on the other hand, pass no visible light at all. The R72, 87 and 87c pass progressively less light to the camera's sensor, which itself loses IR sensitivity at ~1200 nm. For all three IR pass filters, peak transmissivities of only 80-90% also contribute to unwelcome light loss in IR work. No wonder, then, that some cameras can handle an R72 but not an 87 or 87c.

The Heliopan 8125 "digital" IR/UV cut filter claims to block unwanted NIR and near UV as well, but the spectrum here shows that most of the longwave NIR still gets through. (That's the kind that theoretically reduces saturation.) I haven't been able to detect any benefit from this filter under normal shooting conditions with several different digital cameras.

The Ever-Popular Hoya R72 Filter (Wratten 89b, B+W 092 equivalent) With a 50% cut-off at 720 nm (hence the "72" in R72), the very dark red Hoya R72 may let a tiny bit of visible red through, but it's hard to argue with the photographic results. You can examine the transmission spectrum of the equivalent Wratten 89b gel filter here or in the chart above. On an IR-sensitive camera like my Oly C-2020Z, the R72 typically takes a 5- to 6-stop exposure correction. Handheld shots are often possible in bright sunlight, but solid camera support is still a good idea. With the R72/C-2020Z combination, I've had very good luck with a monopod. The clarity samples shown above were taken by bracing against a post. The upper visible light sample was metered at EV 13.3 and exposed at EV 14.0 to darken the bright haze; the lower R72 version was metered at EV 9.7 and exposed at EV 9.0.

Looking north from Carson Spur, Sierra Nevada crest, California; handheld C-2020Z withR72

The feature photo at the top of this page and the photo just above were both taken with a Hoya R72, as were many of the stunning IR images dpFWIW contributor Carl Schofield's displays at his Beyond Red... gallery. As illustrated in Carl's much-appreciated samplesbelow, R72 images recorded in color are typically rendered brick red and pale cyan tones. That's as true of my Oly C-20x0Zs as it is of Carl's Nikon CoolPix 950. Truth be told, I've come to like R72 false color scheme. My experiences with the Hoya R72 match Jay Scott's and Carl Schofield's: It's truly a joy. (If only my photographs matched Carl's!) To my mind, the R72 is a great value, a flexible tool, and a forgiving entry into the fascinating infrared world, and just plain fun. Most digital cameras seem to be able to handle the R72, but test your camera before you buy. Page Index | Topic Index

The Wratten 87 and 87c Filters These black "deep IR" filters pass no visible light to speak of. You can examine the transmission spectra of the original Wratten 87 and 87C gel filters in the chart above.

Many digital cameras lack the IR sensitivity to handle 87-series IR filters, especially newer ones.

That can be true even for cameras that work well enough with an R72 or 89b filter. The Wr atte n 87 At tripl e the cost of the Hoy a R7 2, the Autumn sky; C-2020Z with 87 on braced Looking south from Grizzly Peak to Round hard monopod Top, Berkeley-Oakland hills, northern erCalifornia; C-2020Z with 87 on monopod tofind glass Wratten 87 and its equivalents offer a 50% cut-off deeper in the IR at ~800 nm. The 87 runs about 2 stops darker than the R72. The Wratten 87 offers greater contrast and yields nearly pure grayscale output on most digital cameras, even with color recording, as you can see at right and in Carl Schofield's IR filter samplesbelow. Unfortunately, the Wratten 87's additional 2-stop bite out of exposure precludes handholding under most conditions, but I've gotten away with it on very bright days with lots of bracketing for camera shake. The Heliopan RG780 is an 87 equivalent. I'm unaware of a B+W equivalent for the Wratten 87. The Wratten 87c (B+W 093 equivalent) With a 50% cut-off at 850 nm, the pricey black Wratten 87c (B+W 093) operates deeper yet in the NIR. The 87c typically yields blue monochromes like the one shown in the sample table below. (This was not always the case with the 87c on Carl's CoolPix 950, however, as discussed below.) The 87c presumably requires an even greater exposure correction than the 87. Common IR Filter Comparison Samples Kodak Wratten Filter Hoya Equivalent B+W Equivalent 50% cut-off mark

89b R72, RM72 092 720 nm

87 n/a n/a 800 nm

87c n/a 093 850 nm

Nikon CoolPix 950 IR Images, all with auto white balance and color recording, firmware v. 1.3. Courtesy Carl Schofield. All rights reserved.

I have no personal experience with the Wratten 87C, but it's got to be an even tougher challenge than the 87 on all fronts. Page Index | Topic Index

The Wratten 88a With a 50% transmissivity at ~750 nm, this less common IR filter falls between the 89b/R72 and the 87 series with regard to total light loss. By the numbers, at least, the 88a runs closer to the R72. Some cameras (like the Canon G1) can't handle an 87 but do well with an 88a. The Heliopan RG715 filter is an 88a equivalent. Page Index | Topic Index

What Do IR Filter Numbers Mean, Anyway? The short answer is, not much for non-Hoya filters. Kodak Wratten IR filter numbers (89b, 88a, 87, 87c, etc.) tend to go down and Heliopan RG numbers tend to go up with increasing 50% transmissivity wavelengths, but if they mean more than that, it's not at all obvious to me. B+W IR filter numbers (092, 093, etc.) are pretty much meaningless. The naming system Hoya uses for its IR pass filters is refreshingly rational. The R72 hits 50% transmissivity at 720 nm, just inside the NIR. The RM90 hits 50% transmissivity at 900 nm, and so on. How Hoya R and RM series IR filters differ, I have no idea. Page Index | Topic Index

Basic IR Techniques IR/UV Checklist Digital cameras make IR photography easy, fun and affordable, but there are some tricks and pitfalls worth knowing.

On this page...

The Short Version Apply Liberally Know Your Sources Sidebar: Black Body Radiation Exposure And Camera Support Supplemental Filters Recording: Color vs. Grayscale Focusing

Topic Index You can pick up useful technical info on IR photography in Jay Scott's IR observations or in Carl Schofield's Beyond Red... information page. The references listed below include many other helpful IR resources, and a web search will turn up many more. Last updated October 22, 2009

The Short Version We'll flesh them out below, but here are the basics of digital IR photography up front:

Carry your IR filters and use them liberally Know your NIR light sources Know how to play your camera's ISO vs. noise and resolving power vs. shutter speed trade-offs. Arrange for adequate camera support Record in color Check your work at the scene When in doubt, bracket like crazy for exposure and camera shake

But first, a very important safety reminder: Never, ever view the sun directly through an IR filter, however black it may appear.

The transmitted near IR can permanently damage your eyes in a matter of seconds before you know it! Page Index | Topic Index

Apply Liberally

Carry one or more IR filters (at least an R72) at all times and use them liberally even when you don't "see" any promising subjects. The IR realm is full of surprises, and good IR shots can be impossible to predict from the visible light version. If you limit yourself to landscapes, the traditional IR fare, you'll miss half the fun and a lot of good IR material. To see what I mean, take a moment to browse Don Ellis' IR gallery. His striking R72 images of Hong Kong underscore the versatility of the most popular IR filter around. As Don puts it, "... the real image isn't always the obvious one". I'd say that goes double for IR. Page Index | Topic Index

Know Your Sources Digital IR photos typically record reflected NIR. Emitted NIR is much less commonly encountered but is by no means rare. Modern flash tubes emit enough NIR to be useful with IR filters, but fluorescent lights emit very little. Objects hot enough to glow visibly emit lots of NIR, too, but Objects at room to body temperatures don't glow in the NIR any more than they do in the visible band. Reflected Near IR By far, the 2 most commonly encountered NIR sources are the sun and incandescent (tungsten) lighting. The sun radiates most intensely at visible wavelengths but also shines very brightly in the NIR. (In fact, it emits more energy at NIR than at visible wavelengths.) Most tungsten lamps actually peak in the NIR. Objects that appear bright in IR images almost always do so because they have high NIR reflectivities. Objects that appear dark in IR images reflect little NIR, and they're more likely to transmit than absorb it. Generally speaking, NIR reflectivity does not follow reflectivity in the visible band. Thanks to the "forbidden" molecular transitions that correspond to NIR wavelengths, NIR emission and absorption are both relatively uncommon.

The sun provides most of the NIR captured in IR photography

At this point, you can skip directly to Exposure and Camera Support or read on for more background on IR emissions. Emitted Near IR Emitted NIR comes primarily from objects at temperatures of many hundreds to thousands of Kelvins (K) far above body and room temperatures. One way to spot NIR-rich sources is to look for incandescence, the thermal emission of visible light. After a feeble start at temperatures around 500C (773K; 932F), incandescence becomes conspicuous at around 627C (900K; 1,160F), regardless of the material being heated. Since most of the energy radiated at such temperatures falls squarely in the NIR,

Anything incandescent will also glow brightly at NIR wavelengths. That includes glowing coals, electric heater coils, molten metal and glowing lava. Objects heated to 300C (573K; 480F) or above can also glow substantially in the NIR, even when they're not yet incandescent. For example, just before its first dusky red tones appear, an electric heating coil coming up to temperature radiates strongly in the near IR and continues to do so throughout its working temperature range. To gain a direct understanding of the relationship between temperature and emitted wavelength, try out the interactive Java tutorial in this superb color temperature tutorial. Thermal Radiation The thermal radiation emitted by bodies at room to body temperatures lies in the far IR at wavelengths of 3 (3,000 nm) or longer well beyond the reach of the silicon-based digital cameras discussed on this site. (Silicon loses all IR sensitivity at 1.2.) Another major hurdle to thermal IR imaging is our atmosphere. While highly transparent at visible wavelengths (0.3-0.7) and gloriously transparent at NIR wavelengths (0.7-1.4), air is quite opaque at 5-8, as shown here. Above 5, glass also becomes opaque, so you'll have to resort to mineral lenses that make high-end 35 mm glass lenses look cheap. So, to "see" body heat in complete darkness, you'll have to give up your silicon-based CCD or CMOS sensor for something truly exotic that operates in the 3-5 band where air and glass are still reasonably clear. If you have tens of thousands of dollars to spend, you might consider something like the indium antimonide (InSb) focal plane array IR sensor in the military night vision FLIR MilCAM. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto. Page Index | Topic Index

Sidebar: Black Body Radiation Wein's Law states that a black body at temperature T radiates with peak intensity at wavelength w0 (nm) = 2.898 x 10^6 / T (K) The table below was constructed using Wein's Law. Note that the human body peaks far beyond the 5 cut-off for atmospheric and glass transparency. Black Body Temperatures and Peak Thermal IR Wavelengths Temperature F C K Peak (nm) Peak () Band Solar surface (effective) 9,941 5,505 5,778 502 0.50 Green Average daylight Tungsten lamp Hawaiian lava Obvious incandescence Onset of incandescence 9,440 5,227 5,500 5,660 3,127 3,400 2,012 1,100 1,373 1,160 932 627 500 900 773 527 853 2,112 3,223 3,751 0.53 Green 0.85 Near IR 2.11 3.22 3.75 IR IR IR

Body (human) Room

99 68

37 20

310 293

9,350 9,892

9.35 Far IR 9.89 Far IR

Acknowledgments: Information on Wein's Law came from the rather technical but very informative Electro Optical Industries' black body radiation tutorial. The solar data was found here. Page Index | Topic Index

Exposure and Camera Support With most if not all of the visible light cut out of the picture, exposures with IR filters require substantial compensations. On my highly IR-sensitive Oly C-2020Z, a Hoya R72 typically produces 4-6 stops of light loss. I can usually handhold R72 shots on bright sunny days or in other settings with lots of NIR illumination, but I have even better luck with monopod support in such situations. On the same camera, my Tiffen 87 runs about 2 stops darker and nearly always requires at least monopod support. Support, ISO, Resolving Power and Noise Some recent cameras are still IR-sensitive enough for handheld IR shots at their widest aperture and highest ISO settings. You may avoid camera shake that way, but you may also end up with suboptimal resolving power, unacceptable noise levels or both. If your camera (like my Oly C-5050Z) has an actionshot program mode favoring short exposures at the expense of wide-open apertures and high ISO, give it a try with handholding and see what you get. You may be able to clean up a good bit of the noise in postprocessing with a program like Neat Image, but don't count on that out until you've tried it. Otherwise, bring along a tripod or some other rock-steady camera support. Remote control triggering would also help. Remember, With adequate support comes more freedom to choose shutter speed, aperture and ISO according to scene qualities. Admittedly, adequate camera support can be hard to come by on impromptu IR outings, but the R72 is fairly forgiving, and there's almost always something around to brace against a tree, a rock, a lamp post, a steady companion. When available support has been less than optimal, bracketing for camera shake has saved many an IR shot for me. Just take 2-4 exposures of everything you shoot. You can't shake all the time. Unexpected Brightness Shifts

Keep in mind that objects that appear quite dark at visible wavelengths may be very bright in the near IR. Foliage is the classic example. The opposite may also obtain. Clear skies that look bright blue to you will usually photograph quite dark with an IR filter in place because the atmosphere scatters little NIR. These intensity shifts can lead to unexpected exposure variations in IR shots, especially with spot metering.

NIR reflectance patterns

Visible Light Near Infrared For all those reasons, I generally prefer to shoot IR with matrix metering in a program or priority mode, depending on the challenges at hand. I also spend a lot of time previewing with my LCD. Accentuate the Digital Shoot everything in sight and ask questions later. Digital cameras excel at the instant feedback needed to work through unfamiliar photographic situations. To be safe, load a big memory card and bracket heavily for both exposure and camera shake, especially if handholding. Before shooting in a priority mode, check the exposure settings via your LCD to make sure you haven't exceeded your camera's capabilities. Page Index | Topic Index

Supplemental Filters

Atmospheric scatter is seldom a concern in IR work, but unwanted IR reflections may still warrant a polarizer. I should have used one to suppress the bright sunlight reflecting off the bay in the R72 photo of San Francisco at right. I also can think of a few snowy IR scenes where an upside-down GND might have helped, but the naturally dark skies in IR photos generally make life easier on the excess contrast front. At altitude, your IR shots might benefit from a UVcutting haze filter. As always, keep an eye out for flare and vignetting when stacking filters. Page Index | Topic Index

IR glare off San Francisco Bay

Recording: Color vs. Grayscale Here's a counter-intuitive one for you: Color isn't even a meaningful concept in the NIR band, but color recording is still your best bet for high-quality IR work. As in B&W work, and for all the same reasons, you'll have more control and more options in post-processing with color recording, and you won't have burned bridges with a simplistic in-camera grayscale conversion algorithm.

With color recording, early digital cameras like the Oly C-2020Z and the Nikon CoolPix 950 rendered R72 images in a characteristic and I think rather pleasing brick-and-cyan false color scheme. Wratten 87 series images usually came out as pure grayscales. These false color schemes are illustrated above and discussed in more detail both above and below. Later cameras with more sophisticated Bayer color interpolation and white balancealgorithms tended to render Wratten 87c color recordings as blue monochromes and R72s as magenta monochromes garish enough to make anyone wince at which point the hunt was on for ways to manipulate the false colors, both in-camera and at post-processing. If your camera's IR false colors don't suit, you have several alternatives, depending on available camera features, time, skill and software tools: 1. Color recording with grayscale conversion in post-processing 2. Color recording with color manipulation (red-blue channel swapping, admixture of channels from IR and visible light versions of the same image, and so on) in post-processing 3. Color recording with manipulated in-camera white balance (keep showing cards of different colors to your camera's "show me something neutral" custom white balance function until you get a false-color scheme you like) 4. RAW color recording with white balance manipulation at conversion to an RGB image. 5. Grayscale (B&W) recording mode Many experienced digital IR photographers greatly prefer the power and flexibility of the first approach, but some assembly is required. B&W recording is certainly more convenient, but you'll need to stay on top of the recording mode in effect to avoid mishaps between IR sessions. Personally, I've come to like the look of R72 color images. My cameras offer B&W recording, but I always record IR images in color. Page Index | Topic Index

Focusing The short answer: Stick with auto-focus (AF) and you won't have to worry about wavelengthrelated focus shifts. Depending on the spectral characteristics of your lens (achromat, apochromat, etc.), IR images are theoretically subject to a wavelength-related focus shift. Typically, IR light comes to a focus just past the focal plane, which has of course been positioned for visible light. If NIR is the only light coming in, AF should be able to adjust accordingly provided AF has enough light to do its magic. IR filters don't seem to interfere with AF accuracy on most digital cameras certainly not on the Oly C-2020Z and the Nikon CoolPix 950. Focus shift can be problematic in IR film work, even with AF, but on the digital side, it's also largely absorbed within the generous depth of field typical of consumer-grade digital cameras. If you have trouble focusing your IR filters, try increasing depth of field by stopping down the aperture and reducing subject magnification as best you can.

Page Index | Topic Index

Whence the Digital IR Look? The distinctive digital IR look is a many-layered thing. This page will explore its origins, which will in turn suggest ways to manipulate it. On this page...

Source Spectra Relative NIR Reflectivities Camera Variables False Colors and Monochromes Sidebar: Forbidden Absorptions R72 False Colors Wratten 87 Grays Wratten 87c Blues White Balance Caught Blue-Handed The Real Skinny?

Topic Index Last updated October 22, 2009 If you're not in the mood for speculation, skip ahead to a discussion of IR contamination.

Source Spectra The top layer is the source of near IR (NIR) illumination, most often the sun. The intensity of sunlight may peak at green wavelengths, but sunlight is loaded with NIR as well particularly at the shortest NIR wavelengths. The same is true of incandescent illumination. Conventional flash units produce a different spectrum, as do IR flashes and the LED-based IR illuminators available today. Whatever the source, the balance between longwave and shortwave components will have an impact on the way your IR photos look. Page Index | Topic Index

Relative NIR Reflectivities Next come the NIR reflectivities of the elements in the scene. In the bulleted paragraphs below, the links lead to thumbnails of images that illustrate the brightness relationships discussed. In each case, the source is assumed to be solar NIR.

Deciduous tree leaves and grasses are almost always very bright in the NIR. Although made predominantly of NIR-transparent materials, leaves reflect NIR very efficiently because their complex internal air spaces offer many opportunities for shallow-angle internal reflections that eventually bounce the NIR out again. Leaves lose their NIR reflectivity when soaked in water and pressed to drive out the air. In the visible band, tiny airspaces work the same magic in fallen snow and fluffy soap suds, both of which start out bright white but approach transparency as trapped air escapes. Plant temperatures and pigments like chlorophyll havenothing to do with leaf reflectivity at NIR wavelengths. Leafless deciduous branches are also quite bright. Conifer needles tend to be less bright than deciduous leaves for reasons I have yet to divine, but internal structure differences are the prime suspect. Clouds are very bright and the clear sky dark because condensed water droplets scatter all NIR wavelengths very efficiently, but air molecules hardly scatter them at all (and then only at the shortest NIR wavelengths). Water surfaces tend to be dark in the NIR, mainly for want of bright skylight to reflect.

