Exploring A New Medium

Around this time last year I had taken a shot of Beus Pond (the little duck pond near my house) that I was pretty happy with. This of course will be relevant later, but here’s the image for reference:

Beus Pond

Leaving that for a few minutes, some backstory for today’s post. About two months ago I had come across some fairly cool images I had not previously seen before. Lo’ and behold when it came time to give this style a try I would learn those images belonged to Bob Vishneski**, a fantastic photographer out of Pittsburgh, PA. The style of discussion is ‘Infrared’ photography and it give you images such as these:

All rights belong to Bob Vishneski. Find him on twitter @bvishneski

All rights go to Bob Vishneski. Find him on twitter @bvishneski

Upon seeing this photos I had to know more about how one could take such a thing. Turns out, there are a couple of ways you can do it. First, you can physically modify your camera to only see infrared light. This method is both expensive, in that it costs a few hundred bucks, and crazy, since it renders that camera incapable of ever taking normal photos again. The other option, and the one I opted for was to pick up an infrared filter (turns out the Hoya R72-IR is the best one for the cash) which basically allows you to filter out everything but infrared light. The filters range between $40-70 and can be purchased just about anywhere.

So with little to no information I ordered a filter and began the quest to learn this new style of shooting photos. I will say this is rather odd for me as normally I will research something to death, trying to know everything I can about it before spending a single cent on it. But something about seeing these images just blew my mind and I knew I wanted to be doing this. It also doesn’t help that there isn’t really a whole lot of information out there. Aside from something the occasional photographer will play around with, there is only a handful or so who actually do this with any consistency. You can see more of their stuff over at Lifepixel.

That all being said, I got my filter in a week or so ago and as soon as I could, I took the kiddo to the park and started snapping away. Having no real idea what I was doing, I did find the actual shooting wasn’t too difficult. You want to set your camera up with all the same setting you would for astrophotography and shoot it as such. The only real difference between the two is about 10-12 hours, with IR being done around noon time and Astro around 2 in the morning.

After getting home and going through a swath of red photos, I was at a loss of what I was supposed to do from here. I looked for tutorials online, but there really aren’t any. Most people give exceptionally broad overviews that look like this:

Step 1: Open in LR, change some settings
Step 2: Go to photoshop and reverse the red and blue channels
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Profit

Needless to say, that is both unhelpful and infuriating. So with that being said, I will probably put together a full tutorial once I have the hang of this down for people to try out.

So given I had to wing it all myself, I farted with the images in both Lightroom and Photoshop, and was able to generate some really sweet monochrome (ish) images, but nothing with those cool blue and yellow tones. What I did end up with looks like this:


Remember that photo at the begining of this post? Turns out about a year later I accidentally took the same photo from the same spot, just using a different style. A happy coincidence indeed. So with a limited number of completed IR shots processed I wasn’t sure what else to do but combine the two pictures. That came out looking like this:

2 way Beus

How fun! Hopefully soon, I can get the hang of editing these photos so that I can have them look like what I want, until then though I’ll have to settle for pretty surreal black and whites.

Until next time, Thanks for reading!

** You can follow Bob on twitter @bvishneski or see his website at: http://500px.com/epochphoto


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