Sunday, April 19, 2015

Springtime IR Opportunities - Capturing Immature Leaves

The weather has finally warmed up in Southeast Michigan and the leaves are just budding out. Many landscape IR photographers will tell you that there aren't enough leaves to make a good photo at this time of year. In my experience, the Spring is an excellent time to capture silhouettes (see my previous post) and small leaves against a darker branch. Some of these images can be quite dramatic. In this post I will share three images that I took yesterday. The shirtsleeve weather was a welcome respite from the bitter Michigan winter.

Infrared photo  Ornamental Crab Apple leaf buds.
The first image is a high-contrast black and white photo of leaf buds from a flowering ornamental crab apple tree. The branch was shot against a clear blue sky using matrix metering. This made the sky very dark. I noticed the light was making high contrast shadows on the leaves and the branches. The brown thing is a dried up crab apple.  Post-processing was rather simple. I set a WB in Capture NX2 and converted the image to a TIFF and worked on it using Photoshop CS5. The original image was so contrasty that I did not have to convert it to black and white. I set a black point on the background, added some contrast, toning, and sharpening to produce the image you see here.


Spring buds in IR. Domino's Farms in Ann Arbor Michigan.
The second photo is from an unknown tree I found at Domino's Farms here in Ann Arbor. I set the WB in Capture NX2 and did the rest of the processing in Photoshop. Once again, I was able to capture a high contrast image that did not need to be converted to black and white. I used the NIK Detail Extractor filter (large details) to provide more separation for the leaves. I also used a Dark Contrasts filter to increase the contrast. I did not remove the cyan coloration in the leaves appeared because it provided some visual interest. In this photo, the branches are as interesting as the buds and stamens.  


Ornamental Crab Apple leaves, Springtime. Infrared photo.
This image is also from an Ornamental Crab Apple tree taken against the blue sky. The original OOC image had a natural gradient in the background that went from black at the top to dark maroon at the bottom. the leaves were also maroon in color. The maroon coloration on the leaves resembled a duotone process so I decided to follow that path. The image was converted to Greyscale and then to Duotone using Photoshop CS5. I used Pantone 8040 C for the second duotone color. While this image isn't as dramatic as the first two images, the duotone toning brings out the light and shadow gradients.  

All of these photos were taken with a Nikon D90 (standard 720nm conversion), Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR lens, and ISO 200.  I used matrix metering and spot auofocus.

Hope you had a great Spring!

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