An IR Stroll Through the Park Through an R72 filter, red pigments are often brighter than are whites and off-whites, as seen in the traffic signs at right. The upper sign's bright red markings are slightly brighter than their reflective off-white background but not quite as bright as the white background in the sign below. Red car paints also tend to be a good bit brighter than whites. I had a lot of fun on this IR stroll through Denver's Washington Park, the location for many of the images in this article. Checking out the NIR world though the LCD of a digital camera with an IR filter mounted is a good way to learn to pre-visualize IR shots. It's also full of surprises. Page Index | Topic Index


NIR (R72)

Camera Variables Next in line among the many layers contributing to IR look come several layers related to the camera itself:

the external IR filter used, the Bayer pattern color filters applied to the CCD, the internal IR cut filter applied to the CCD, the CCD itself, and the camera's firmwareparticularly the color interpolation and white balance algorithms in effect.

Each camera layer puts its own stamp on the final IR image. Black Boxes Solid information regarding the last 4 camera layers listed above is hard to come by. Silicon-based CCD and CMOS sensors are equally sensitive at visible and NIR wavelengths but abruptly lose all sensitivity at around 1,200 nm. The CCD thus puts a fixed limit on NIR input to the image at the long end of the spectrum, while the external IR filter imposes a variable limit on NIR input at the short end. The proprietary internal IR cut filters sensor manufacturers apply to their digital camera products remain shrouded in mystery. I have yet to see a transmission spectrum for one, but they clearly vary widely and seemingly arbitrarily from camera to camera, as chronicled above. The inner workings of camera firmwares also seem to be hush-hush, but we manage to peek under the hood below. The sections that follow focus on 3 critical camera-related layers,

the external IR filter used, the Bayer pattern color filters applied to the CCD, the white balance algorithm used,

and what we can surmise of their intertwined contributions to the final IR image. Page Index | Topic Index

False Colors and Monochromes Color-mode digital IR images have a look and feel that varies with the IR filter and to a lesser extent with the camera used. The popular dark red R72 filter typically produces images with either a brick red and pale cyan or a red and magenta color scheme, depending on the camera, while images made with the deeper 87 filter tend to come out as grayscales or nearly so, regardless of the camera used. Representative color-mode digital IR samples are shown again in the table below. False Colors Rendered with Common IR Filters Kodak Wratten Filter 89b Hoya Equivalent 50% cut-off mark Transmissivity at 700-770 nm R72, RM72 720 nm Moderate

87 n/a 800 nm Low

87c n/a 850 nm Negligible

Shortwave NIR at 700-770 nm wavelengths appears to drive most of the false color seen in these digital IR samples.

Table Note: Images courtesy Carl Schofield, all rights reserved; Nikon CoolPix 950 with auto white balance and v. 1.3 firmware. Color is, of course, an attribute of visible light alone. Since color is meaningless at NIR wavelengths, any color found in an NIR image is by definition false color, gray included. A digital camera is nevertheless compelled by its firmware to do something with the sensor data an IR filter generates. The samples above are representative of what camera firmwares tend to come up with when confronted with NIR scenes recorded in color. How do these false colors arise? All available clues point to white balance algorithms and the NIR spectral properties of the Bayer pattern color filters covering the CCD sensels in single-CCD color digital cameras. The shortest NIR wavelengths (in the 700-770 nm band) appear to drive most of the false color rendering, as we'll see. The Short Answer Based on several different lines of evidence, I've concluded that one must simultaneously consider what goes on in 2 functionally different NIR bands in order to understand the false colors seen in digital RGB images taken with IR filters:

700-770 nm, hereafter referred to as shortwave NIR 770-1100 nm, hereafter referred to as longwave NIR

Longwave NIR (770-1100 nm) stimulates all sensels equally because Bayer pattern filter dyes are uniformly transparent at those wavelengths for quantum mechanical reasons elaborated in the sidebar. Thus, longwave IR primarily affects false-color saturations. Shortwave NIR (700-770 nm), on the other hand, stimulates red sensels quite a bit, green sensels a little and blue sensels minimally if at all. Shortwave NIR thus drives the false colors, especially with shallow filters like theR72 (50% cut-off at 720 nm). The red tinge typical of R72 skies bears this out: Shortwave NIR is heavily over-represented in what little NIR the atmosphere manages to scatter because scattering efficiency by air molecules falls off inversely with the 4th power of wavelength. If you block most of the shortwave NIR with a deeper Wratten 87 IR filter (50% cut-off at 800 nm), you get a near-perfect grayscale image, as you'd expect with equal stimulation of all 3 sensel types by the remaining longwave NIR. Things get even more interesting with the Wratten 87c (50% cut-off at 850 nm), which in many digital cameras produces blue monochromes rather than the grayscales one might expect. I believe that this

reflects a slight blue bias built into most auto white balance algorithms to counter the anti-blue bias carried by NIR contamination in visible light digital images. At this point, you can skip directly to a discussion of IR contamination in visible light images, or you can brace yourself for a slog through the arguments supporting the theory above. Page Index | Topic Index

Sidebar: Forbidden Absorptions In an earlier version of this section, I wondered out loud about why digital IR images tend to be monochromatic, especially with deeper IR filters like the 87 series. Andrew Fong, a Ph.D. analytical chemist whose dissertation dealt with the use of NIR radiation in chemical analysis, e-mailed me this compelling answer: In my work, we generally use wavelengths greater than about 1200 nm to around 3000 nm, but I have some knowledge of the NIR band around 1100-770 nm. The short answer is that the CCD mask filters are all nearly equally transparent to short NIR radiation [at 770-1100 nm]. The blue filters absorb some of the NIR radiation as a spill-over of their red-absorbing properties. Basically, most substances are fairly transparent to this short-wavelength NIR radiation [at 770-1100 nm]. Some larger dye molecules can be made to absorb there (an electronic type absorption). However, this energy region does not happen to correspond with most molecular vibrations or electronic absorptions. Most molecular vibrations correspond with the Mid-IR [> 3000 nm]. Overtones and combinations of these Mid-IR vibrations occur between 3000-1200 nm. By the time you get to 1100-770 nm, these overtones and combinations of molecular vibrations become very weak (they are quantum-mechanically forbidden). Therefore, there aren't many compounds which absorb any light at all between 1100-770 nm unless they are dyes specifically designed to absorb there. (Water vapor does have a very weak absorption band somewhere around 900 nm). Therefore, all of the color filter types on the CCD probably pass almost all of the short NIR radiation [at 770-1100 nm]. It is possible that the blue CCD mask filters absorb some of the light at the shortest end of the NIR band (an electronic absorption tail). Andrew Fong, Memphis, TN USA [Text in square brackets added by editor for clarity.] With no suitable molecular energy gaps to fall into, longwave NIR photons at 770-1100 nm can be transmitted or reflected, but they're seldom absorbed. Shallow angles of incidence will promote reflection off NIR-transparent materials, just as they produce strong reflections off clear glass in the visible band. The complex air spaces found within deciduous leaves and fallen snow set up strong NIR reflections in just this manner. In the absence of reflection, longwave NIR transmission will dominate. Note that the

forbidden NIR absorptions start at 770 nm, not at the visible-IR boundary at 700 nm. Allowed shortwave NIR absorptions in the 700-770 nm band will become important below. Andrew's explanation jibes with dpFWIW contributor Jay Scott's early observation that the red CCD filters in his Oly C-2020Z appear to pass shortwave NIR preferentially, while the blue CCD filters preferentially pass longwave NIR. It also jibes with Oly C-2020Z CCD spectral response plots showing ~70%, ~10% and ~0% respective sensitivities for the red, green and blue sensors at 700 nm, the visible-IR boundary. I have no hard data for shortwave NIR absorptions at 700-770 nm, but these plots are also consistent with Jay's observations. Now we're ready tackle the false colors produced by some of the more popular IR filters. What goes on in the undocumented 700-770 nm seems to be the key. Page Index | Topic Index

R72 False Colors The R72 produces images rendered in brick red and pale cyan tones by some cameras and in bright red to magenta colors by others. To my mind, the brick and cyan R72 pattern suggests an overall excess of red sensel stimulation and a blue sensel stimulation deficit, presumably due to the red filter's relatively high transmissivity and the blue filter's electronic absorption tail at the shortest NIR wavelengths. I don't have a ready explanation for the red and magenta R72 color scheme, which has become more and more common in recent cameras. At one time I wondered if it might occur with CCDs sporting CYGM (cyan, yellow, green, magenta) rather than GRGB (green, red, green, blue) Bayer pattern filters. However, the CYGM Canon G1 renders R72s in a purple-and-cyan color scheme similar to the brick-and-cyan scheme my GRGB Oly C-2020Z produces. See Don Ellis' IR gallery for some G1/R72 samples. Todd Walker's Canon IS Pro90 R72 samples resemble Don's G1 R72s very closely, as you might expect from 2 cameras built around the same 3.34MP CYMG CCD. Since Bayer pattern filters appear to have some differential effect on shortwave NIR (the 700-770 nm band), those must be the wavelengths primarily responsible for the false colors typical of images taken with shallower IR filters (like the R72 and the 88a) with 50% transmissivities in the 720-750 nm range. I believe that the sky takes on a reddish tone in the R72/89b sample above because the atmosphere scatters less longwave than shortwave NIR, which in turn preferentially stimulates the red sensels. Foliage and clouds reflect all NIR wavelengths equally but acquire a cyan cast from a white balance algorithm trying to compensate for an overall excess of red sensel stimulation. Page Index | Topic Index

Wratten 87 Grays Beyond 770 nm, forbidden absorptions imply grayscale output from equally transparent red, green and blue filters, and grayscale is precisely what the Wratten 87 filter delivers, regardless of the camera. Why? Because the 87's 50% cutoff at 800 nm blocks both visible light and most of the color-generating

shortwave NIR below 770 nm. Mild red and green sensel stimulation by the small amount of shortwave NIR transmitted by the 87 offsets an apparent blue bias built into typical auto white balance algorithms for reasons I'm about to propose. Page Index | Topic Index

Wratten 87c Blues The blue monochromes typical of 87c filters provide important clues to the IR false color puzzle. With a 50% transmissivity deep in the NIR at 850 nm, the 87c absorbs virtually all of the color-generating shortwave NIR. These are the same NIR wavelengths blocked by the blue filter's electronic absorption tail in visible light work. The 87c thus deprives the red and green sensels of the shortwave NIR photons normally unavailable only to the blue sensels. A white balance algorithm conscious of NIR contamination and preprogrammed to boost blue sensels a bit to compensate for their normally reduced NIR stimulation would automatically add a touch of blue to the pure grayscale the 87c should otherwise have produced. Page Index | Topic Index

White Balance Caught Blue-Handed If you're still skeptical of the role white balance plays in IR false colors, consider this data point: Under the original v. 1.1 firmware in his Nikon CoolPix 950, Carl Schofield routinely got pure grayscale images from hisWratten 87 and B+W 093 (Wratten 87c equivalent) filters with color recording. But when his camera came back from a factory repair with an unexpected upgrade to v. 1.3 firmware, Carl was surprised to find his previously grayscale B+W 093 (87c) images coming out as blue monochromes instead of grayscales, as shown above. Interestingly, the firmware change had no visible effect on his visible light, R72 or Wratten 87 images. Whatever else Nikon might have updated between v. 1.1 and v. 1.3, white balance handling was one of the acknowledged firmware changes. My Oly C-2020Z handles R72 and Wratten 87 color images just like Carl's CoolPix 950. I have no Wratten 87c to test, but when I stack a hot mirror (IR cut) filter on top of my Wratten 87 to block out all remaining shortwave NIR, I get blue monochromes, too. To mind, these observations point to a strong white balance input. Page Index | Topic Index

The Real Skinny? Given the camera manufacturers' reticence regarding firmware and internal IR cut filter details, we may never know for sure, but the evidence pieced together so far is fairly compelling: White balance and color

filter spectral properties in the NIR both play key roles in the false colors and monochromes that appear in digital IR images recorded in color. If anyone out there has solid information along these lines, please drop me an e-mail at dpfwiw@cliffshade.com. Page Index | Topic Index

IR Contaminationthe Other Side of the IR Coin Unfortunately, IR sensitivity isn't all good news for digital photographers. For those with more IRsensitive cameras, the otherworldliness of many IR images raises a disturbing question: If my camera's IR-sensitive enough to take decent IR photographs, and if my NIR and visible light photos differ that much, shouldn't I be worried about IR contamination in my visible light work? The welcome short answer seems to be "seldom if ever", but just how we've managed to get off the hook on this score isn't all that clear. On this page...

If You Need Something To Worry About, Find Something Else What Would IR Contamination Look Like? Hot Mirror Filters A Cure Worse Than The Disease The Heliopan 8125 "Digital" IR/UV-Cut Filter

Topic Index Last updated October 22, 2009

If You Need Something to Worry About, Find Something Else The threat of visible IR contamination would seem to be quite real and ubiquitous. In practice, however, IR contamination turns out to be an issue only in unusual circumstances, some of which are detailed in this section. For reasons touched upon above, I've come to attribute some of that good fortune to sophisticated, IR-aware white balance algorithms. Detectable IR contamination turns out to be quite rare in digital photographs, even with IRsensitive cameras like my Oly C-2020Z. Technical Note: Film cameras using ordinary films aren't subject to IR contamination because such films are negligibly sensitive to NIR.

Most convincing instances of IR contamination involve objects at or near incandescent temperatures. Such objects emit thermal IR in the NIR band. To see an example of IR contamination from a hot object, visit Peter iNova's dpreview.com infrared tutorial and scroll down to the first image of the burning gasfired radiant heater. The bluish sheen on its very hot heat reflector is no doubt thermal NIR. You can count on IR contamination with any object that hot, but how often do they pop up in your photographs? In setting up the Filter Test Color Bias and Saturation in another dpFWIW article, I managed to create a related instance involving a close-up under hot, close-range incandescent lighting. Here, the contaminating NIR was emitted by a 60W bulb and reflected to the camera by a room temperature subject over a lamp-to-camera distance of ~20 inches. Situations like these are both rare and foreseeable. I have yet to see a compelling example of IR contamination in an outdoor shot containing objects at ordinary temperatures. Theoretically, one would expect IR contamination to be most apparent in visible light digital photos of visibly dark but IR-bright objects like foliage, but accurate renditions of foliage don't seem to be a problem for digital cameras. Many have tried to pin the common purple fringing artifact on IR contamination, but I their arguments unconvincing. Purple fringing is primarily a high-order lens aberration. So, go ahead and worry about IR contamination when you're shooting very hot objects or shooting very near such objects. Otherwise, forget about it. Page Index | Topic Index

What Would IR Contamination Look Like? Sunlight, the most commonly encountered NIR source, contains both shortwave (700-770 nm) and longwave (770-1100 nm) NIR in abundance. Sunlit objects should be subject to IR contamination, particularly visibly dark NIR-bright objects like foliage. Longwave Contamination Since Bayer pattern filters are equally transparent to longwave NIR, longwave contamination should add white to affected areas of the image. That would desaturate affected colors and might also contribute to overexposure and blooming, particularly in areas already close to overexposure. My Heliopan 8125 "Digital" UV/IR cut filter strongly attenuates longwave NIR, but it doesn't visibly improve color saturation in my outdoor work. Nor does it tone down blown-out leaf highlights. The 8125 did improve saturation in the Filter Test Color Bias and Saturation described elsewhere on dpFWIW, but that was a very special circumstance unlikely to be encountered in the field. Shortwave Contamination Shortwave NIR contamination should cause color shifts toward the red and might contribute to white balance failures as well. Red Bayer pattern filters are most transparent to shortwave NIR; green filters are slightly transparent and blue filters least transparent, at least in my C-2020Z.

I used to blame shortwave IR contamination for my camera's tendency to overexpose red flowers in bright sunlight, but now I'm not so sure. My Heliopan 8125 "Digital" UV/IR cut filter does nothing to help these blown-out reds. Then again, flower colors can be tough, and the 8125's much less effective against shortwave than longwave NIR. The jury's still out on this one. Page Index | Topic Index

Testing for IR Contamination To get a handle on potential IR contamination, dpFWIW contributor Jay Scott performed a clever and interesting "black object test" with his Oly C-2020Z and a Hoya R72 filter: I ran some tests last night, and now I'm convinced that it's sometimes a serious problem. The most common color problem I've seen with my camera is for black cloth to occasionally be rendered blue, especially indoors under incandescent light. I reasoned that, first, any big color shift in a black object that doesn't reflect much visible light almost has to be due to unwanted sensitivity to invisible light, and second, if there is unwanted sensitivity, a black object is what will show it most. And incandescent lights are very bright in the infrared. So I went around the house and collected (1) an object that was black and photographed black, (2) an object that was black and photographed blue, and (3) an object that was black and photographed blue under incandescent light and nearly black with xenon flash. Object (1) turned out to be infrared dark. Objects (2) and (3) turned out to be infrared bright. Flash is infrared-bright, but it is much bluer than incandescent light, so I infer that (3) is only bright at longer infrared wavelengths, while (2) is bright over a wider spectrum. Fluorescent lights are dark in the infrared, so I put them under fluorescent light and all three photographed black. I found a bunch of other black objects that photographed black, and all of them turned out to be infrared dark. I'm convinced. My images are contaminated with infrared light, and in the worst case it makes a big difference. I still haven't done tests to see how big a difference it makes in typical cases. I suspect this may be what makes purple flowers so often rendered as blue. Suddenly I'm in the market for a hot mirror.... It hardly ever pays to disagree with Jay, but if it's going to take a hot mirror to cure IR contamination, the cure could well turn out to be worse than the disease. To see a hot mirror in action, check out this filter test. If you lay awake at night worrying about IR contamination, press on to learn about two different filters you might use to block it. Otherwise, skip ahead to the References and Links and visit some of the IR gallerieslisted there. Page Index | Topic Index

Hot Mirror Filters A Cure Worse Than The Disease External hot mirror filters are the primary line of defense in what I now see as a largely theoretical battle against IR contamination. Their dichroic (dielectric) coatings reflect rather than absorb IR. Most consumer-grade cameras come with internal hot mirrors already installed on their sensors the internal IR cut filters discussed so many times before. A typical hot mirror transmission spectrum can be viewed here. The cheap no-name hot mirror I use with my Tiffen 18A UV pass filter blocks a significant amount of visible red light along with the IR. The result is an ugly greenish cast in visible light images, as illustrated here. In UV photography, that's not a problem, but this hot mirror is no viable cure for IR contamination in visible light work. Most of the hot mirrors for sale at B&H Photo are very expensive, but they cause visible artifacts as well. The professional photographers who buy them work with digital backs for 35 mm and and medium-format cameras, and they may well need them, but consumer-grade digital camera users seldom if ever do. Page Index | Topic Index

The Heliopan 8125 "Digital" UV/IR Cut Filter One of the more promising IR cut filters would seem to be the multicoated Heliopan No. 8125 Digital, which claims to block both UV and IR while freely passing all visible wavelengths. As its complete transmission spectrum clearly shows, the 8125 strongly attenuates longwave NIR and UV-B and UV-C, but it passes a good bit of shortwave NIR and some near UV-A as well. That makes the 8125 a very leaky defense against IR and UV contamination. In fact, it's about as ineffective against shortwave NIR as commonly available UV cut filters are against UV-A. Several months of casual shooting with the 8125 confirm the story told by the spectrum. I have yet to see an outdoor benefit on the IR or UV side even with sun-drenched foliage, one of likeliest IR contamination scenarios, as illustrated in the sample images below. Heliopan 8125 Outdoor Test Wratten 87 IR pass filter image documenting the test scene NIR content. The 87 blocks all visible light and some shortwave NIR as well. As you can see, there's no shortage of longwave NIR in this sunny day at the park.

