16. desember 2013

Digital infrared mystifications

Glowing tree
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L
After checking out the film-based infrared universe in Infrared - Shooting what you can't see  and Infrared - Shooting what you can't see part II, revelations , I felt it was time to look into what the digital realm had to offer concerning this.

I've known about digital IR for quite a few years already, the issue with it, is that you will have to convert (ruin) a perfectly happy digital camera at places like http://www.lifepixel.com/ .

Earlier, my thoughts were that I needed a really good camera for this (meaning good ISO performance, 16+ megapixels, low noise, good resolution, full size sensor), but back then, such a "really good camera" did cost an arm and a leg.

- I know, I bought the 1ds mk II, and I sure wasn't ready to "ruin" that one  :P

So, it was put on hold, until this fall.

These days, the entry-level cameras from Canon (or Nikon), have reached some staggering specs, even with the 1.6x cropped sensors; Resolution is high, the pixel-count is more than you need for most work, ISO performance is phenomenal, compared to what you would get only 5 years ago.

(I have Canon-glass, so no point looking at another brand)

So, basically I found, and bought, a used Canon 550D, 18 megapixel "toy camera", which was already converted by Lifepixel.
I got a good deal on it, all things considered. A new camera, would had to be bought, shipped, converted and shipped back -with the added expenses.

Cold desire
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L
The camera I have is a "standard IR" camera. IMO I could probably be better off with a enhanced IR or a full-spectrum one, since they give better separation in the color-channels, this makes the IR-processing much easier and more versatile.

But as a starter-camera, this one is great! =)

The next shot, was altered to look like the old Kodak EIR film, this film gave foliage a red color.

Kodak EIR-interpretation
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

I had two whole trips (wow) before the Autumn sat in, so I need to use it some more and perfect the conversion techniques next summer ^^

Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

The conversion process, is "fluent", meaning, I don't have a set technique yet. It is a creative decision, depending on the shot I am working at, which way the pendulum swings.
Because the camera is standard IR, the separation in the channels  can be tough to work with, and there is always a danger of ending up with a completely two-tone shot.

Hopefully, next summer, with all the leaves, flowers etc, there will be more "colors" to work with.

A River between
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

 The last shot is my favorite, here I've used a mix of Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, to create something cool, I like how the sky "crawls" over the trees and the straws, partly in focus, mimic the shape of the tree-line in the background.

Coming storm
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

My feeble first attempts hasn't really shown me how the light quality, time of day and time of the year influence the color spectrum yet.

It is very cool to shoot with this camera, as you don't need a filter on your lens, You just shoot normally - and at just about normal speeds as well and check the preview screen.

I can even film in Infrared ^^

I haven't tried that yet though, as I haven't found a suitable video-editing program, where I can alter the color channels like I do in Photoshop.

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