Working with Enhanced Infrared Conversions

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

In my post “Setting White Balance for IR Photography” I suggested that you “Shoot in monochrome mode. No white balance needed, after all, everything is right there on your LCD.” As I’ve gained more experience in working with my Panasonic Lumix G6 that was converted to infrared by LifePixel using their Enhanced IR filter I’ve had a change of heart. This filter is equivalent to a 665nm filter and allows more colored light to pass through to the sensor and is especially suited for color IR photography with great saturation and color range.

Based on recent experience, I don’t think that’s the best way to shoot with this filter because it seems more sensitive to variations in exposure than my Lumix G with Standard IR conversion. Overexposed Enhanced IR images, as is the case of the above photograph of Mary at Bingham Lake, can still be used to produce a good black & white image, because as LifePixel themselves state, “BW also looks quite good although with a bit less contrast without adjustments.” But not so much for a color image.

Since traditional histograms don’t work as well for infrared capture, you can get some idea of the sky/foreground separation directly on the camera’s LCD screen or EVF for mirrorless shooters. The magenta-charged images on the LCD screen look a bit like color negative film and may be a harder to view but you can clearly see separation between the sky and foreground, if there is any. With sufficient separation, as seen at left, you can produce the kind of color infrared images shown in my tutorial “Creating the Blue Sky Infrared Technique.”  Obtaining proper exposure when shooting with the Enhanced IR filter—bracketing may be required—lets you to produce images like the below photograph.

Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they have done all of the recent conversions for my Canon DSLRs as well as Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras.

 

Copies of my book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” are available from Amazon and used copies are just $14.99, or less as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and used copies are available from Amazon for the bargain price of $4.00. Copies of both make a nice gift for an infrared shooting friend or yourself.