Control image, no filter. Note the visibly dark but very IR-bright deciduous trees. If the 8125 were effective against IR contamination, that's where you'd be most likely to see it.

Heliopan 8125 "Digital" UV/IR cut filter produces no visible effect, despite its strong longwave NIR attenuation. Its UV attenuation plays no role here.

Table Notes: All images are 800x600 JPEGs taken with a monopod-supported C-2020Z using fixed sunny white balance and in-camera sharpening with no manual post-processing other than downsampling from 1600x1200. Nor did the 8125 help with the substantial red over-saturation my then C-2000Z tended to impart on reddish flowers taken in bright sunlight with auto white balance. To be fair the 8125 did manage to improve color saturation substantially in the Filter Test Color Bias and Saturation described elsewhere on dpFWIW, but I don't expect to encounter a similar situation in the field anytime soon. If NIR contamination were truly a practical concern in outdoor digital visible light photography, the 8125's strong longwave NIR attenuation should have improved color saturation in the test shots above. I don't see that it did. So, in the absence of a detectable benefit in worst-case outdoor photos like the test images above on an unusually IR-sensitive camera like my Oly C-2020Z, I conclude that IR contamination is at worst an insignificant problem with sunlit outdoor subjects well below incandescent temperatures. and that the 8125's cost/benefit ratio is far above recommendable levels. (In 2Q 2000, mine cost $79.95 on special phone order from B&H Photo.) If anyone has solid evidence to prove me wrong here, I'd love to see it. Page Index | Topic Index

References and Links The internet is loaded with material pertinent to IR photography, but the best sites are the IR galleries. On this page...

IR Galleries IR Information Suppliers

Topic Index (See also the home page links.) Last updated October 22, 2009

IR Galleries To see just how surreal the world can look in the near IR, and to learn how to capture it there, visit these worthwhile IR photography sites: Beyond Red... dpFWIW contributor Carl Schofield's gorgeous IR site featuring his extensive gallery of CoolPix 950 IR landscapes with many CoCam R72 examples, and some valuable practical information as well. Kleptography Don Ellis' impressive gallery of Canon G1 images. Don shot the IR section with an R72, a great eye and a lot of imagination. Digital Infrared Gallery Paul Rodian's IR site. Infrared Digital Images Eric Cheng's technically-oriented how-to site and gallery. Invisible Light Andy Finney's comprehensive IR site, featuring some very interesting false-color IR tricks and Hoya R72 examples. Page Index | Topic Index

IR Information Kodak's infrared photography tutorialthis easy-to-read science fair primer is brimming with practical information on film-based grayscale and color IR photography, most of which translates directly to the digital side. Photo TidbitsAndrzej Wrotniak's digital photography site is full of IR information, including sensitivity comparisons for many Oly cameras. Jens Roesner's digital IR sitestill under development but already brimming with valuable practical information on IR work with Oly digitals and the Minolta Dimage 7. Infrared Photography FAQClive Warren's film-oriented but fact-filled compendium of IR details. Infrared Photography on the C-2000ZTony Collins' worthwhile IR contribution, practical as always, with some beautiful samples to boot. Light and Colora fabulous optics primer developed for microscopists but fully applicable to digital photography. The Java simulations alone are worth the trip. Light Measurement HandbookAlex Ryer's thorough, well-illustrated and surprisingly readable on-line treatise on the properties, behavior and measurement of light.Why a Color May Not Reproduce Accuratelya Kodak Technical Data bulletin.

Why a Color May Not Reproduce Accuratelya Kodak Technical Data bulletin. Willem-Jan Markerink's Photo Homepagea decidedly eclectic site with lots of information on filters and photographic optics, with an emphasis on IR and UV photography. Page Index | Topic Index

Suppliers B&H Photo if they don't have it, or can't get it for you, I'd seriously consider giving up. eBay the IR aficionados' best bet for legendary IR cameras like the Oly C-2020Z and the Nikon CoolPix 950. Neat Image sophisticated yet affordable noise reduction software with few equals. The Filter Connection a good source for IR and other exotic filters, filter information and filter-related camera accessories, including lens hoods and multicoated filter cleaners. Best of all, you even can discuss your filter purchases with a real live knowledgeable human!

Digital SLR Camera Notes IR photography using a modified digital camera is more complex than most people realize. If you understand the IR camera, sensor, and lens interactions better, you will be able to take better photographs. To start, the camera, sensor and lens were designed to function well as a system in the visible light range. The system may perform much differently when modified to take infrared pictures. 1: Camera: All cameras are designed to focus sharply in the visible range. The optimal focus point in infrared is slightly different in infrared. Older lenses often had a red dot on the focusing ring that was the point the user was to turn the lens after visible focus was achieved when using infrared film. Most lenses today have omitted the infrared focus dot. Another way to achieve correct focus is to move the sensor in the camera backwards to compensate for the IR focal shift. On our infrared enabled cameras, we modify the camera so that the camera will focus correctly in IR when using a standard lens focusing in visible light. 2: Sensor: All digital color cameras and camcorders have an IR Cut Filter (ICF) in the optical path because the image sensor color dies that separate color open up in the infrared range to varying degrees. You can see how the color dies open up in the visible and infrared ranges Here. When we modify a camera, we open the camera up, remove the ICF , replace the ICF with a 715nm IR filter and modify the Auto Focus function so that the camera focuses correctly in the infrared band. You can shoot at any F-Stop with any lens. The camera is modified in a Class 100 clean room with ionized air and static control surfaces. Most current digital SLR cameras incorporate the Anti-Aliasing Filter (AAF) with the IR cut filter in a 3 glass sandwich. When we remove the ICF, the AAF is also removed. This means that the camera will be susceptible to Moir patterns under certain conditions such as photographing a screen door. Another term for the AAF is a Blur Filter because the filter is blurring the high frequency visual information from reaching the sensor. Basically, the idea is to introduce enough blur to the image that any repeating patterns are wider than the pixel spacing on the sensor. Aliasing occurs when the visual pattern from the image matches a multiple of the spacing of the pixels on the sensor. When a repeating image pattern matches the sensor pixel spacing, you get doubling and subtracting effects that give you a Moir patterns. The upside of removing the AAF is that the camera will take slightly sharper pictures at the expense of possible moir patterns. For landscape photographers, this is a tradeoff well worth making since they would rather get the sharpest image possible from the camera. Some of our customers have used our IR+Visible converted cameras for normal photography because of the increased resolution possible. 3: Lens: Camera lenses are designed to be sharp with correct color registration, no barrel distortion, hot spots and such in the visible range. The lens may perform much differently in the infrared range. Keep in mind that lenses are not designed for the infrared, so you should experiment with your lenses to learn how to get the best performance from your lens. We have seen excellent visible light lenses perform poorly in infrared which is not a fault of the lens, camera or conversion. It is simply that the lens was not designed for the infrared. Common distortions in infrared: Barrel distortion: Wide angle lenses (e.g. 10-22mm zoom) can have out of focus pictures around the corners. The wider the angle, the worse the problem usually is. Infrared Registration: Lenses are designed to that the Blue, Green and Red (400nm to 700nm) colors all come into focus in the same spot. Infrared light from 700nm to 1100nm may not focus as sharply. For instance 700nm may register in a slightly different spot than 1100nm light which will cause a loss of sharp focus. Infrared Hotspots: Lenses are usually coated with anti-reflection coatings to minimize the effects of light bouncing inside the camera. Light may bounce off the silver colored image sensor and/or between lens elements. Infrared hotspots will usually be worse at small apertures (High F-Stops) and at full zooms on zoom lenses. Lens designers rarely care about infrared reflection problems since the ICF is blocking IR from the sensor. To minimize IR hotspots, shoot with a wider aperture and wider lens. Getting The Sharpest Picture Before doing serious work with your camera in infrared, you should take some test pictures using various lenses, zoom setting and F-Stops. Learn what works for your camera and lens combinations first. In general, our observations are:

Aperture: Contrary to common knowledge, your sharpest picture will usually occur at the widest or 1 to 2 F-Stops from the widest aperture setting. While small apertures give you the greatest depth of field, the small apertures also increase Lens Diffraction. Furthermore, any dust spots, IR glass imperfections will be much more visible. Our modified cameras are designed to work at all F-Stops. Only use small apertures if necessary. Wide Angle Lenses: Please test any wide angle lenses. Look especially around the corners to see if you are experiencing barrel distortion. If you have a lens with barrel distortion in the infrared, there is not much of a solution other than using a different lens. Exposure Compensation: Infrared data comes in primarily on the Red Channel Because of this, cameras will sometimes over expose the red channel. Try shooting with -1 or -2 stops of exposure compensation. White Balance: Try setting a custom white balance with a piece of white paper in outdoor sun. Some cameras such as the Fuji won't allow such a white balance setting, but the Canon cameras are capable. While this won't increase sensor resolution, it will give you close to a black and white picture. Image Size and Format: Shooting RAW will maximize picture information. Processing is best done afterwards on a computer using software such as Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop, users will typically optimize the color channels, desaturate and sharpen the image. A great tutorial on IR post processing is Andy William's technique at http://dgrin.smugmug.com/gallery/1111417 A excellent source for IR photography and post processing is from Lloyd Chambers Guide to Digital Infrared

False Color IR We have had many people inquiring about how to emulate the Kodak Color IR film (CIR) and the discontinued Kodak CIR digital camera. Kodak CIR film is being phased out. Kodak has already stopped the manufacture of CIR film in some sizes such as 70mm. Kodak CIR film has three color emulsions: red, blue and green. The blue channel is open to visible blue and opens up again in the infrared in the 700-800nm range. The red and green channel are not open in the IR range. Because the blue is open to the IR, if you add a blue blocking filter, such as a Wratten 12, the blue channel will see only IR. When the film is developed, the red and green are normal visible color while the blue contains the IR information. Color digital cameras and camcorders that we modify to see IR+Visible light can see IR and visible light simultaneously. The red, blue and green channels see in the visible range, and the red, blue and green channels also see in the IR to varying degrees. This is why a normal, stock camera has an IR Cut Filter (ICF); the IR needs to be blocked on a normal camera so that images look normal. The red channel is the most open in the infrared followed by the green and lastly the blue channel. Please see the graph below that shows a typical image sensor response.

Note that the green and blue channels are a subset of the red channel. The blue and green channels duplicate information in the red channel while the red channel has the greatest information in the IR range (700nm to 1000nm). Because the red and green channels open up in the IR, it is currently not possible to duplicate CIR film with one picture. It is possible to duplicate CIR photography with either two cameras using different filters or one camera taking two shots using different filters. Some customers have created a rig that holds two of the same cameras linked with a simultaneous shutter release. The two cameras are setup so that one takes a normal picture and the other takes an IR picture often using a 715nm filter. After the two images are acquired, the images are usually brought into Photoshop. The normal image blue layer is hidden and the red layer from the IR picture is copied and pasted into the normal image as the new blue channel. This duplicates the Kodak CIR look. Often, users prefer to hide the red image of the visible picture and paste the red from the infrared image into the red channel. This same technique can be used with one IR+Visible camera set on a tripod. The first picture should be using our IR blocking filter XNiteCC1. The second picture can be done with an IR filter, but the most common choice is out XNite715 715nm filter. Sam Outcalt has outlined his method for generating CIR photographs below.

Simulated CIR Images from a Digital Camera S.I. Outcalt

Begin with a typical tripod stabilized visible light image V.

Remove the red from this image by setting the output level of red to zero yielding then rescale the RGB histogram yielding Vbg.

Begin a parallel process by collecting image R with a Hoya R72 deep red filter over the camera lens. Do not disturb the tripod so the scene is a duplicate of the visible light image.

Remove the blue and green from this image by setting blue and green output levels to zero and rescaling the red yielding a pure red image Rp.

Mix layer Rp on background Vgb then adjust the opacity to near 50% producing a CIR Image. Save, close and reopen the CIR image. The CIR image will be dark so the histogram should be rescaled RGB level adjusted to produce an image with pleasing brightness and contrast.

This image is a crude simulation of images collected using CIR positive transparency film with IR enhancement filter.

The image manipulations were accomplished using only the <Levels> and <Layers> controls within Adobe Photoshop Elements. Rescaling is simply the process of expanding the histogram range to cover the entire range of output levels (0-255). Color output is set to zero by moving lower output levels right slider to zero.

In the image above, the bright red orange vegetation reflectance along the ridgeline is produced by the irrigated of lawn trees. There is a shift from red orange to pale orange as draught stress increases decreasing the IR reflectance of chlorophyll.

The following telephoto image was collected in late June of 2006 near Phoenix , Arizona during the period of drought stress which precedes the onset of the summer monsoon.

Note the pronounced down slope transition from bright orange on the irrigated lawn to the down slope natural vegetation.

At lawn scale note the plants in the middle foreground are on a drip irrigation system compared to the trees in the background.

Discovering Infrared Photography In 5 Steps

1. History
In 1800 the English astronomerWilliam Hershelcarried out experiments with light in his lab. A narrow beam of light coming through the hole in thick curtains, was divided into the rainbow spectrum with a prism. Putting down thermometers into different parts of the spectrum, Hershel noticed that the temperature was rising higher near the red end of the spectrum. But the thermometer, which had been put aside, almost in darkness, also was showing the high temperature. The astronomer made a conclusion that, besides the visible light, the sun beam contains one more different emission with strong energy. He called these invisible rays infrared, it means "beyond the red color".

picture bydoc_snyder69
2. IR Filters

In the beginning we should mention that it's almost impossible to dive into the mysterious world of infraredphotography without IR filters. Almost every company, which produces filters, has the IR model in its proposition.

Here are some widespread models:


HOYA RM-72 , HOYA RM-90 TIFFEN 87 B + W 093

They all fit for IR shooting because they let pass the rays from 720 nm and longer. If you don't want to buy an expensive infrared filter, you can make it yourself. Here is thehomemade infrared filter tutorial.

picture byeyetwist(nikon 8700with B+W 089 filter)

3. Your Camera
In order to define if your camera fits the IR shooting, point any remote control to your camera lens in the dark room. It's commonly known that remote control function is based on the IR emission. So if your camera is sensitive to IR rays you'll see the light spot on your display and you can start IR shooting experiments. There are also specialinfrared cameras.

byloupiote (Old Skool). 850nm Infrared-Pass Filter with theSonyF828 in NightShot (Infrared) mode; fish-eye lens.

4.Infrared Shooting Technique

Usually alandscape photographer works during special hours, so called "blue hours". In the morning or in the evening the sun beams draw amazing long shadows and add the volume to the shot. And it's very uneasy to shoot during the daytime. When the sun is exactly above you, it's lighting is very contrasting - so you will lose information in lights and shadows. But if you are the happy owner of IR filter, you definitely won't be bored in the afternoon, because the bright sun is the main source of IR rays.

You don't need to darkenthe skywithNeutral Density (ND) filter, because it will be almost black. The textures will be revealed nicely. Foliage, illuminated brightly, will be very spectacular.


5. Tips for DSLR cameras

Unlike usual digital cameras,DSLR camerashave some problems with sighting and sharpening, as IR filters are non-transparent. It's rather troublesome to do focusing with the IR filter.
1. Set your camera ona tripod, do sighting and framing. Then screw on the IR filter and, 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

finally, shoot. Don't relay on autofocus. It takes into account only rays of visible spectrum, while IR rays are refracted differently. So you may focus with the help of a windowed distance scale, pointing the focus a bit closer than a real distance to the shooting object. Increase Depth Of Field(DOF) with the aperture value close to f/18-22. There is an IR focusing mark on some lenses. Use it, matching it with the distance scale. You should also cover the viewfinder to avoid the additional overexposure. Take several shots with exposure bias value in 1-2 eV, controlling the histogram (especially in the lights). Pay attention to the white balance, if you aren't shootin in RAW (you can easily change white balance preferences in any of RAW-converters).Ideal WB will be set on the illuminated leaves, as it will be much easier to get an appropriate result in infrared post processing, which is the topic of our next article.

byDisGuyLa HOYA RM72 filter and Photoshop.

Read more:http://www.shotaddict.com/tips/article_Discovering+Infrared+Photography+In+5+Steps.html#ixzz2R3WcXP2v

How To Post Process Your Infrared Digital Photos

So, you've already read aboutInfrared Shooting Processand have taken several infrared shots and now ready to post process them in the editor. adjusted during the shooting process or in RAW-converter, and you may get the next variants of images.
White Balance(WB)is

Left upper image is converted from RAW-converter without WB adjusting. On the right upper image WB was set on the leaves in RAW-converter. Two other photos are combined with two upper photos with the help of channels changing.

1. First, open your image in Photoshop and study the channels. As a rule, brightness is kept in the red channel, sharpness- in the green channel and noise- in the blue one, but of course different variants are possible.

the original infrared imageand the edited one

2. After that you can apply Auto Levels option to the image. Image -> Adjustments -> Auto levels or Shift+Ctrl+L 3. Then, go to Image -> Levels (or Ctrl+L) and move the histogram sliders, achieving the acceptable tonal range. Also use the white point picker to point the areas that you know are white, for example clouds.

4. The next step is Channel Mixer. Here you should make the replacement for Red and Blue Channels. It means you choose the Red channel and set 0% for red color and 100% for blue color. Than you go to the Blue channel and set 0% for blue color and 100% for red color.

5. Then we apply Shadow/Highlight to align the tonal range of the image with the settings on the picture. But don't go too far with that, otherwise your image will look unnatural. It's recommended to put Radius about 250-350 px.

If you are not satisfied with the result, you can still change the sliders position in Channel Mixer, until you find the required colors. Infrared Post Processing Tips:

Due to the long shutter speed the Red Channel appears to be very noisy. You can adjust the sky color to become clearer. a.Open your image in the 100% scale. b.Add an adjustment layer Hue/Saturation. c.Move the slider to the right (to the blue color), searching the value, when the noise is less visible (Hue is about +15 to +24).

You also can work with Saturation in any way to change your image as you like. If you increase Sharpness your image will be effective.

Black&White IR Image Editing

I.There's also an easy way to get a black and white photo. AfterLevelsadjustment, go to Channel Mixer and change the settings, having ticked the Monochrome option. After that you can tint your image according to your needs,using any possible method.

II.The second way is a bit more complicated and is mostly used with the shots in the RAW format. Here's what you need to do: 1.Convertyour photo in the RAW-converter, not forgetting about the white balance setting. Point any green leaf with a white picker. 2. Then go toImage -> Levels(ctrl+L),change the histogram, achieving the acceptable tonal range.

3. Transfer your photo in the LAB profile and combine the channels in the Apply Image box just as you like.

4. Get back to the RGB profile and carry out the final editing by the Levels and Shadow/Highlight tools.

Read more:http://www.shotaddict.com/tips/article_How+To+Post+Process+Your+Infrared+Digital+Photos.html#ixzz2R3W1RLjS

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Digital Grin > Tutorials > Photo Manipulation > Infrared Post-Processing

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By Andy. Your IR image, if taken with a traditional 72nm filter, will look something like this. Here we have opened a RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw.

The first step that I do in RAW, is to neutralize the white balance, it really helps the exposure. Note the histogram above, and then here, after I use the grey-dropper (white balance tool in ACR) and click on a neutral grey area.

