Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Creative Infrared Photography Using Candlelight

Vicki silhouette high contrast
This past weekend was cold and rainy so we opened a bottle of wine lit some candles, and… took some IR photographs. It was a cozy time and I am happy to report that we had a few keepers from the session.The first two photographs were taken with the SuperColor 590nm converted D90 with a Nikkor 20mm AFD lens and ISO 400.. 

This first photo shows Vicki lit by two candles, one a tall taper and the other a low pillar to provide more diffuse light on her left side. The candles were very close together.This single point-source creates dramatic shadows and contrasts.The photo was taken at f/4 and 1/13 sec.The Exposure Value (EV) was decreased by 3EVs. If I had been paying attention, I could have captured the same image at 1/100 sec and no EV compensation. Once again, this shows how much IR light is present.  Candles produce more infrared light than visible light.

Vicki IR 580nm
The second photo shows Vicki with her hand around a single taper. Her hand acts as a reflector that produces a pleasantly uneven lighting that reminds me of campfire light. This was taken at f/2.8, 1/25 sec, and -4.67 EV.Once again, I could have captured the same shot at f/4 and 1/100sec or faster. There was no color manipulation with these first two photos. 

Yes, I could have taken these candlelight photos using a standard camera but shooting them with an IR converted camera is so much easier. I was able to light the room and my subject with an LED light and the light did not contribute to the photo. I did not have to fumble with the camera in the dark and the D90 was able to autofocus. Finally, I could have used a faster shutter speed to reduce camera shake and subject movement.

Grater and Shadow 830nm
The last photograph shows a small box grater with a tea light inside. I placed the grater in a corner between two light-colored walls because I wanted the shadows to be an important part of the photo. Setup and shooting were extremely fast and in 5 minutes I had a bunch of photos to work with. This was fortunate because the heat from the candle started to melt the plastic handle. The handle solidified after it cooled but alas, its shape will never be the same.

I chose the Deep Infrared (830nm) camera for this shot because I wanted a black and white image. Post-processing was amazingly easy. I used the Levels function to set the black point, added some contrast, cropped and sharpened the image about 15% in PhotoShop CS5. This processing could easily be done in PS Elements or any entry-level photo processing software. Even with the stronger light-blocking characteristics of the IR 830nm camera, I could have taken this at f/6.3 and 1/8sec.

When the shooting was done, we refilled our wine glasses, watched a movie, and had a very pleasant evening together.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy your photos and stories! So much talent! Thank you for sharing them with us! Great to 'see' you again Vicki. :-) :-) :-) :-)