Monday, June 2, 2014

Creative Infrared Photography - Shooting Different Subjects

Rest stop near Pindonning Michigan - Infrared
Sometimes I want to create something different with my IR camera. In my experience, landscapes represent the normal starting point for most IR photographers.  IR  landscapes are appealing because they are visually different and yet familiar. Most viewers can connect with the image. I occasionally shoot IR landscapes and this photo is one recent example. This was taken this past weekend during a trip “Up North.” The subject is a rest stop along I-75/US23 between Saginaw and Pinconning. The interesting cloud was in the right place so I took the shot. As with most IR landscapes, white leaves are best when they are set off by some hardscape or water feature. Too much white gets boring. Processing was done as usual for color IR but I set a grey point on the walkway which gave the sky a green tinge. I liked the look so I didn’t mess with it. 

Lilac buds - Infrared
The next stop on the road to something different is this macro shot of lilac buds. The lilac blooms are done here in Southeast Michigan but they were just starting to open in the North Country. This image was captured with a Nikon D90 with a 720 nm standard IR conversion. I used the LifePixel white balance preset and deliberately underexposed the shot.  This photo is very close to the out-of-camera image. I adjusted the contrast and the levels and decreased the brightness a little but this is it. What makes this image different is the burgundy background and the green lilac buds.  The combination doesn't scream IR when you look at it. When shooting flowers, I often use a diffuser or a fill flash to even out the lighting.  In this case, I embraced the uneven lighting because it appeared more natural to me.

Steering wheel emblem - Infrared
The farthest departure from a “normal” IR photograph is this emblem from my steering wheel. It reminds me of a hot branding iron. The texture in the leather provides an interesting offset. This was taken with the LifePixel preset and the details were brought out using NIK Software’s  Detail Extractor and the Dark Contrasts filter.

I hope this will inspire you to try something different too. 

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