You can now, if you wish, desaturate in RAW. Or, you can leave it, and go B&W in Photoshop.

If you haven't gone to B&W, you'll want to do Channel Mixer, and modify the red & green channels. Check the monochrome box.

Give Photoshop's Auto Levels a try, you will be pleased with the results!

Let's add some Luminosity Toning. Cmd-Shift-~ (PC: Ctrl-Shift-~) to select the luminosity. Then New Color Fill Layer, choose your color (I like chocolate brown sometimes...)

Change the layer blend mode to "Color" and lower the opacity to taste. I like 15-20%.

Some sharpening, and you're done! gallery pages: 1

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Here's a tutorial http://www.lifepixel.com/tutorials/infrared-photoshop-basics Mark Thomas , Apr 20, 2011; 11:29 a.m. two basic steps I use are 1. swap the red and blue channels in channel mixer i.e. blue 100% red and zero blue and red 100% blue and zero red. 2. using selective colour - go to magnenta and reduce to zero or near zero to get the white foilage. google the subject, there are many good workflows out there. Mark Thomas , Apr 20, 2011; 11:33 a.m. here is a recent IR shot.

Rouge Valley Andrew Miller , Apr 22, 2011; 01:18 p.m. Here is an extract from the Advanced Camera Services web site in the UK which I hope will clarify these points for some people and set them on the road for further exploration of IR. Do not forget that you can write the process as an Action in Photoshop and save it and run it automatically if you wish. Colours & white balance

Using Auto White Balance (AWB), some digital cameras may produce IR images with a strong yellowish/reddish/brownish colour cast known as false colour. This is due to the characteristics of the imager and processing algorithms. Postprocessing in Adobe Photoshop (or similar) is required to remove/reduce this false colour effect. False colour can be removed/reduced by shooting images with Custom White Balance. Using Custom White Balance (CWB) measured on sun-illuminated grass/leaves (a ubiquitous available midtone), IR images tend to appear more monochromatic. When using the Colour mode, random spots of colour (colour artifacts) may occur in images. If the camera has Black-and-White mode, using this mode will eliminate colour artifacts, and may strengthen the monochromatic appearance in IR images. Generally, there are 4 possible combinations of photographic modes to shoot infrared images. Colour mode with AWB Colour mode with CWB B&W mode with AWB (unavailable on some cameras) B&W mode with CWB (unavailable on some cameras) More false colours can happen with other white balance settings such as Tungsten or Fluorescent. Post-processing of IR images Open your IR images in Adobe Photoshop. Click Image > Adjustments > Auto Contrast if your images are underexposed due to the filter. Click Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer. Select Red Channel in Channel Mixer, slide your Red percentage to 0% and Blue to 100%. Now select Blue Channel in Channel Mixer, slide your Blue percentage to 0% and Red to 100%. The basic process is done. You can still further tweak the colours to your desired effect. To enhance whites/highlights: Click Image > Adjustments > Selective Colour. Select Neutrals. Slide the Black to a negative percentage to enhance whites/highlights. Experiment with the Method Relative or Absolute. To obtain a cyan-tint: Click Image > Adjustments > Selective Colour. Select Black. Slide the Yellow to a positive percentage. To obtain a yellow-tint: Click Image > Adjustments > Selective Colour. Select Black. Slide the Cyan to a positive percentage." I hope these simple steps help you to explore Infrared further. DO NOT FORGET -

you can use these steps in either RAW or JPEG. (Try it on a JPEG and then add other filters if you like This shot (JPEG AF-s 17-35 mm Nikkor; 19 mm; 1/125 f5.6; Custom WB. Nikon D100 converted for IR by Advanced Camera Services UK) followed the normal post process above and then had a NikSoftware Tonal Contrast filter applied : Andy M. Andrew Miller , Apr 22, 2011; 01:23 p.m. Here is an extract from the Advanced Camera Services web site in the UK which I hope will clarify these points for some people and set them on the road for further exploration of IR. Do not forget that you can write the process as an Action in Photoshop and save it and run it automatically if you wish. Colours & white balance Using Auto White Balance (AWB), some digital cameras may produce IR images with a strong yellowish/reddish/brownish colour cast known as false colour. This is due to the characteristics of the imager and processing algorithms. Postprocessing in Adobe Photoshop (or similar) is required to remove/reduce this false colour effect. False colour can be removed/reduced by shooting images with Custom White Balance. Using Custom White Balance (CWB) measured on sun-illuminated grass/leaves (a ubiquitous available midtone), IR images tend to appear more monochromatic. When using the Colour mode, random spots of colour (colour artifacts) may occur in images. If the camera has Black-and-White mode, using this mode will eliminate colour artifacts, and may strengthen the monochromatic appearance in IR images. Generally, there are 4 possible combinations of photographic modes to shoot infrared images. Colour mode with AWB Colour mode with CWB B&W mode with AWB (unavailable on some cameras) B&W mode with CWB (unavailable on some cameras) More false colours can happen with other white balance settings such as Tungsten or Fluorescent. Post-processing of IR images Open your IR images in Adobe Photoshop. Click Image > Adjustments > Auto Contrast if your images are underexposed due to the filter. Click Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer. Select Red Channel in Channel Mixer, slide your Red percentage to 0% and Blue to 100%. Now select Blue

Channel in Channel Mixer, slide your Blue percentage to 0% and Red to 100%. The basic process is done. You can still further tweak the colours to your desired effect. To enhance whites/highlights: Click Image > Adjustments > Selective Colour. Select Neutrals. Slide the Black to a negative percentage to enhance whites/highlights. Experiment with the Method Relative or Absolute. To obtain a cyan-tint: Click Image > Adjustments > Selective Colour. Select Black. Slide the Yellow to a positive percentage. To obtain a yellow-tint: Click Image > Adjustments > Selective Colour. Select Black. Slide the Cyan to a positive percentage." I hope these simple steps help you to explore Infrared further. DO NOT FORGET you can use these steps in either RAW or JPEG. (Try it on a JPEG and then add other filters if you like This shot (JPEG AF-s 17-35 mm Nikkor; 19 mm; 1/125 f5.6; Custom WB. Nikon D100 converted for IR by Advanced Camera Services UK) followed the normal post process above and then had a Nik Software Tonal Contrast filter applied : This works for converted cameras and those with filters on - Experiment with the sliders to see what happens. Andy M.

Pergola, Bodnant Gardens - IR

An In-Depth Guide to Infrared Photography: Processing

Chris Swarbrick on Jul 31st 2012 with 17 Comments Tutorial Details Program: Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom Difficulty: Intermediate Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour In part two of our infrared tutorial, youll learn how to process those red eerie images into spectacular false color Infrared photographs to be proud of. Using Photoshop and Lightroom, you will learn how to gradually eke out more detail from your RAW shots, and color them to taste. Lets begin.

Processing infrared (IR) photos is as much a creative process as any other genre of photography, but certain formulas can be applied in IR photography to ensure you get some jaw-dropping photographs. Im going to show you how to process a false-color IR photograph, giving it a yellow and aqua hue, and I will also show you an alternative. Bear in mind there are many other colors you can process IR photos into that look equally stunning, such a Red/Blue.

Alternative Processing Styles.

1. Converting To DNG
To process your shots, I would first recommend you download DNG Profile Editor from Adobe Labs (free after registering). This program allows you to create a profile for your camera to use in Camera Raw and Lightroom, or any other program that accepts these types of profiles. It also allows you to go beyond the normal white balance value thresholds, allowing you to cool the image down significantly more, which is especially important to obtain the correct colors. Alternatively, you can also use Nikon View/Capture and Canon DPP, as they will allow for greater white balance adjustments as standard, still not as much as a custom profile however. To create a profile, first convert one of your RAW files to DNG format. This can be done in Lightroom in the export pop-up menu, or by using the Export to DNG command after right-clicking a photo. This will only need to be done once. You do not need to convert all your photos to DNG format, as once the profile has been created, it can be applied to any other RAW format.

The DNG option.

2. Calibrating The Profile

After DNG Profile Editor has downloaded, run the program and open your newly converted DNG shot by going: File > Open DNG Image After it opens, click on the Color Matrices tab. The bottom set of the 4 slider sets, called White Balance Calibration, allows you to alter the white balance of the image. Scroll the temperature slider all the way to the left (cooler) side. It should make your bright red shot turn into a brown/orange color.

Sliding the temperature scale to the coolest point.

2. Exporting The Profile

Now, go-to: File > Export [Name of camera] profile, and save the .DCP file to this directory. On Windows 7, make sure you enter your Windows profile name inside [NAME-OF-USER]. Remove the square brackets too. Windows 7: C:\Users\[NAME-OF-USER]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles For Mac: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/CameraProfiles: Give it as sensible name, such as [Camera name] 720nm IR Profile.

The file path and file format of the profile.

3. Activating The Profile in Lightroom or

Camera Raw
Now open Lightroom or Camera Raw. In this example, I will use Lightroom, but the steps are interchangeable as the interface and controls are almost identical.

Navigate to the Camera Calibration Tab. Under the Profile heading, click the Adobe Standard dropdown and select your new profile. Scrolling back up to the white balance slider under the Basic tab, you will notice you now have a much larger threshold for changing the White Balance.

Activating the profile.

4. Adjusting White Balance

Scroll the temperature slider to around the middle of the bar and scroll the tint to around the same place, adding a little bit more magenta. See the screenshot for some idea of the color to aim for. You can also use the eyedropper to aid correcting the white balance

Correcting the white balance.

5. Other Exposure adjustment

Now adjust the rest of the photo to suit your vision. Be sure to add a lot of contrast and boost the blacks as IR photos can look a little flat straight out of the camera. Using the Tone Curve is also a great way to add contrast and tonality to your images. Saturating colors to around +20 on the slider gives a great punch to the colors, but dont go too far, otherwise they will clip. Save back to RAW (original in the export menu), remembering to change file names so you dont overwrite your original photo.

Adjusting other parameters and exporting back to RAW format.

6. Channel Mixing in Photoshop

Now import the image into Photoshop. Here you need to make adjustments to the Channels, Levels and HSL. First, to get the aqua sky and yellow foliage, go to the Channel Mixer: Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer. Now swap the red channel with the blue channel, and the blue with the red. In the Output Channel, select the color red. In the Source Channels, set the red channel to 0%, and the blue channel to 100%. Then select the blue channel in the Output Channel drop down. In the Source Channels, set the red channel to 100%, and the blue channel to 0% and hit OK.

Channel mixing.

7. Levels & Other Adjustments

Next go to Image > Adjustments > Levels Select the red channel and reduce the Highlights slider around 30 points to bring out some red in the foliage. Then drop the Mid-Tones slider (slide to the left) and increase the value around 20 points to bring out even more color. Select the blue channel. Increase the Mid-Tones value (slide to the right) and decrease the value around 30 points. Then increase the Blacks slider by around 10 points. You should end up with an aqua sky and yellow foliage. If you want to play around with the colors, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Play with the hue slider to get some really striking combinations of colors, and adjust the saturation to suit. This is your opportunity to go wild, be creative and make your photograph truly unique.

Adjusting the levels.

8. An Alternative Processing Style in

Another processing style to try is to make foliage pure white, and leave the strong aqua and blue tones in the image. This makes the image really stand out and gives the photo a haunted sense. You can do this after doing the steps above, or for speed, just simply start this step straight after you mix the channels as detailed above. After Channel Swapping, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Select the reds Channel from the drop-down box. (The default value is Master). Now, click on the eyedropper icon (circled in the picture) and select a red/magenta/brown area of the photo. Use the Saturation slider to de-saturate some of the tones in the image. Should any color be left in this red/magenta/orange/brown tonal range, select the Eyedropper icon with the + symbol next to it (circled in the picture). This adds to the colors which have already been selected. Remember to adjust exposure and contrast after this step to suit to make it pop.

Alternative processing style.

Conclusion and Final thoughts

So you know what to look for when buying, how to set up your camera, and how to take and process those flat monotone images into something special that stands out. The last thing I can suggest is to experiment with settings and subjects, and youll find that not only will you progress you skills in IR photography, but you will find yourself shooting in IR a lot more often than you thought. It can become quite addicting because of how fun it is! Be sure to post some links to your shots in the comments below. Thanks for reading this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it and learnt a lot.

Final Image

The final image.

How Does Digital Infrared Work? March 8th, 2006 | Add a Comment 0 in Share How is it that you can put an infrared filter on the front of effectively all digital cameras and get an IR image? In this article we set out to examine how this happens and how to interpret the results. All digital image sensors are sensitive to more than visible light. They have extended sensitivity in both the UV and IR bands. Because of the IR sensitivity, all modern digital cameras have some sort of IR blocking filter (hot filter) mounted in front of the CCD/CMOS sensor. This will block, to varying degrees depending on how aggressive the camera maker wants to be, some of the IR getting to the sensor. This filter sits in front of the sensor with its integrated Bayer filter of red, green and blue (usually) dyes.

In practice, the hot filter on almost all digital cameras does not completely block IR. This means it is possible to get a shot, just that on cameras with more aggressive hot filters the exposure times can be long. The trend has been to more aggressive IR blocking filters over time. This is why some dedicated digital infrared photographers hang onto older cameras or seek them out secondhand. An alternative with newer cameras is to have the hot filter removed by a camera technician, though it must be replaced with some piece of glass of appropriate thickness so that focusing is not affected. There are companies that will perform this service for you, either replacing the blocking filter with clear glass or with a suitable visible light-blocking filter, like an R72. The advantage of removing the blocking filter are much shorter exposure times that make wedding and portrait photography, for example, possible, as well as handheld landscape work. Whether you have a camera with its standard IR blocking filter or a modified camera with clear glass inserted, you will need to mount an IR filter on the lens. These filters block all or most of the visible light spectrum so that you are illuminating the cameras sensor with mostly IR light. A very popular one, and the one I currently use, is the Hoya R72. This filter blocks all the blue and green light but admits some red along with the IR. This is why you can just see through the filter if you hold it up to a very bright scene. Other alternatives, like the Tiffen #87 and the various Wratten filters cut off all the visible light and varying parts of the near infrared. You can expect exposure times to lengthen but the IR effect to become more pronounced as you move to the stronger filters. Whichever filter you use will preclude using the viewfinder for framing on dSLRs. Compact digitals that have a live preview on the LCD on the back of the camera (and this includes the new Olympus E-330 dSLR) will allow framing using the LCD. Plus cameras with an optical viewfinder will, naturally, allow you to still use that. This can mean that the rangefinder digitals, like the Canon G series or the Olympus C family are easier to use than an SLR in some ways. Two issues that concern many beginner digital infrared photographers are perceived focus and exposure difficulties. In practice, neither is an issue. In all the digital camera cases I have tested, auto-focus works fine. It is my belief that because the autofocus system uses sensors with effectively the same IR sensitivity as the main imaging sensor, that the cameras automatically compensate for any focus shift. In situations where this is not the case, it seems that the natural depth of field of the camera at shooting aperture handles any miss focus. This may not apply for IR macro photography, though I have not experimented with this to a significant extent, but will for a future article.

Exposure is also not a great issue in practice and something that can be worked out very quickly with a particular camera through a bit of testing. Many digital cameras I have tested will get a correct exposure automatically. Others need some overexposure compensation dialed in. This is the case where the same IR blocking filter does not affect both the exposure-metering sensor and the sensor, and thus there is a mismatch. On such cameras a couple of stops of over-exposure (as indicated) will usually do the trick. On some other cameras, like my Canon 350D, there is such a mismatch between the imaging and exposure sensors that you must use manual exposure mode. This is also rarely a problem. The approach I take is this. Having set the camera on manual and with the camera tripod mounted, I set a moderate aperture (say f5.6) and a one second exposure and take a shot. With the camera set to show the image on the LCD after capture and, ideally, with a histogram superimposed, it is very easy to determine if you have the exposure right. Based on the histogram I adjust the exposure up or down and reshoot until I get a histogram that

shows no highlight or shadow clipping and basically a bell curve in the middle of the display. Such an image can be readily improved in Photoshop to make the highlights white(ish) and the shadows black(ish). The brackets are there because you may well not wish to pin them to the maximum and minimum points for aesthetic and printing reasons. Having locked in a reasonable starting exposure (you may want to adjust this, but we will cover that later), you can happily shoot away. I find that once I have a full sun exposure, say, for a camera, I can simply use that each time in similar conditions or I use it as a starting point in varying conditions. Once you start getting reasonable images you will probably find that the color is red(ish). What is going on? The color effect that you see in digital IR shots taken with the Hoya R72 and some other filters is a result of the camera still having the red, green, blue (usually) Bayer filter in place. This cannot usually be removed as it is built into most sensors during manufacture. The red color is also caused, if using the R72, by the fact that it allows through some visible light at the red end of the spectrum. While camera manufacturers seem strangely reticent about the topic, sensor manufacturers have to make public some of the information we need. Thanks to Bob McKeever of Kodak Image Sensor Solutions, we have the graph shown below for one of Kodaks linear sensors. Whilst this is specific to a Kodak sensor, you could expect similar curves from other sensors. You can see that as we move above 750 nm the red filter is letting through all the IR, so the red filter IR sensitivity matches the sensors unfiltered sensitivity. But also both the green and blue filters, which were sitting at effectively zero transmission through the later part of the red spectrum start to admit more light as we move into the IR until they meet the red and allow the sensor to be as sensitive as it would be unfiltered. Now of course if the camera has an IR blocking filter it will be reducing the IR getting through, but this will affect all color channels equally (effectively). The fact that all the color channel filters are effectively transparent to IR above a certain point is the explanation of why many cameras produce a monochrome image when using some of the heavier IR filters.

The faint dotted blue line is the natural sensor sensitivity.

So, what do you do if you are shooting with an R72 or another filter that creates a color image? Well, as you can see from the graph above, the three color channels are capturing somewhat different parts of the IR spectrum. The red channel will be capturing the widest part, the green less and the blue the least, assuming your cameras sensor follows the above pattern. So the easiest approach is to pick whichever channel gives you the result you want and use that in a convers ion to monochrome. Or you can just do a monochrome conversion from the color image. Whichever of t hese approaches you take, you will generally need to use levels or curves to adjust the image. The options to create a color infrared image are explored in the next article.



Lastly, back to exposure. In the screengrab from Adobes Lightroom below, you can see that, at the bottom is an intensity histogram, which is what you will see on the back of the camera. It looks pretty reasonable, sitting in the middle of the exposure range. However, when you look at the color histogram at the top, you can see that the red is overexposed whilst the green and blue are in the middle. Depending on your camera you may find that if you intend to use the green or blue channels as the basis for a mono conversion, you may need to overexposure the image as shown on the cameras histogram to put the green or blue channel nicely in the middle of the graph.

Digital Infrared With A Converted Camera

January 27th, 2007 | Add a Comment



Whilst all digital cameras are capable of taking an infrared image if an IR transmitting/visible light blocking filter is used, exposures will be long. Converting a digital camera for IR work solves this and other issues.

All photography in this article is by Wayne J. Cosshall. All rights reserved. It is almost certain that any digital camera you have, whether a compact point and shoot, dSLR or expensive professional model, is capable of taking digital infrared pictures. This is because, whilst all modern digitals are fitted with an IR blocking filter, these filters are not completely IR blocking, allowing some through (see the various IR tests on the DIMi IR page). Thus all we need to do is place a visible light blocking/IR transmission filter, like the Hoya R72 or similar, over the lens and give enough exposure. The IR blocking filter varies in strength from camera to camera. This means that some cameras can just be used handheld, whilst most require a tripod and a full sun exposure of between a second and thirty seconds.

