Infra Red Photography


Did a digital imaing course (digital arts course, but I'm from Yorkshire & can't quite call to it an "arts" course without the pub going quiet!)

Had to choose a topic for a project & after on of the black & white topics of "synthesising" infra red pictures, I though I can do that for real - digitally!

Long Overview

During 2004 / 2005 I had decided to go to college & finally master the techniques of digital imaging. Sure couldn't be that bad as I've a good knowledge of basic film photography, dark room processing of both film & printing. Cue digital photography & imaging.

The college I attended was South Downs College, Hampshire & I enrolled on the intermediate course. For those who don't know me I didn't need telling where the menu bar was! Only trick was to catch up on the other more adept students. When I started the course there was a wide range of student ages from late twenties through to sixties. Interestingly the 'retirees' had the best kit, fancy Nikon & Canon gear. My trusty digital camera felt immediately out of date, remember the car phone warehouse advert where they hide in cupboards to use their old phones! I had lots of pictures of the inside of cupboards...

Made sure I followed the lecturers moves on the mac, yer no one mentioned the mac would be used, Bill I'm sorry I really like windoze can you forgive me.... How do you get that menu bar again?

Well followed the courses every week, struggled to do the studio & portature work properly. Yet whilst working through the techniques I found I was starting to explore alternative methods of doing things, not just what the lecturer did. I guess my engineering background is a root cause for this, if not I can always blame my parents...

Not having done the basic, intro course I was unaware of a hidden catch - You had to do a project. Yikes, remember that stuff from uni. What couldn I do. I mean we covered black and white techniques, portrature, panoramas, studio work. I had some thoughts & even seriously mulled over the idea of either doing a church theme [architecture / gothic] or Hampshire public houses [again architecture coupled with portrature] The first was too cold, the second I'd end up with liver disease.

Then it struck me, I'd seen the digital cameras in the past pick up infra red, could it really be possible? We'd covered a method of synthesising the infra red look from a normal picture, but could one take a real picture in infra red. I knew it could basically be possible, time to research. Everyone on the course was very boyant about their projects, but given the risk I was carrying with this one I held back until I'd done the ground work.

After some research it became evident the answer was both yes & no. I needed a new camera, or rather a new old camera. Old digital cameras are the best, unless you wish to re-engineer the lens system. Didn't fancy doing that just yet. So I embarked on not just digital infra red imagery but editing the pictures to yield a 'natural' false colour combining these with panoramas.

Here's the reports

Here're some of the final panoramas.

All in all I must say that I learnt something new every time & came away not just being very pleased at being able to do what I'd either wanted to do but didn't know, or being able to do something new that I didn't know before. And I started a project that I am both very happy with and would also add, as far as I can identify a world first.

Want to buy a photo? email me

Links: = IR and modding