Infrared Photography in Your Own Backyard

by | Aug 20, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Whenever I’m asked to do a presentation about infrared photography to photographic organizations, I always kick it off with a question a reader once e-mailed me: Why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?”

The short answer, for me anyway, is because it’s fun. Sure it’s a bit more techy than traditional visible light photography but the payoff is that it produces the kind of image you can’t get any other way. And sure, you will need some specialized gear whether it’s a special and sometimes expensive filters or spending extra cash to get a camera converted to infrared capture by companies such as LifePixel. My advice on conversions: You should convert one of your older cameras that’s just sitting around, rather than your bread and butter daily shooter. Or maybe just buy an inexpensive, used camera like I did to get the Hyper Color infrared conversion.

Since I live in a part of the country where we have real Winter, it won’t be long before leaves start dropping off the trees and my infrared photography will lose the impact of the white leaves that I enjoy capturing. So I’ve set myself the task of doing as much infrared photography as I could until all the leaves are gone. Last year about this same this time, I went to Bingham Lake and took the counter clockwise path to find some different views, one of which is shown above.

How I made this shot: The image was shot with a Panasonic Lumix G5 that had been converted to infrared capture by LifePixel. Lens was the affordable ($98.72) 9mm f/8 Olympus fish-eye lenscap and was shot using the camera’s 16:9 crop mode. This is something I do to give a panoramic look as well as minimize any distortion from this lens at the top and bottom of the frame because it’s cropped out in-camera. Exposure was 1/640 sec at f/8 and ISO 400. The image was captured in RAW format and processed in Adobe Camera Raw before moving to to Silver Efex Pro where it was copper toned and since these leaves were backlit and appeared to be glowing, I added a Glow filter from Color Efex Pro. I like the fairy tale mood that this filter produces.

I’ve found that Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they’ve done most of the conversions for my Canon DSLRs and all my Panasonic Lumix cameras. This is not a paid or sponsored endorsement, just my experience.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is available from Amazon for with new copies selling for $45.09 with used copies starting around eleven bucks, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies at $30.90 with used copies starting at a little more than two bucks, as I write this. There’s no Kindle version available for either book, sorry.