Unconverted 400D means long exposures and motion blur The long exposures inherent to using a normal digital camera for IR produce a beauty of their own. Trees and grass blur in a breeze or wind, water smoothes out and people disappear from city streets. I love this effect myself. However, for some types of photography, these provide a huge limitation. You cant easily shoot people, you are tied to a tripod (sometimes a good thing) and night IR photography becomes a distant wish.

A converted 350D means action photography is possible The solution to all the problems with using an unconverted digital camera for infrared photography is to get it converted. Conversion involves removing the IR blocking filter and replacing it with one of your choice, or a clear glass substitute. A careful

choice must be made here depending on the camera you are getting converted. Removing the IR blocking filter exposes the actual sensor and its full range of sensitivity (which extends from the ultra violet to the infrared).

The sensor can be left free to cover its whole range, in a conversion MaxMax calls an IR+Visible conversion. For compact cameras and the electronic viewfinder digital camera you get full autofocus functionality. With a dSLR you will only get autofocus working correctly over one band, usually visible. Many people interested in the conversion for astrophotography and other types of photography take this route, in which a clear piece of glass is inserted in place of the removed filter. Used with no filter you will get normal color images but may get some weird color effects at times due to the capture of UV and IR bands as well. To limit the band you place a filter over the lens. You can get filters to go on the lens that duplicate the characteristics of the old, built-in IR blocking filter or use visible light blocking filters that allow only the UV or IR parts of the spectrum to be imaged. For UV you will need special lenses, as normal glass blocks much of the UV. For IR your normal lenses will do. The only downside is that for IR-only work you must still use a visible light blocking filter, like the R72, on the lens. With a dSLR this will mean that you can no longer look through the viewfinder. With a non-SLR digital camera, such as a ZLR (electronic viewfinder camera or a compact) the choice is easier. Since autofocus is handled in a different way than in dSLRs, with compacts you can happily replace the IR blocking filter with clear glass and then use external filters to choose which part of the spectrum to use. With a separate visual viewfinder for framing, or with the live preview coming from the imaging sensor, you are free to frame your shots even with a visible light-blocking filter in place.

There is no need to stick to conventional IR subjects. Be creative For those interested mainly in infrared work, an IR filter (blocking visible light and allowing through infrared), like the Hoya R72, can be inserted. This has the huge advantage of allowing you to see through the viewfinder of a dSLR whilst still shooting only in the infrared. The disadvantage is that you can no longer use the camera for normal, visible light photography.

Shooting people you know well, like my daughter shown here, is very disconcerting in IR, as their looks will change

The results of the conversion are certainly worth it. My 350D before conversion had exposure times in full sun of 1 second and f8 at 100ISO with a Hoya R72 filter. After conversion exposure times in similar lighting became 1/500 second at f8 and 100ISO. With some digital SLRs having full sun exposure times, unconverted, of 30 seconds at f2.8 and 100ISO, you can see the potential for improvement. Reduced exposure times mean reduced noise in the images too. Now I have the choice of handholding or not. So you need to decide what shooting is most important to you and thus the type of conversion that is required.

Another side effect of the conversion is to do with lenses. Before the conversion, I found some lenses created a hotspot when shooting with a Hoya R72 filter fitted for infrared photography. Since the conversion, I have found that these lenses do not create a hotspot. This makes sense. In the conversion, the so called hot filter, or infrared blocking filter, is removed. This filter is usually a dichloric filter, which means it reflects away the unwanted frequencies rather than absorbing them. In this case the reflection is straight into the back element of the lens, from where internal reflections can cause it to bounce back to the sensor, some of it getting through the filter (since none of the filters are completely IR blocking because we can do IR photography). Removing the blocking filter removes this strong source of IR reflection into the back of the lens.

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(or not so slight) blur to the light before it reaches the sensor to minimize aliasing effects. Removing the IR blocking filter removes the anti-moire filter as well. This produces images that are sharper unprocessed than before. The images seem to have a bit more snap and contrast to them, as well. The negative is that the camera can be more prone to moir effects when shooting fabrics, wire mesh, etc.

So, after you have decided whether you want to modify a camera for much better infrared photography, and only you can answer that one, the next question is whether to make the conversion yourself or have someone else do it for you? There are web sites that offer you full instructions on how to do it yourself (links are on the infrared photography special page). There are also individuals and businesses that will do it for you (located with the other links). My 350D was converted byMaxMax.com and I am very happy with the result. The turn around was two days from receipt of the camera to it shipping out. Given the quality of the work, choice of filters to have emplaced and warrantee on their work, the conversion cost is not at all unreasonable, and I would not hesitate to use them for a future camera conversion.

My advice is to try infrared photography with an unconverted digital camera and something like a Hoya R72 filter, if you havent already done so. Push IR photography as far as you can with the gear you have. Then you will know whether you are really keen enough about IR to want a converted camera.

For me, a converted camera has been a huge joy. I am in love with infrared photography and adore the freedom that a converted dSLR gives me. You may too.

Shooting Infrared Photography Step By Step November 4th, 2008 | 3 Comments 3 in Share In this tutorial we go step by step through shooting infrared with your normal, unmodified digital camera. Infrared photography is, quite simply, stunning. So it is natural for a photographer to want to give this a go. We cover film infrared photography elsewhere, so here we will concentrate on digital infrared here. Digital camera sensors are sensitive to infrared light. Because of this, camera manufacturers place an IR blocking filter in front of the sensor to improve color rendition by blocking infrared light. These blocking filters are not 100% effective, and so we can still shoot IR. Unfortunately the strength of the filters has been growing over time and so more recent digital cameras have blocking filters that will cause your exposures to be quite long and certainly requiring a tripod.

You will need a filter to block the visible light through the lens and only allow the infrared through. The common one and, in my view, the best one to start with, is the Hoya R-72 filter (for a more extensive discussion, see our article Choosing a Filter for Infrared Photography). This filter lets through a tiny amount of red light but the full range of infrared. Your R-72 filter goes on the lens and thus stops you from seeing through the camera, in the case of an SLR. In many compact cameras the Live View on the LCD with still work and display the scene. With dSLRs with Live View you would expect this to work, but in practice it does not. The only companys camera that has Live View that works with an IR filter attached is Olympus. With their cameras

you will get a darkish but quite workable monochrome view, but you must turn on Live View Boost from the menus.

If you examine the graph above which shows the sensitivity through the Bayer RGB filter that is part of every cameras sensor you will understand why a camera responds the way it does in the

IR. With this Kodak sensor (reproduced with permission from Kodak), we can see that while the red filter remains transparent to light from the red (as you would expect) right through to the IR, this is not true of the other filters. The green and blue filters drop to opaque beyond their range, again as you would expect, but become transparent to infrared above a certain wavelength. Since filters are defined by the point at which their transparency to IR rises to 50%, with this particular filter the green channel acts as if it had a 780nm cutoff filter and the blue as if it had an 800nm filter, approximately. So in a camera with this sensor the red channel will see IR from 720nm on, green from 780nm and blue from 800nm on. This explains why the resulting images from your camera will usually be very red: the camera is capturing more light in the red channel because it can make use of a wider range of IR light and covers an area where the sensor is more sensitive to IR, which the green and blue will be less so. This obviously varies from sensor to sensor because of the different dyes used in manufacturing the Bayer filter.

What this means in practice is that your camera will produce a more extreme infrared effect (darker skies, more contrast) in the green and blue channels than in the red.

The fact that the three color channels will see different parts of the infrared spectrum (depending on the filter you put on the lens) means that there is some residual information you can exploit for false color infrared, if you wish to. We will look at this in the companion article Processing Infrared Photography Step By Step.

The above difference between the three-color channels in how much of the infrared spectrum they see means that there is a significant difference in exposure between the three when you take a photograph. In many cameras I have tested there is approximately a 2.5 stop difference in exposure between the red and the green channel. Because most infrared scenes will, with an unconverted camera, not use the full tonal range the camera can capture, you will end up with a lump on each channel that does not cover the whole range (see the histogram below). This lack of use of the full range means that you will normally, in processing later, need to do a Levels adjustment and stretch the tones out. If you are primarily stretching the image data up to create a white you will also be magnifying the image noise. So to create a good image for later work you will wish to expose your image to the maximum possible level without white clipping occurring. That means you need to choose which channel is most important to you, the red, with a more moderate IR effect but the highest exposure, or the green, with a stronger IR effect but requiring a longer exposure, and thus more noise.

Once you have determined the above you can start shooting. Framing is an issue with dSLRs (as well as film SLRs for IR work). With the filter on you cannot see. There are three possible solutions to this issue: Use an external viewfinder mounted on the hotshoe for framing; Frame by guess and then refine once you have taken a shot; Frame the camera and then screw on the filter. Personally I do not like the last one because there is too much handling of the filter and thus more risk on dropping it or marking it. I prefer the guess approach, so let me illustrate that below.

Setup the camera on your favorite tripod, with a cable release (you can use the self timer if you do not have one) and the R-72 or similar filter on the lens. Point the camera by eye and set a starting field of view if using a zoom lens. Take a shot. Look at the result and change the setup if the framing does not please. Remember to use the eyepiece blind or little plastic thing on the camera strap to cover the eyepiece. There is the risk of light leaking in and fogging part of the image. Determining your exposure is an easy process. Depending on how recent your camera is, set a starting exposure of somewhere between a second (older camera) to 15 seconds (newer camera), f4 and 100 or 200ISO. Take a shot. Adjust the display on the LCD screen so that a histogram is also displayed if your camera is capable of doing so (normally done by cycling through the modes with the display button, but check the manual). If you can display individual channel histograms adjust your exposure up or down to put the desired channel as close to the right of the histogram as you can without clipping. If your camera only displays one, combined, histogram if you place the right of the histogram up near the right of the graph you will be properly exposing the red channel. Find by experiment how many stops from this you need to shift to correctly place the green channel. If no histogram can be displayed you must do it from the image. If the result is very bright red but with no obvious clipping then you are exposing the red channel properly. Again, experimentation will show you how much you must shift from this to get the green right. This will result in an over exposed red image showing lots of white, on the LCD.

With most dSLRs I have tested you will get a decent result with autofocus. This is because, with the R-72 filter on the lens, only IR light is going into the camera and so the sensor must focus using this light. I would advise using a moderately stopped down aperture if the exposure sensitivity permits. What I mean here is that many cameras only allow you to set a shutter speed up to 30 seconds. If your camera requires a full sun exposure of 30 second, f2.8 and 100ISO, then you want to stop down further you will need to either use bulb and using a watch or stopwatch time the exposure or increase the ISO, which may not be desirable to you because of a rise in noise. Remember that (see the separate article on Diffraction Effects) blurring occurs faster as you stop down to really small apertures in infrared than it does in the visible. So I rarely go below f11. Again you need to take some shots and then look at them at 100% in Photoshop to see how well the focus works. Manual focusing can be hard with dSLRs because many of the lenses no longer show and IR red focus line. If you have a lens with this mark you can, of course, focus without the filter, then attach it and adjust focus.

Dont be surprised if, when you examine your images either on the LCD or back home on the computer, that they feature a central glow or low contrast, fogged looking area. Many lenses do not perform well in IR, at least on unconverted cameras. Since the IR blocking filter in the camera is one that reflects away the IR light rather than absorbing it, the majority of the IR getting through your R-72 filter will be reflected back at the lens. This IR will reflect around and, because the multi-coatings may not be designed to handle IR, eventually find their way back to the sensor, causing a central spot. Some lenses will only do this at certain zoom settings or certain apertures. If you have a lens which does this badly the only real solution is to buy a different lens. See the reference lists elsewhere on this site for our listings and those on other sites. You will also find that your camera is more sensitive to lens flare in IR than in visible light. So you need to be more careful about effective lens shades and how you point the camera, unless you like this effect. Thats about it for the shooting. See the companion article on Processing Infrared Photography Step By Step.

Processing Infrared Photography Step By Step November 4th, 2008 | 5 Comments 0 in Share In this tutorial we go step by step through the processing of infrared images from an unconverted digital camera. Once you have shot infrared images with your digital camera you will need to do some processing to make them useable. In this article we will go step by step through the process, showing the options you have as you go. The processing of digital infrared images is one that offers huge and almost infinite creative options. While this tutorial is illustrated by screenshots from Adobe Photoshop CS4, all these techniques can be done in CS3 and most can be done in earlier versions of Photoshop and in other programs, like Paint Shop Pro. So if you use one of these you will be able to do these processes, just the details of the exact commands will vary.

As we saw in the previous article, Shooting Infrared Photography Step By Step, your images will look very strange straight from the camera. You have two different directions you can take: produce a monochrome image or go for a false color image. We will examine these separately. Monochrome image Approach 1 If you have chosen a single channel to expose for when you were shooting, the first approach option is to do a monochrome conversion from just your chosen channel.

Open your image in Photoshop, if necessary doing any adjustments you want in Adobe Camera RAW. Remember that you may be able to claw back any burned out highlights or blocked up shadows with the exposure, recovery and blacks sliders.

It is better to setup ACR to pass a 16-bit image to Photoshop as this will give you more headroom to make adjustments without adversely affecting tonal graduation.

Now open up the channel palette and select just the channel you wish to use.

If you use Image -> Mode-> Monochrome Photoshop will convert your image to monochrome using just the one channel.

You will probably find your image is a bit flat. So the first step is to adjust the black and white points. Use Levels to do this. You can set the black and white points to whatever you want. So you can maintain full control over the highlights and shadows and just how they look. Note that I position the dialog so I can still see the histogram panel while I make the adjustments to ensure I am not going to introduce clipping.

At this point you can take the image anyway you like, such as by applying curves to increase contrast where you want it or doing local adjustment using dodge and burn or other approaches.

Approach 1a Simulate Halation Many people like the glowing highlights look that came about with Kodak Highspeed Infrared Emulsion because of its lack on an anti-halation coating. You can simulate this with the following approach. Duplicate the image layer by dragging it to the New Layer icon.

Apply a pretty heavy Gaussian Blur filter to this duplicate layer.

Now change the blending mode of the top, blurred, layer to Lighten or to another mode that works for you. Lighten will simply apply the glow to the highlights without blurring the shadows.

You can then use opacity to control the degree of the effect.

Another alternative is to add a Layer Mask to this blur layer.

Then paint into the layer mask where you want to hide or reduce the effect.

Approach 2 You can choose to combine the channels rather than select just one to do the BW conversion. Open your image up in Photoshop and do an individual channels level adjustment by either selecting one channel at a time in the Channels palette and then Levels.

Do Image -> Adjustments -> Black & White

Now you can mix the channels together and see the result in the main image window.

Color Image Approach 1 Using a single image we can create false color. Open the image up in Photoshop.

Do an individual Levels on each channel. You can do this by selecting each channel one at a time in the Channels palette or by using the facility of the Le vels dialog to work on individual color channels.

This gives you an image with subtle color

At this point you can leave it like this or further develop the image. One way to develop further is to increase the color saturation or vibrancy to make the subtle color more obvious.

You can perform channel swaps to shift the color. Say you want to swap red and blue channels. You can click on the red channel. Do a Select All and then copy to the clipboard.

Click on the New Channel icon in the Channels palette and paste the red channel in there.

Then copy the Blue channel and paste it in the Red.

Then copy the temporary channel (what was the Red) into the Blue and delete the Alpha 1 temporary channel.

Further adjustments can be made to individual channels, such as here where by lightening the red channel I add more obvious red to the image.

There are, of course, many other ways to add false color in Photoshop, such as by using the channel mixer.

Approach 2 An innovative solution to creating false color images, that look somewhat like the old Infrared Ektachrome false color film IR images did, requires that you take two images. One image should be a normal, visible light image without your infrared filter and the second is an infrared image. Life is much easier if these are both shot on tripod and in alignment, so care should be taken when you attach the IR filter. The approach is to open both images in Photoshop and swap channels from the infrared image into the color one. To create the classic Ektachrome effect it is generally the red or green IR channel that you move into the red channel of the color image, to turn the foliage red. But other possibilities also exist for other effects. Now because of the channel swapping between the two images you need to be careful of either camera or subject movement between the two shots, so you would wish to do this as quickly as possible. With landscapes, days of high wind can be a problem, as can other causes of movement, such as cars, people, etc. The specific sequence of steps is shown below: Select the images you will use in Bridge, Photoshop or some other program.

Now you will have your two images open in Photoshop.

Select the individual channel in the IR image that you want to use. In this case I am using the green channel. Do a Select All and then copy it to the clipboard.

Select the channel you want this put into, usually red, and do a Paste.

Now examine just the colored image to see if there is any misalignment.

If there is a misalignment select just the red channel (but make sure the other channels are visible by clicking on the eye next to each channel) and use the move tool to move the red layer into alignment. This is often more easily done at 100% and focusing on a distant part of the scene that does not move.

And this is the result.

Other results are possible depending on the actual IR channel you choose. Here I have used a red channel. You can see the interesting color effects you get when things like leaves move.

Here are a couple of other examples

Remember you are not limited to RGB. Here we have the color image in LAB mode and I paste the IR image into the L channel.

And here into the a channel.

I hope you have found this article useful and will get you going on working with a subject that is my passion, digital infrared photography.

Post-Processing Infrared Photographs in Photoshop

I have recently become interested in Infrared Photography and I had a bit of trouble finding good ways to post-process my IR photos. So, here is my method to editing those starkly red/magenta photographs! This is the before/after shot:

Infrared Post-Processing Infrared photography is a special technique in which you use an Infrared Filter, which you attach over your lens like any other lens filter then take an exposure using a fairly long shutter speed (dependent on light source).

The IR-Filter blocks all other light and allows only Infrared light to pass through onto your sensor/film. The photograph you end up with has a very red/magenta Hue, which now presents us with the task of post-processing the photograph to create an interesting representation of our world in Infrared light. Please be aware that not all cameras are ideal for infrared photography, mainly due to the strong IR filters already within the camera designed to protect the cameras sensor. To test whether your camera is ideal or not, simply grab a remote control with an IR transmitter (most TV remotes), and switch to your live view mode. Aiming the remote at your camera while pressing the buttons, you should notice the purple colour of the remote transmitter light. The intensity will vary for every camera, however put simply the greater amount of light that you see the better your camera is for Infrared photography. Ive done this Photoshop : 1. Starting Firstly open your raw IR photograph in Photoshop If you use the raw editing interface it is very easy to reduce the red this should open automatically when opening your raw file through Photoshop In Camera Raw 5.0/6.0:

Choose custom White Balance, and set the Temperature to 2000 Adjust the Tint to full green -150, if needed: Adjust the Saturation (Bottom) I have reduced mine by -56 You can do minor adjustments in Camera Raw, or just leave and open up the image I also recommend looking at the HSL/Grayscale (fourth tab) options for further refinement, adjusting the Hue especially! At this point I had done most of my editing and was reasonably happy with the result! You might as well!

