RAW Color to Monochrome IR

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Most of my, and anybody else’s for that matter,  infrared images are a departure from reality. But last winter when I went for a chilly walk around a frozen Bingham Lake, I ended up making some images that had a nighttime feel to them.

How I made this shot: The image was shot with a Panasonic Lumix G5 that was converted to infrared capture by LifePixel using their Standard IR option. Lens was a Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens (at 12mm.) The photograph was captured with an exposure of 1/200 sec at f/16 and ISO 400.

This resulted in a slightly underexposed file that I tweaked for exposure in Adobe Camera RAW. I then imported the image into Silver Efex Pro and used the default preset. I typically suppress the grain by moving the slider all the way to the left and then go to tweak Contrast, Brightness and Structure.

Next I applied the Glamour Glow filter from Color Efex Pro and moved the Glow slider until I got the “Midnight” look that you see here. I could have pushed the image further using other sliders to add a blue tone but felt it would be gilding the lily. Or as my mentor, the Late Eddie Bafford, often said about working in the traditional, wet darkroom: “You need to have someone standing next to you with a 2×4 to hit you ‘upside your head’ when you get carried away (with darkroom manipulations.”)

Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they have done most of the conversions for my Canon DSLRs and all of my Panasonic Lumix G-series 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 with new copies available for $36.91 and used copies selling for a penny, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies selling for less that $3. Less than the price of a Starbucks latte.