Camera Raw Adjustments (Click to view larger) 2. Channel Mixer (recommended)

Now, we need to change the colours Red and Blue by colour swapping: Go, Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer

Swap Red to Blue: 0%, 0%, 100%

Channel Mixer Red (Click to view larger)

Swap Blue to Red: 100%, 0%, 0%

Channel Mixer Blue (Click to view larger) 2.b. Inversion Layer A simpler method is to duplicate the original, then invert the duplicate, and set to color blend:

Duplicate Layer, Invert layer, go Image > Adjustments > Invert (Cmd/Ctrl + I) And set to Color blend mode:

Invert Layer Colour Blend (Click to view larger) 3. Hue Shift

Now colouring your photograph with a simply Hue Shift: Go, Image > Adjustments > Hue (Cmd/Ctrl + U) And slide to your desired colour:

Hue Shift (Click to view larger) 4. Levels

Now, use levels to correct the whites, go Image > Adjustments > Levels (Cmd/Ctrl + L) Either clicking Auto Levels will work or using the white point sampler on grass, leaves will do the job:

Levels adjusting Whites Result:

Thats it :)! If you get stuck anywhere just comment below! If youd like to use these photographs please Contact Me! Please comment below if you have any questions and Ill answer them ASAP! All images on this site are copyrighted All Rights Reserved.
Related Posts

Post Processing your IR Image - Simplified! I get a lot of requests and questions on the subject of Post Processing the IR Image once it's been captured by the Digital Camera. It's a subject that can be very difficult to provide an answer to without going into a long drawn out detailed explaination. Up to this point, I have generally avoided the subject, but it's obvious that with the "Beginners Section" almost fleshed out, it is time to address this, the other half of IR Photography. No one I know ever leaves their images unchanged straight out of the camera. They all do quite a bit of post processing to get the stunning results that you see. I do have a couple of links in my Useful Links Section. One has steps for a monochrome conversion, and one with Red/Blue Channel swap steps to get False Color IR images. Useful Links One thing's for certain, after the Image is taken with the camera, the creative process really just begins. There are as many workflows and creative styles for IR Post Processing as there are IR Photographers. People really develop their distinctive and artistic styles in the image editors. Just take a look at the Featured Photographer Section to get an idea of what is possible and just how diverse the results can be. There is no way I can cover all the possible ways to Post Process your IR image in one post article, so I have decided to put together a simplified work-flow that I often use to produce Black and White IR Pictures. There are so many individual ways to do this that I must emphasize that there are alternatives to every step that I present, so use your favorite editor and editor methods. I've found a free plugin that works with most of the major editors, that makes quick work of the conversion to Black and White. It offers a great degree of control, as well as quite a number of toning options in addition to monochrome. Links - Related to IR Photography - Visit Often! Refer links that you find useful and that you would like to see added to this list. Send the the URL via comments to this post, or to my email address, listed below. Content on the web comes and goes, and sometimes moves. If you notice any link that does not work, please notify me for removal or correction. My Personal Editorial Comment: Although a lot of good information about shooting Infrared Photography has been published on the Internet, and a lot of it is found in the following URLs, make sure that you do your own comprehensive review of the information available to you. In my own experience, much of the information out there on the world wide web is useful and accurate, some of it is only the opinion of the presenter, some of it is not necessarily wrong, but it is of little practical use, and only serves to muddy the waters, and finally, some of it is downright inaccurate. So what else is new? Not much, it turns out. One of the primary purposes for the existence of this site is to cut thru the mass of information available, and present relevant information in a simple and understandable manner. End of Comment.

Companies who will Mod your Camera for Infrared

Maxmax Lifepixel Khromagery IRDigital Various Links with Information about Infrared

Infrared Basics Bythom Infrared Black and White Film Digital Infrared Resource Page dpFwiW Photo tidbits infra-red photography Tamron Jim Doty Canon 10D and 20D Surreal Color Photography Sony DSC-F707 Infrared oVan's View


Cavalier Photographic

Links with ideas about Post Processing

Joseph Levy's Post Process Lone Star Digital Infrared Group Forums

Jules Alexander's Yahoo IR Group The Infrared Photography Community 2.0

My email policy: Email me at infraredbuzz at gmail dot com. In order for me to keep valid email messages and dispense with spam you MUSTinclude this "secret handshake" in the subject line. "scooter" (my cat's name). So for example: your subject line would look something like this "scooter hey Jerry I have IR info for you". If I don't see that wordsomewhere in the subject line, into the cosmic bit bucket goes the email, no exceptions (unless I happen to recognize your email addy). Thanks for your understanding. I expect a lot of unfamiliar email traffic. Up Front Disclaimer: I do not have any connection to any person or business listed in any of the Links in this list. I do not receive anything of any monetary value or otherwise from the owners of any of the Links. It is quite possible that I may personally know persons involved with the Links, or I may have done personal business with them in the past. I purchase photography equipment and services just as you do. However, I will not recommend or in any way qualify the information or business practices of the owners of the Links. You, and you alone are completely responsible for making your own decisions in the use of information provided in these Links. -=- Jerry -=-

Virtual Photographer can be found and downloaded at: Virtual Photographer

Be sure to read the instructions for installing the Plugin to your editor while you are at the site. I have found that it works with Photoshop CS2 and various versions of Photoshop Elements.

When you have the plugin downloaded and installed, you are ready to open your image in your editor of choice. I will be using Photoshop CS2 here but, these steps are pretty generic and will work in most all editors. If you happen to prefer an editor that Virtual Photographer does not work with, a bit of searching the internet will turn up numerous ways to convert your image file to Black and White, which you can substitute. Here are the Workflow steps. Nothing presented here is Rocket Science, so if you already know how to do a step, you do not have to click the link. If however you do not know how, I have provided a link with detailed steps. So click or skip, as required. I have chosen a JPG image to work on, it is the most generic output image and not all cameras are capable of producing a RAW file. So, you RAW shooters may just want to review the steps, as you will be able to make some of these adjustments in your RAW editor. My image was not very level. I'm sure that this only happens to me, but just in case you like that one image that you happened to tilt the camera on, here's one way to level it back up. Level the Image

I like to do a quick Contrast Enhancement step on just about all of the images that I post process. The change is not dramatic, actually barely perceptable, but I like what it does, so I include it. Here is the explaination about what is going on from Luminance Landscape. Straighten the Image Yep, my image is certainly tilted to the left or counter clockwise, but I like it enough the salvage it. No problem.

Select Image, Rotate Canvas

Select Arbitrary

This one needs to be rotated Clockwise (to the right). The angle of 3.5 was a guess, try the number that you think is needed and use the Edit, Undo until you get it looking straight. Remember, the image does not have to actually, technically, be straight, it should LOOK straight.

So, now it looks straight. We need to crop the image to remove the rotated corners.

Select the Crop Tool from the Tool Bar, on the left. Look closely for the mouse pointer arrow.

Select as much of the image as you can, removing the rotated corners. You can also crop into the image now, if you want to. You end up with a selected area surrounded by marching ants.

Click on the Crop Tool in the Tool bar on the left once more, and Photoshop opens this dialog box. Select Crop.

There you are, all straight and pretty.

There are a number of alternate ways in Photoshop to straighten and crop an image. If you have an easier way the do the same thing, just use it. I'm attempting to illustrate the basic steps to straighten and crop.

Luminous Landscape Understanding Local Contrast Enhancement A Photoshop Technique Digital image processing is still new enough for most people that no matter how much we read, experiment and work at it, there seems to be an endless amount to learn. This is particularly true as regards Photoshop, that invaluable tool yet also bottomless pit of a time sink. But every now and then a little tidbit comes along that makes ones work either easier or better, and this one, which I call Local Contrast Enhancement is one of the best that I've seen in a while.

I learned of it from Thomas Knoll, a member of a couple of my workshops during 2003, and not-incidently, the original author of Adobe Photoshop and Camera RAW. Thomas says that he certainly didn't develop the technique, but I haven't yet seen or read about it anywhere else, though it appears to have been around for a while. (Below are links to sites contain this and similar techniques that have been brought to my attention since first publication).

Grasses. Mt. Whitney May, 2003 Canon 1Ds with 28-70mm f/2.8L @ ISO 400

The Problem The real world has a much greater dynamic range than does a photographic print. By this I'm referring to the range of brightness encountered from the brightest non-specular highlights in a scene to the deepest shadows. This can be as much as 8 stops, while a typical print on, say, matte paper may only be able to display a 5.5 stops range. Trying to stuff 8 stops into 5.5 stops means that something has to give, and invariably it's the shadow areas. They'll likely be completely lost in a sea of black. But if you try and match the scene's black level to that of the print you'll end up reducing the contrast of the image across the entire dynamic range. One solution is to apply an S-Curve to the image, where you compress the dynamic range both in the highlights and in the shadows so as to provide a greater percentage of the available dynamic range to the mid-tones to which the human eye is more sensitive. But if you do this, while you end up with images containing enough mid-tone contrast, they may lack tonal detail in the shadows and highlights.

The Solution Yes, sometimes there is a free lunch.

Crofts and Waterfall. Iceland July, 2003 Canon 1Ds with 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens @ ISO 200

Detail prior to Local Contrast Enhancement

Detail after Local Contrast Enhancement

There is a simple yet elegant fix for this, and surprisingly it is done by using the Unsharp Mask filter. Heres how to do it, and why it works Think about the way that the eye takes in a wide dynamic range scene. As we look at it we are constantly jumping from area to area, and as we do so our eyes are adapting to the brightness requirements of the subject. Without going into the physiology of it, this is indeed happening at a more fundamental level than simply the eyes iris opening and closing. It turns out though that the eye and brain care more about small scale contrast than large scale contrast. Large scale contrast is that between significant light and dark areas in the image. Small scale or "local contrast" is that between much smaller adjacent areas in the image. Improve this and you've made the shadow and highlight areas (where contrast is most compressed) appear broader. Try the following setting using the Unsharp Mask filter in Photoshop: Amount 20% Radius 50 Threshold 0 The Radius setting is the dividing line between the small scale and large scale contrast differences. Amount is the amount by which you are increasing the small scale differences, and the Threshold is set at zero to minimize artifacts. (This is done as a seperate step from whetever settings you may use within Unsharp Mask for your normal image sharpening). That's it. Try it. Try changing Radius and Amount to see what differences this makes. Use Undo or the History Palette to jump backwards and forwards to see what the effect does. Look at images on-screen at 100% as well as filling the screen. Make prints with and without. Note that this is a subtle effect. Don't expect it jump out and bite you. You wouldn't want this in any event. But when you look at prints side by side, with and without, I think you'll be amazed as well as pleased with the results. Thanks Thomas!

Contrast Enhancement This image, and most all of them out-of-camera really could stand a Levels Adjustment. If you need to know how, click on the link.

Contrast Enhancement Select Filter and unSharp Mask

Enter the Values 20, 50, 0

Adjust Levels Apply the Virtual Photographer filter to make the Black and White Conversion. Adjust Levels Select Image, Adjustments, Levels

Photoshop opens a Histogram.

Select and drag the left arrow to approximately where the histogram curve starts upwards.

The arrow on the right side of the histogram was OK for image. It there is no data like there was on the left side, then drag the arrow to where it starts upwards. Since I did not have to move the right arrow, I went ahead with the next step. I grabbed the center Gamma Arrow and pulled it to the right. Watch the preview, and move the Gamma Arrow to where you like the look of the image. You may not want to move this arrow at all. If your image has the tallest peak right in the center of the Histogram, the gamma arrow placed directly under the peak usually looks very good.

You may or may not want to set White and Black points. You can give them a try and use Undo to remove the change if it does not work well. Notice that the Mouse Pointer is selecting the eyedropper on the right. This eyedropper allows you to set a White Point for the image. Whatever pixel you select in the image will be set to white, and all of the others will be adjusted accordingly. So you want to select an area that you want to be white. Same goes for setting the Black Point. Select an area that you know you want to be Black.

Having selected the White Point eyedropper, I pointed it to the whitest part of the clouds that I could find. My goal was to make the leaves in the trees whiter.

As you can see, selecting the area of the clouds did not affect the image as I wanted, so I again used the tool, this time selecting the lightest point in the tree leaves that I could find. This made the leaves somewhat lighter. Remember the rest of the image is adjusted accordingly. So use this spareingly, and use the Undo if necessary.

I then selected the Black Point eyedropper.

I selected a very dark area above the window for my black point.

Click on OK to accept the changes.

Black & White Conversion I like to make a final Brightness and Contrast Adjustment at this point. Don't use my settings, but experiment with your images. These numbers worked well for this particular image file. Black and White Conversion using Virtual Photographer Select Filter, OptikVerve Labs, Virtual Photographer

The plugin opens.

Cleck the On/Off Box and leave the Original Radio Button selected.

Check the B/W Box, Leave Normal selected.

You can play with the Slider under the Normal Box. I did not make any change this time.

Click on the Process Button. Virtual photographer will convert the image based on your selections. There are a great number of other highly adjustable tones and changes available at the click of a mouse in this plugin. I advise you to take some time to explore this plugin.

Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Finally, you may want to apply a small amount of unSharp Mask to sharpen up the image. Don't go overboard with the sharpening. Preview and Undo until you are happy with the way your own picture looks. Optional Brightness and Contrast Adjustment This step is completely Optional, but one I like to apply. The change is subtle. Select Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast

Set the Brightness to a small negative number (5-10). Set the Contrast to a small positive number (5-10). Preview the image before you accept the change.

Final Sharpen So there you have it. It may seem like a lot of steps, but you may choose to skip some of them based on how your image looks to start with, and just what result you are trying to achieve. You should consider this only the very beginning of your own personal artistic style. Apply a final Sharpen Most images can benefit from a small amount of Sharpening to give them that final Pop. Be sure that you don't over-do the sharpening and cause jpg artifacts, etc. Select Filter, Sharpen, unSharp Mask

unSharp Mask settings that I like to apply to the images from my camera are usually around 50 .4 0. You settings can and will vary depending on your camera and each individual image.

The Finished Product.

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Jerry Kneupper

Sony DSC-F717 1/60s f/2.2 at 16.8mm iso100 nightshot Hoya R72 ND8 full exif Full EXIF Info

Date/Time Make Model Flash Used Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance

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Jerry Kneupper

Around Southlake, Tx. Canon EOS 350D 1/100s f/8.0 at 32.0mm iso100 hide exif Full EXIF Info Date/Time Make Model Flash Used Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance previous | next 20-Jun-2006 05:28:21 Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT No 32 mm 1/100 sec f/8 100 +1 (-1) matrix (5) (6) aperture priority (3)

13-JUN-2004 DSC06208 480x640.jpg Riverside Cemetery, Iredell, Tx Grave Markers

Jerry Kneupper

Sony DSC-F717 1/60s f/2.2 at 17.2mm iso100 nightshot R72 ND8 hide exif Full EXIF Info

Date/Time Make Model Flash Used Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance

13-Jun-2004 15:46:30 Sony Cybershot No 17.2 mm 1/60 sec f/2.2 100

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10-JUN-2004 DSC06040 640x480.jpg Trinity River - Dallas, Tx. Dallas Sunset Stacked IR and color images Sony DSC-F717 1/60s f/2.4 at 32.3mm iso100 hide exif Full EXIF Info Date/Time Make Model Flash Used Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance (-1) center weighted (2) (6) 10-Jun-2004 19:22:11 Sony Cybershot No 32.3 mm 1/60 sec f/2.4 100

Jerry Kneupper

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

In The 'Old Days' In common with many photographers in this 'digital age', I spent my formative years using black & white film and darkroom-based techniques whilst also enjoying parallel activities with colour transparencies and audio-visual work. My darkroom - based work caused me to experiment with infrared film, notably Kodak High-Speed IR. I found the medium to be risky, wayward, constantly 'exciting' and hugely unpredictable. There was all the business of loading the camera in the dark (using a 'changing bag' on location), focussing, then, re-focussing to the 'red spot' on the lens, fitting the opaque filter to the lens and guessing the exposure. Then back in the darkroom the film was processed using one's preferred developer and, subject to the usual oddities encountered with IR, a number of useable negatives resulted. All this gave a certain mystique to the adventure of capturing images in IR. infrared film has been around since about the 1930's - indeed, television pioneer, John Logie Baird carried out experiments with an IR video system. The movie industry used IR to shoot 'day for night' to simulate moonlit scenes in black and white films. IR therefore has a long pedigree, the scientific community have long known of its properties as a recording medium for 'thermal imaging' and the like and 'serious photographers' have enjoyed its eerie and lyrical attributes for landscape work in particular. I certainly enjoyed the very special qualities of IR and when making the change to a digital camera system I realised that this was one aspect of film-based photography that I would indeed miss.

What is Infrared? - A short technical excursion The technicalities need to be brief, however but for those wishing more detail, plenty of information is published and easily available via the Internet. 'Visible light' is the small part of the very wide electro-magnetic spectrum - and as the words suggest, it's the part that human vision is able to detect. 'Visible light' is then further broken down into the spectrum of colours that we can readily identify, from red, through orange and yellow, to green and so through blue, indigo and violet. Red is at the low-frequency end with corresponding longer wavelengths of light and blue is at the highfrequency end with shorter wavelengths. infrared falls in the low-frequency section just beyond visible red. The wavelengths are measured in nanometres and for IR photography we're looking at something in the region of 700 nm and longer. The diagram of the Electromagnetic Spectrum below gives an indication of how small an area 'visible light' represents and the position of infrared.

When we record the world using IR we 'reveal' how reflectivity from a variety of surfaces and objects differs from what we normally expect. For example, foliage and grasses become radiant and effervescent in appearance, whilst blue skies become near black and these special qualities lend themselves to pictorial expression. Naturally camera and lens manufacturers produce products to record 'visible light', however, in the good old days, there was a recognition by lens makers that an indicator of the focus point for IR would be useful and the 'red dot' appeared upon lenses. Look for it on modern lenses and you'll be disappointed. The 'red dot' was necessary as IR 'light,' being at a longer wavelength, focussed beyond the focal-plane of the camera and the lens required a 'tweak' to bring the scene back into sharpness.

Digital Cameras Digital cameras using CCD and CMOS chips are sensitive to the 'near infrared'. To avoid corrupting the image an IR blocking filter is built in to the camera body. The strength of the filter varies from make to make and model to model. It's possible to shoot IR on many cameras with such a filter by using a method similar to film. It's achived by fitting an opaque filter and using a long exposure. Indeed I have done this but it lacks the speed and spontaneity of 'straight-shooting', plus there are risks of 'fogging' and flare spots. Camera Conversion I could have sought one of the few IR cameras available (at a price), which offer 'direct-viewing IR'. However, I preferred to buy a DI SLR camera and have it converted to dedicated IR use. I chose the Nikon D70 as both affordable and readily convertible. Kits are available for DIY conversion but I preferred to send the body to a specialist. (See note at base of page). A really useful service provided by a specialist is for camera to be carefully adjusted in such a way so that whilst IR is focussed upon the array, the viewfinder remains sharp. No refocusing is necessary, you can rely upon what you see and use auto-focus with no problem. One of the great things using a 'converted camera' is the ability to see the IR result immediately after shooting, check the histogram and feel confident. Choice of IR Filter Depth When deciding to have a camera converted for IR take a moment to consider the depth of the filter you need. Until fairly recently the most common IR filters were for wavelengths of around 720nm. Many specialists can now offer, as an alternative, a deeper IR filter at around 830nm. Which one to choose? Deeper is not necessarily better - it's simply different. If you prefer a deeper filter to 'see' further into the infrared, it comes at a price. The price is one of recording an image that will be pretty well monochromatic, revealing little or no 'false-colour' characteristics. Monochrome is what one expects from IR; however, at 720nm, near-IR frequencies contribute to the attractive properties of 'Channel Swapping' and associated manipulations. So if you wish to utilise the pictorial effects and alternative colour tonalities of 'Channel Swapping' or 'Lab Color Mode', then a 720nm filter will serve you better. One of the fascinations of recording a scene in IR is that the world is revealed with a different tonal response to that with which we're familiar. In this respect no one can tell you that it's incorrect. How you record and adjust the tones and manage so-called 'false colours' is entirely your own affair and the product of your artistic judgement and aesthetic sensibility.

White Balance For best result, it's essential to make a pre-set 'white balance' for IR. This is simple to do and here's the basic procedure which you'll need to adapt for your own camera. Set the camera to measure the White Balance in sunlight Point the camera to a patch of grass so that it completely fills the viewfinder Defocus the image Measure / set the white balance (tip: You may need to under or over-expose for this test to gain a setting) Save as a 'Custom Setting' Make the 'Custom Setting' your normal 'White Balance' Setting a custom white balance helps in presenting more meaningful information for the camera-based histogram. A custom white balance will typically provide a more evenly distributed channel-to-channel histogram for each of the three RGB channels and thereby, a more favourable tonal range for initial adjustments in 'RAW' and future image management. RAW or JPEG? I prefer to shoot with RAW files as they offer greater flexibility and control. However, if your camera permits simultaneous jpeg images to be recorded, then use the facility, as the standard rendering of the IR image by jpeg often gives a pleasing split-tone result. This is visible both when inspecting the image in-camera and as a 'thumbnail' via the computer file-browser and of course, in 'Bridge'. This facility gives a useful indication about how the image could appear as a split-tone without 'Channel-Swapping'. JPEG files can be used but offer less flexibility when we need to exploit the range of tones, some of which will frequently be 'off the scale' both for JPEG and the in-camera histogram display. DI - IR Camera-Conversion Specialist: More information about Advanced Camera Services (ACS) can be found at: www.advancedcameraservices.co.uk or by 'phone: 01953 889324 Click the 'continue' link below to discover more about 'Channel-Swapping'

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow continued

Clive R. Haynes FRPS 'Channel-Swapping' Before looking at the method for 'Channel Swapping', here are example images showing the 'starting point' for a picture 'Summer Meadows' taken in Herefordshire.

The image above is similar to the camera LCD 'playback' display at the time of taking. There's evidence of some 'split-toning' and a general impression about how the image will begin to look without 'channel swapping'. The display will of course vary from camera to camera (and naturally, from scene to scene). If the 'white balance' hasn't been done, the chances are that the replay image will appear very pink (something like the RAW version below).

The image above is the RAW file version of the 'Summer Meadows' picture - and the starting-point for 'Channel Swapping' Camera RAW - The Starting Point Open the Image as a 'RAW' file and if required, make adjustments to the exposure settings - that is to say, the controls for: Exposure Recovery Blacks Fill Light Brightness Contrast and possibly, although not an exposure control, Clarity

Above: Camera RAW dialogue box upon opening

'Channel-Swapping' - The Procedure: This option will frequently give pleasing results and as it's simple to do, it's worth using the option as part of the 'workflow'. Advice: for better control, this is best achieved by an Adjustment Layer: This is what you do: Open the selected image Make an Adjustment Layer (click on the haf black / half white circle at the base of the layers palette) and from the drop-down list choose Channel Mixer - see below:

In the Channel Mixer dialogue box: With the Output Channel set RED, change the Red Source Channel to 0% and set the Blue Source Channel to 100% as illustrated below:


Go to the BLUE Output Channel and change the Blue Source Channel to 0% and set the Red Source Channel to 100% Click OK ....see below:

At this stage the image may display a range of muted colours, depending upon the content of the scene.

Above: Image appearance after 'Channel Swap' and before 'Auto Levels' - as described on the next page To continue, please click on the link below

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow continued

Clive R. Haynes FRPS Next, activate the image layer, and make an Adjustment Layer for 'Levels': In the dialogue box, click on 'Auto' (yes, not something most of us would normally do I know, but have faith). The purpose of this is to give a really useful boost in contrast - in fact it produces a result which is difficult and certainly less consistent, than that obtained by adjusting the Levels 'sliders'.

Above: Adjustment Layer, 'Levels' dialogue box showing ''Auto (levels)' button.

Above: Layer order

Above: The result of 'Auto Levels'

Following 'Auto-Levels', the result is frequently of a pleasing tonal range, however, it is, of course, imagedependent. An example would be a scene which includes a blue sky and some clouds, 'Channel-Swapping' will tend to give a result which offers a blue-shaded sky with the remaining areas represented by tones of peach, apricot, magenta and cool slate blues 'mapped' over the grey-scale content. At this point you can decide to work with the partially toned result or convert to monochrome, apply 'curves', colour tone, whatever. However for some images the following additional 'tweaks' may prove of service, try: Image > Adjustments > Auto Colour Image and / or Adjust > Auto Contrast The above are naturally content and contrast dependent but sometimes they give that little extra - and such factors do inject an element of serendipity into the process - just like the 'old days' really! It's an advantage to make an 'Action' for the 'Channel Swap' and 'Auto-Levels' procedure as this will probably become the most frequent 'quick-process' route for pleasing results for many subjects. Should you wish to view the image without the 'Channel-Swap' then simply switch-off the 'Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer'. The image will now equate to the jpeg impression referred to earlier. 'Image Noise' One of the attributes of IR film was its gritty, granular appearance and many considered this to be part of its attraction. DI IR will tend to be less granular; however, those seeking a noise-free result are likely, at the present stage of technology, to be disappointed. Some noise will be present. Cameras fitted with large sensors will exhibit less noise than those with smaller ones at the same pixel-count. Noise can be reduced by choosing a low ISO setting and reduced still further by a noise reduction filter at the RAW stage. Noise can also be tackled in Photoshop or by using a separate noise-reduction program (such as Neat Image). Conversely, for those wishing to emulate IR film, then increase the ISO and, with care, underexpose slightly so that the image 'Histogram' is 'pushed' a little to compensate during the workflow by adjusting 'Levels' or 'Curves'. IR Halation Glow IR film also displayed a sometimes 'interesting' (though at other times, annoying) 'halation effect', as 'light bounced' off the film pressure-plate. This can be added to the DI IR image by careful application of blur and/or glow filters. I hope this information about Digital IR has whetted your appetite and that the images that accompany this piece will give an indication of the riches that are out there - awaiting discovery, in the 'invisible spectrum'. And for those who enjoy an element of uncertainty in their photography, the 'serendipity factor' hasn't been entirely eliminated by DI Camera IR - and something of the 'excitement the old days' remains.

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow - continued Hot-Spots, Flares, Bit Depth & Gamuts and the Adventures Working in 'Lab Color Mode'
Clive R. Haynes FRPS

Hot-Spots, Occasional Flares and Softness Earlier, I mentioned that, unlike the days of film-based infrared photography, DI capture is now far less wayward and more predictable. This is certainly true, but only to a point. From time to time one can still encounter the odd and unexpected quirk from IR capture. This usually stems from the fact that we're asking the camera to record a range of tones (light) beyond the spectrum that the camera and lens combination would have been designed for (visible light 400nm - 650nm). Hot Spots A common occurrence is that of a 'hot-spot', that is to say a circular light-toned area usually noticeable in the centre of the image. In my experience is was far more apparent when using a non-IR converted digital camera where an opaque filter had been fitted to the lens to ensure that only IR is transmitted. However, I have noticed the occasional barely discernable hot-spot using my IR-converted Nikon D70. This is not a fault with the camera or the IR conversion or even with the lens (although IR may exaggerate a tendency inherent in any given lens that is not discernable under normal, visible-light, conditions). I found that the hot-spot can occur only under certain exposure conditions and that it's largely unpredictable. Fortunately the occurrences are rare and when they do occur can be readily dealt with some deft tonal correction work (levels and/or curves) in Photoshop. Hot-spot problems are usually more pronounced apertures from, say, f8 or f11 and beyond, so unless depth of field is critical, a wider aperture will reduce the hot-spot considerably. Odd streaks and flares also may be experienced from time to time - again a vagary of IR capture. The severe 'hot-spot' illustrated in Fig 1, occurred when shooting with a non-IR converted camera, using an opaque (IR) filter and stopping down to f32.

Above: Typical 'Hot Spot' as RAW file Original with Lens Aperture at f32 Softness This is the other occasional problem. Sometimes, although one is absolutely certain that the focus was accurate; the image appears soft and the focus a little off. A specialist-company IR converted camera will have been carefully adjusted to compensate for 'back-focus. Should softness occur, the 'error' is probably the result of the auto-focus mechanism simply getting it slightly wrong from an infrared point of view. When using a zoom lens the 'error' may not be constant or apparent at all focal-lengths. Only by experimentation will this become evident. If in doubt, stop-down to a considerably smaller aperture to gain greater depth of field or use manual focus with a guestimate as to the forward or backward tweak required. There's also the consideration that not all lenses will transmit IR wavelengths the same or as effectively. Even one's most favoured and expensive lens may not perform as well as expected at the IR end of the spectrum. This is hardly surprising considering that the manufacturer would have been primarily concerned with ensuring the fidelity of the optics for visible light. Bit Depth For better image processing, fidelity and control, 16 bit working is preferred. Set your RAW file reader to open as 16 bit and remain with 16 bit operation until you feel that further tonal and colour adjustment will not benefit from continued 16 bit working. At this point you may choose to swap to 8 bit working (Image > Mode > 8 bit). Also you may wish to save on file size and utilise features only available in 8 bit. Modes There are some advantages to working in 'Lab mode' (Image > Mode > Lab Color) and these are worthy of exploration. Lab mode separates Lightness (L) from the two colour channels - those of magenta/green (a) and blue/yellow (b). The separation of 'L', 'a' and 'b' allows the colour channels to be adjusted independently of the Lightness channel. For example, you may wish to invert (make negative) Lightness only, or invert one or both colour channels. The effects can be weird and bizarre but for the right image, the results can be both striking and successful. Changing the tonal response of Channels depends upon one's previsualisation of the outcome

and a willingness to experiment. Exploring 'Lab mode' presents a whole new palette of possibilities, more of which shortly but first a short note about 'gamut'. Gamut Modifying and extending the image histogram, converting to other 'modes' and applying unusual processes, can sometimes result in a wider than anticipated colour gamut. It may therefore be preferable to alter the colour profile of the image to one which offers a greater colour-space. Many photographers will already be using Adobe RGB (1998) as the default colour space as this is frequently preferred to the more modest sRGB space, however for some images and procedures, wider gamuts such as Pro Photo RGB may be preferable. To change the colour profile: go to Edit > Convert to Profile and make your choice. Experimentation will be the key. Note: for output to currently available and affordable inkjet printers, the results of opting for wider gamuts may not be apparent in the final print. However, for good practice, one should maintain maximum fidelity throughout the image workflow so far as is practicable, bearing in mind that other applications and high-end commercial printers can take advantage of wider gamuts and more accommodating colour spaces. Click the link below to continue and discover more about 'Adventures with Lab Mode'

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow continued

Clive R. Haynes FRPS Adventures with Lab Color Mode Note: If you've arrived at this page from the 'Know-How' contents list via the 'Lab Color Mode' 'link', you may wish to return to the beginning of the section about DI IR Capture & Workflow, if so, you'll find a 'link' at the base of this page. As mentioned, the ability to separate the 'L', 'a' and 'b' channels can offer certain advantages and these allow further excursions and adventures. To give an indication of the variables that one can enjoy, I'm going to use my image of 'The Skiff & The Hulk' picture as an example. Please remember that not all tonal changes will affect all images equally and that the results obtained are, understandably, referred to 'false colour', therefore the tones and colours cannot be wrong - only more or less pleasing or appropriate. Within these 'pages', I can do no more than 'raise the lid' of this particular 'virtual box', courtesy of a digital Pandora. The example images were taken on an IR converted Nikon D70, using an in-camera Custom White Balance (very important, see previous pages), opened as a RAW file via Adobe Bridge and managed in Adobe Photoshop CS3. To help with clarity and workflow, I've included screen-grabs which illustrate Histogram, Channels and Layers. There's not a 'follow this route to success workflow' for exploring the tonal opportunities in 'Lab', however, the following series of worked examples will help both to point the way and to provide an introduction. Please remember that the results will be image dependent and the examples illustrated here may not replicate with your chosen image.

(Note: 'quick key' / 'short-cut' references in brackets, apply to a PC - my apologies to Mac users but I'm more familiar with a PC) The starting point is the image shown below.

Above: Original RAW file

Above: Opening Image screen-grab showing Histogram, Channels and Layers After opening the image, convert to 'Lab Color' (Image > Mode > Lab Color) see below

Make sure that you can see the Channels palette,as below. If it's not visible, go to Windows > Channels.

Channels Palette

Beginning to explore the flexibility of 'Lab mode', experiment by Inverting (making negative) each channel. This simple exercise will illustrate the independence of each channel or combined Channels, that is to say 'L', 'a', 'b', or combinations 'L'/'a', 'L'/'b' 'a'/'b', 'L'/'a'/'b'. As you can see, we have seven independent options at our disposal. To understand the principle we'll look at just two, the difference between 'b' alone and the combination of 'b' / 'L': Click/highlight Channel 'b' (quick-key = Ctrl + 3) Make certain that the eye icons for each of Channel is 'on' (but only 'b' Channel is highlighted / active)

'b' Channel Active

Next: Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert (Ctrl + I) and the image will be subtly different, (see below), to our original, as only b (blue content) has been inverted.

Above: Screen-grab showing 'b' Channel 'Inverted' To continue this exploration Next: Undo the change above, Edit > Undo Invert (Ctrl + Z) to restore the image to the starting point.

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow Adventures with Lab Color Mode continued
Clive R. Haynes FRPS

The next step in this introduction is to include more than one channel to 'Invert', this is done by choosing one Channel, say 'b', then shift-clicking on, for this example, 'Lightness' Channel.

Two Channels will now be highlighted

Once both Channel 'b' and 'Lightness' Channel are active, invert this combination (Ctrl + I) and the result, now incorporating 'Lightness' Channel, will be very different, see below:

The effect will not be to everyone's taste but you can begin to understand how valuable access to individual channels can be. If you wish to experiment with reduced intensities of 'Invert', go to Edit > Fade Invert (see below) and adjust the slider control. :

Also, as an option in the Fade' dialogue box, different 'Blend Modes' can be tried - see below NB 'Edit > Fade' is only available immediately after making the Invert command.

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow Adventures with Lab Color Mode continued
Clive R. Haynes FRPS

For an alternative and more flexible approach we're going to explore the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) use of Level changes to Channel 'a' and Channel 'b'. To follow this route, return to the image starting point. Look at the Histogram (if not visible, go to Window > Histogram - note this 'Window' option is not available on pre 'CS' versions of Photoshop, in which case observe the histogram as we proceed via 'Levels') Activate Channel 'a', this reveals a narrow 'spike' of Histogram information which represents the narrow range of tonal information captured in this channel. What we seek to do is to expand the tonal range by adjusting 'Levels'. To do this go to Image > Adjustments > Levels. For the working example, I adjusted the black, white and mid-level sliders to produce the result shown below. Adjusting 'Levels' controls of the amount and distribution of magenta / green for the Channel 'a'.

Adjusting 'Levels' for 'Channel b' will control the distribution of yellow / blue offering a very different tonality, see below:

Whilst the 'Levels' dialogue box is open, it's also worth experimenting with changes to the 'Output' settings. Click the link below to continue and discover more about 'Adventures with Lab Mode'

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow Adventures with Lab Color Mode continued
Clive R. Haynes FRPS

After once again returning again to the example image starting point, we'll look at a further step This is a useful refinement to control both 'a' and 'b' Channels in the same dialogue box. Begin by activating both Channel 'a' and Channel 'b' - do this by clicking on Channel 'a', then shift-clicking on Channel 'b', see below:

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels. Click on the drop-down arrow adjacent to the word 'Channel', this will reveal a choice for the independent adjustment of 'a' and/or 'b' Channel, see below:

One example of this independent control is shown below

For finer adjustment and extended control of tone I suggest that you choose 'Curves' from the Image > Adjustments menu. The Adjustments menu also presents other options - where the humble 'Brightness & Contrast' is worthy of exploration. For those who enjoy a not-so-subtle approach, a wild example of 'Curves' applied to 'Channel a' is shown below:

For comparison, the straight 'Channel-Swap' image is shown below.

I could continue to present ever more variations to Lab Channel adjustments; however it's best if you begin to experiment with your own images. To complete this section, I include a more fully worked example of the image. From the screen-grab below, you'll notice that the Layer structure is more complex. The various Layers include tonal variations based upon the methods described, Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers for both Curves and Hue & Saturation.

Click the link below to continue and discover information about 'Working in Monochrome'

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow - continued

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

Working in Monochrome

For onward conversion and management of an image in monochrome, the image can be treated in several ways; it's a matter of experiment to discover which one suits any given subject the best. The most usual methods will be: conversion to mono in the RAW file reader, or once opened as a Photoshop (.psd) or .TIFF file, the options are, 'Desaturation', monochrome via 'Channel Mixer', Black & White (CS3 on), Gradient Map,'Calculations' (definitely worth exploring) or conversion to Lab mode utilising the 'L' channel only. Please note that wherever possible you should use an 'Adjustment Layer' as this will allow maximum flexibility and editing. Converting straight to 'Grayscale' (Image > Mode > Grayscale) is not recommended as the 'conversion' is frequently bland (although one can have the occasional 'lucky strike') and as colour channel information is lost, you'll need to swap back to RGB Mode (Image > Mode > RGB) for any toning and tinting, except for Duotones for which the mode needs to be Grayscale. The image below has been opened in Bridge (CS3) and converted using HSL / Grayscale and ticking the 'Convert to Grayscale' box - see below. Before opening, it can be helpful to decrease the 'Oranges' slider as this will give some increased contrast (in this image in the sky and water) and give a 'boost' prior to opening.

When reducing the level of the 'Oranges' slider, you may notice an increase in 'noise' in RAW preview, however, magnifying the image will show that the noise is minimal. When opning the image in Photoshop the 'noise' will probably be at an acceptable level.

The image below shows the same image after adjusting 'Curves' to provide more localised contrast and 'bite'. In this instance five separate 'Curves' Adjustment Layers were used to target specific areas of the image.

Click the link below to continue and discover something about 'IR and Water'

Digital Infrared Capture & Workflow - continued

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

IR and Water

I recently experimented by shooting test images of goldfish in our garden pond and I was surprised to discover just how far IR could 'see' into the water. The example included here isn't beautiful but it does reveal that IR penetrates well below the surface. In fact IR allowed me to 'see' further into the water with greater clarity than with my eyes alone.

In conclusion I hope that in opening the lid of this particular Box of Delights and that you'll be keen to make adventures further into this fascinating 'Invisible World'. Key elements to success are: previsualisation of your final image, an open mind and a willingness to experiment. You'll soon discover which methods enable you to express yourself best.

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The original, only I have passed it through neatimage once to reduce noise. Sony DSC-F717 1/8s f/2.1 at 11.8mm iso100 hide exif Full EXIF Info Date/Time Make Model Flash Used

28-Aug-2003 11:19:49 Sony Cybershot No

Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance

11.8 mm 1/8 sec f/2.1 100 +2/3 (-1) center weighted (2) (6)

Step 1

First open the original image in Photoshop or photoshop elements, then create a duplicate layer.

Step 2
Open the Hue/saturation adjustment and change the green saturation to -100%.

Step 3
Then change the master hue to +124 or so, and the master saturation to +50 or 60.

Step 4
Use a Gaussian blur of about 3-5%on the Backgroud copy layer to reduce noise levels.

Step 5
Change the Backgroud copy layer to a color layer.

Step 6
Use auto levels on the Backgroud copy layer.

Step 7
Open the Hue/saturation on the Backgroud copy layer and change the red saturation to -100%

Step 8
Flatten the layers.

Step 9
Use Auto levels to bring out some contrast, and your done.

Infrared Workflow

When I created this guide, I had just purchased the then-new Canon S2IS. I've loved it these few years, and it's served me well. This guide should apply to most consumer-line Canon cameras.

The next item you're going to need is the Hoya R72 Near-Infrared filter. This filter will block out all light except the near-infrared spectrum. When you get the filter, it'll look almost black. You can get one here: Hoya 58mm RM-72 Infrared Filter

You'll also need a way to attach it to the camera. Lensmate has the best adaptor solution for the S2IS, but you'll have to do some research to see if your camera can support screw-on filters, and what is necessary to do so. It may also be wise to have a tripod handy unless it is a very sunny day. Since most of the light is blocked out by the filter, much longer shutter times are required.


Attach the lens adaptor and filter to the camera. Ensure that the camera is set to Automatic White Balancing. See the manual for your particular model if you're not sure how to do this. Take a look around and find something interesting to photograph. Know that anything containing chlorophyll will be strangely white, and water is usually nearly black. Experiment with different surfaces to find out how they look in near-infrared. You may be surprised that some ordinarilly dull scene becomes interesting and full of life in infrared. Your image prior to any post-processing should look something like this:

Now we begin post-processing the image into something more appealing. A workflow is provided for you to follow. Perform each step as indicated below. Clicking on the step number opens an image showing exactly what you need to do.If you don't feel like following the step-by-step instructions provided below, I have created an automated Photoshop action that will perform the transformation for you.

Step 1 - Open the image in Photoshop Step 2 - Duplicate the background layer Step 3 - Open the channel mixer Step 4 - Under the Red output channel, move the Red slider to 0 and the Blue slider to 100 Step 5 - Under the Blue Output channel move the Blue slider to 0 and the Red slider to 100 Step 6 - Use the Auto Levels function on the Background Copy layer Step 7 - Here we can see the false colors really starting to form and create a pleasing image. Next, create a new Hue/Saturation layer Step 8 - Reduce the Reds saturation to about -85 Step 9 - Reduce the Magenta saturation to about -45. You can achieve some interesting effects by changing the Hues and Saturations on this adjustment layer, so feel free to play with the values I have provided. Don't worry if the changes appear splotchy, they will be smoothed out a bit in the next step. You can always return to this step to fine-tune your image Step 10 - Finally, change the Hue/Saturation layer type from Normal to Color. Congratulations, you have processed a new IR image! Notice that the image has a grainy look to it. This is common for infrared images, but can be minimized if you wish by using noise cancellation software such as Noise Ninja or Neat Image

Photoshop Action - This is the Photoshop action that performs the above steps automatically. Most versions of Photoshop will allow you to simply drag the downloaded action into your main Photoshop window. From there you can access the action via the Action Pane, which can be made visible using the Window menu, then choose the Actions menu item.


Your resulting infrared image should look something like below, or view my gallery of infrared images (Flickr). Enjoy!


Starting Point Unprocessed Image

This is the "Starting" image for the next series of Steps. Please feel free to use this image to follow along in Photoshop if you wish...

Exposure Suggestions
A few things to note: Some lenses will work much better than others, I have had great luck with my Canon 50mm f/1.8. Some lenses may flare unacceptably, a hood may help. Different Cameras will require different exposure times. My Canon 300D takes several/many seconds to get a good exposure, it depends on your cameras IR cut

filter (normally a good thing). A tripod will be required. Use a shutter release cable or use the self-timer. Shoot RAW if possible since you will have more latitude to adjust exposure if necessary. You will also be able to adjust White Balance if necessary. I usually take multiple shots of the same scene and bracket almost everything since you dont how it will look until you start working in Photoshop. I bracket everything when shooting: Shutter Speed (usually somewhere between 2 and 10 seconds), Aperture (f5.6 and f/8 seem to work well), and ISO setting (usually 200 or 400). Sun angle / sun position, time of day, etc. all become important variables. I need to experiment more with these, but peak of summer works well around Noon (i.e., strong sun). Interesting pictures have trees, clouds, water, and sky or something similar for contrast. The Hoya R72 IR Filter is nearly OPAQUE so setup your first shot composition WITHOUT the filter on. Once you got the scene setup switch to manual focus and put on the IR filter and start shooting. With the IR filter on, you won't see anything through the lens, but you will see something on the LCD after the picture has been taken. Shoot in MANUAL mode. You need complete control over your camera. I don't try to meter with the camera. I just use the histogram to judge exposure. (More below) Initial Exposure: I usually start with something like 6 secs, f/8.0, ISO 400. Check through the EXIF data in my IR gallery for some further examples. Again, take lots of shots and bracket. Over time you will be able to better understand what a good histogram looks like for your camera when shooting IR. It wont be the same as a traditional good exposure histogram. (Maybe only 1/2 to 2/3 to the right?). In general lower ISO settings will help reduce camera noise, but will increase your exposure time, so it is a tradeoff, but Photoshop can help with some advanced noise reduction. I don't try to meter using the camera, I just use the histogram as my exposure guide. The actual exposure of this image was 1sec at f/4.0 ISO200. Not sure how I got so lucky, but the sun angle and strength must have been just right. Usually my exposure times are much longer (i.e., 4-8 secs).

Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8 1s f/4.0 at 50.0mm iso200 hide exif

Full EXIF Info Date/Time Make Model Flash Used Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance previous | next 08-Jul-2005 14:23:14 Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL No 50 mm 1.00 sec f/4 200 +1/3 (-1) matrix (5) (6) program (1)

IR Step 0
Note the Histogram which is somewhat left of center...

Step 0 Bringing your file into Photoshop

Download your images if RAW, convert (to tiff or jpeg) and bring into Photoshop. I have been shooting RAW just because it allows more control after the shot has been taken. Note: Exposure and White Balance will make a difference on your final result,

so there might be some trial and error in general I leave White Balance to the default camera setting (automatic) and have gotten decent results. For editing, Photoshop Elements 3.0 has worked fine for me. If you have full version of Photoshop you should be in great shape. You can probably get similar results with other software, but I have not tried. For Raw conversion I have been using the Canon supplied software (DPP 2.0 or Zoombrowser & Fileviewer). So here is the initial image in Photoshop Elements 3.0. Normally I would never look at an image at 33%, but it fills the screen nicely for these screen shots. (100%, 75%, 50%, and 25% give the fairest views of your image.) Note the histogram, which is somewhat left of center.
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

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IR Step 1: Noise Reduction

This step is not required, but can make a huge difference.

Step 1 Noise Reduction

This is actually an OPTIONAL Step create a duplicate layer of you background for noise reduction and general retouching. For noise reduction, I have been very happy with the Noise Ninja plugin. You could also use the built in noise reduction filter in

Photoshop. Noise can be pretty apparent after you are complete with image editing, it is not required, but might make the image look cleaner. However, some people intentionally add noise (grain) into their IR images as it is more authentic looking. You don't have to run noise reduction on your image, but you will notice a big difference if you want a 'clean' looking file. Once you are done with processing, the noise may become very apparent. Honestly, I have not had the greatest results with the Elements 3.0 noise reduction filter, but you might. Otherwise, use your favorite plug-in. As mentioned above, I am really happy with Noise Ninja.
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

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IR Step 2: Auto Levels

Histogram is now more 'normalized'.

Step 2 Auto Levels

Create a Level layer and select 'Auto' Levels. This will swing the colors significantly. If you have a good shot, tree leaves and clouds will appear close to White in color at this point and sky will be Orange and/or Black. Alternativly you could use the Auto Level Function in 'Curves' which actually I like better...!
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

IR Step 3: Channel Swap (Red/Blue)

Making Red equal Blue and Blue equal Red...

Step 3 Channel Mixer (Swap Red & Blue Channels)

From here on it is about shifting colors. If you want Red sky, then you can skip this step. If you want Blue sky you will need to swap the Red and Blue colors in your image. It is easiest to do this with the Channel Mixer by creating a layer and setting

Red to 100% Blue and setting Blue to 100% Red. Leave Green 100% Green. Unfortunately the Channel Mixer is not a standard in Elements 3.0 and needs to be downloaded and installed as an action. (More on this below). Elements 4.0 does not support adding this action, so ironically Elements 3.0 is better in this respect. Yes, you could probably get a similar effect using Hue/Sat function to shift Hues, but Channel Mixer is MUCH easier.
(If you have the full version of Photoshop, you already have the Channel Mixer.) Photoshop Actions that will run in Elements 3.0 (not in 4) that will be very useful are the Channel Mixer and Curves. Visit the following web link and read carefully about how to install the applicable actions. http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/photoshop-elements-curves.html?search=curves&bool=and If you do a Google Search you will likely find other places to get actions for Channel Mixer and Curves.

Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

IR Step 4: Clip Black & White Points

Boosting Contrast...

Step 4 Levels (Clip Back and White Points)

Create another layer for Levels and adjust White and Black point. It seems beneficial to clip the Black point a bit and perhaps even the White point a little depending on the image exposure. Boosting midpoint may help as well (or may not). Input might be

something like: 15, 1.10, 250 (for Black, Mid, and White) but this will be image dependant and you will have to tweak the settings. Experiment! The result should be that the Sky becomes darker Blue and the Trees become more White. You may not notice a big difference in screen shot above vs. the prior image; however, you will when you do this yourself. Optional Extra Step (not shown above): Create a Curves layer if you need and use it to further adjust your image to your liking. Like the Channel mixer, this is not a standard feature in Elements, but can be added to Elements 3.0 just like the Channel Mixer. (See previous step). Curves is very powerful and versatile, I would not want to be without it. It is one of my favorite tools...
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

IR Step 5: Adjust Hue and Saturation

Shifting Colors and Tweaking...

Step 5 Hue/Sat (Adjust Sky & Cloud Color)

At this point your image should be pretty close, but you will want probably want to further adjust Hue and Saturation.. Create a Hue/Sat layer and adjust to your liking.

In the above example I modified: Blue +10 Hue and +10 Sat to make the sky deeper in color and modified Cyan +10 Hue and -50 Sat (yes minus) to pull out the Cyan that was in the clouds. You will have to experiment a lot and play around with Hue settings as it will be image dependant. If you compare this to the previous image you should be able to see the differences in the sky and clouds. I kinda like the Yellow tone in the tree leaves, but if you don't like it and want them to be more White, see the next step... which of course you could have done combined with the above adjustment. I just broke it up in this example so you can compare.
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

IR Step 6: Optional Adjust Hue and Saturation

Shifting Colors and Tweaking...

Step 6 Hue/Sat (Adjust Tree Color)

Here I am adjusting Hue/Sat layer and changing the Lighness of Yellow +75 so it becomes more White and less Yellow. I could have combined this in the prior step, but broke it apart so you can see the difference. Compare to the previous image and you should see the change in the tree leaves...
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8

IR Final Image: Resize and Sharpen

Friendly File Sizes

The End... (Resize for the Web)

If you are going to the Web (i.e., PBASE) resize at 800 wide (bicubic sampling) and sharpen with Unsharp Mask (maybe 85%, 0.8 radius, and threshold of 3). Save as JPEG level 10 and you are done.

Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8


Final Version Framed

Frames and Mattes

Goofing Around
OK, I can't help myself so I gotta make a frame for it. Why...? I am not sure I guess I get a little carried away. Seriously, it might be a little bit cheesy, but it probably keeps people from stealing your images and bandwidth from PBASE for use in their websites.

Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel ,Canon 50mm f/1.8 1s f/4.0 at 50.0mm iso200 hide exif

Full EXIF Info Date/Time Make Model Flash Used Focal Length Exposure Time Aperture ISO Equivalent Exposure Bias White Balance Metering Mode JPEG Quality Exposure Program Focus Distance (6) 08-Jul-2005 14:23:14 Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL No 50 mm 1.00 sec f/4 200 (-1)

40 Breathtaking Examples of Infrared Photography

There are many types of art photography out there that show a new way of viewing things like infrared photography, micro and macro photography, lomography, light photography, and many others. In this article we will talk about infrared photography, a type of photography that captures the unseen beauty of nature made possible by technology.

What is Infrared Photography?

First we need to know what is infrared. Remember the saying that what you see is just an illusion? That is actually true, and that what you see is the only thing youre made to see. Look above you, youll probably see your ceiling. That is because the light that touches its surface is seen by you, called visible light. To give you an idea of the things you cant see, think of ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, infrared, microwave, and radio. These compose the electromagnetic spectrum, and only the visible light part is what we can see under naked eye.

Chart taken from Wikipedia

If youll take time to study the chart above youll be amazed at how little our eyes can see of our surroundings. We only see a portion of the world as it is, and thats a good thing. Imagine seeing every wavelength, I think that would be like looking at an old televisions static. So, the point here is, before you even begin infrared photography you need to have a grasp of what it is youre doing in order to pass on the knowledge. In infrared photography, you basically take a peek into the unseeable by manipulating your tools. You can either use a standard camera or a digital camera, but alterations and post-processing is needed to achieve a great photo. In a sense, infrared photography is an attempt to view the world in a different manner, similar to using a microscope to see little life forms or using an x-ray to see through things. Venturing through Flickr Ive been awed by the amazing world out there that we cant see, but now can due to advances in technology. Before the introduction of color photography, photographers used filters and black and white negatives to manipulate the final result, especially when they wanted to achieve infrared photography. Im not a photographer nor do I claim I know how to do infrared photography, I am simply so amazed by the process that I thought Id share this with you. I did some research for people who want to enter infrared photography and found this very in-depth guide by Rob about infrared photography. Tutorial includes how to setup everything up to post-processing. Here is his Flickr page.

Examples of Infrared Photography

Take note that you can buy their prints if you happen to fall in love with them! Dont forget to click on the links for more IR photographs.

Straightforward Path Infrared by ilimel

Orchard Infrared II by dingodave

iNfraRed series terengganu 1 by shin-ex

Barn in Infrared by Pak T

The gilded River by Anrold

Barbados Infrared by Infrared-Land

Arte moderno en IR by Goku Abreu

Cloudy Day by RoeiG

Monroe Arts Center-IR by Marc Kohlbauer

Warm Feelings IR by caithness155

Zen Dream by RoieG

Butterfly by gary99099

The Secret Garden by failingjune

Eccos Horns by Djinn Photography

Infrared Trees by Danny Valentine

Infrared HDR Lake by lorni3

El Torito at Pine Beach by RTsan

The Golden Path IR by caithness155

Mount Stewart by Paul Hanley

Lake Cumberland Infrared by GothicAmethyst

Caterpillar by smurfzombi

Infrared Sunrise by konczy77

Japanese Road by Enkased

Itzel by The-Definition

Summer or Winter by Litz Sanz

Untitled by d3sign

Niagara Falls by Kofi Kumi

Summer time at Upton by Dave Dupere

Watermane by boomslice

Fantasia di Primavera by Giacomo Cattaruzzi

Springtime III by blackdaddy

Horses Dreams by MichiLauke

La tour by Anrold

Sydney Opera House by La-Vita-a-Bella

Midnight Palace by 32tsunami

Bale IR by BilSign

Its a Frog II by tlbendele

The Old Man by Gwarf

Pano Bramhall Park 1 by Okavanga

Le vieux moulin by Anrold

50 Stunning Examples of Infrared Photography for Your Inspiration

P ost ed in I n spi r at i on 28 0 d ay s ag o W rit t en b y: advertise here J am eel K h an


Infrared photography can generate some truly awesome and splendid photographs. Infrared photography does not vary extensively from normal photography, the only difference in infrared photography is that the image sensor is sensitive to infrared light which lies between the visible and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Therefore, infrared light sensors allow the camera to catch any light which is not visible to human eye.

What is infrared photography?

Basically, infrared photography or IR photography refers to capturing images in infrared light. This is done with the help of special gear. There are different methods to capture IR photos. Since you need special cameras to capture IR photos, you can either buy a special digital camera which is somewhat sensitive to IR waves or convert your normal camera in order to capture infrared light. Some special film cameras with infrared film are also available. Such films are extremely expensive, and require special handling. However, if you buy these films, you will not have to modify your camera. You can also purchase IR filters that will filter out the visible light and will only leave IR light. By using IR filters, you will drastically reduce the waves that hit the cameras sensor. In this way, IR filter increases the exposure times.

Infrared Filters
An infrared filter can be defined as a filter that captures infrared light by filtering out the visible light. Infrared light is not normally visible to human eyes; however, pictures captured in infrared light have an amazing look. Such filters block most of the visible light and only let infrared light to pass through. You may need to use a tripod and turn up the exposure because of the amount of light coming through the filter. Below, we have mentioned some IR filters that we would recommend: 1. Hoya 58mm RM-72 Infrared Filter 2. Opteka HD 58mm R72 720nm Infrared X-Ray IR Filter 3. Leica E39 UVa/IR Filter, black 4. NEEWER 58MM IR720 Infrared Filter 5. Hoya 67mm RM-72 Infrared Filter

We hope that this showcase of infrared photography will inspire you.

1. Wallaman Falls IR

2. Casa Loma

3. Merang, Setiu, Malaysia

4. Horses Infrared

5. San Isidro

6. Angry Mood

7. Crazy Car

8. Cavagna Ottavio

9. Spring Wolni Infrared

10. Esplanade

11. Fort Uitermeer, Silent Under Construction

12. Tropical Garden Infrared

13. Pasir Ris Park

14. Golden Waterfall

15. Ice Age 4 Premiere in Amsterdam

16. Polar Bears Could e Here?

17. Rugeley, Staffordshire

18. Laguna de Plata Infrared

19. Botanical Gardens

20. Chinatown

21. Circular Trellis Infrared HDR

22. Jbm IR D60 080719

23. Infrared Dream

24. Infrared Train Track

25. Infrared Jonh Deere Harvester

26. Moon Gate Infrared

27. Country Road II Infrared

28. Pink Tree Blue Earth Infrared

29. Infrared Addict

30. Infrared Addict

31. Red Tree Infrared

32. Infrared Shot

33. Infrared HDR Palmer Park Colorado Springs

34. Infrared city

35. Infrared Friesian

36. Infrared LI

37. Futog

38. Fine if We Dont, Fined if We Do

39. Urban Ghost Trees Redux

40. Cheungchau

41. My Rinjani Dream (Infrared)

42. Infrared Wreck

43. Infrared

44. Garden Infrared

45. Cinta Fitri

46. Infrared House

47. Infrared beneath the trees

48. Infrared on LSD

49. Infrared Spaceship

50. Infrared HDR Palmer Park Colorado Springs