Infra-Red Photography

Those of you who follow my blog will remember that I enjoy infra-red photography, cf Seeing Red. I have recently acquired a digital camera that has been converted to image in a broader spectrum than our visible one. It is sensitive from 300nm UV to 1100nm IR; by using front filters the range can be limited for a particular bandwidth. The camera was supplied by IRDIGI, who I can recommend for a polite & efficient service. It is a Fuji FinePix S9600, you can find reviews of it (in normal guise) here. Here’s an example image from my first few days with the camera:

Yesterday's Tomorrow

The conventional way of displaying IR images is as a B&W image, in the image above I have lightly toned the monochrome output. Notice how the vegetation is very light coloured, this is because it reflects large amounts of Infra-red. Another item of note is how contrasty skies can be made. The sky in the image above appeared very icy blue with only a feint sign of high level clouds, yet they show up clearly in the image. Of course you don’t have to stick with the subtle; in the image below I have used heavy toning to create a particular mood for the image:

This Way

And you don’t have to stick with toned images, false colour IR photography is another technique again. In the image below digital manipulation returns a blue sky whilst maintaining the bright IR reflectivity of the plant life.

Silver Frost Fairies

This camera / technique is capable of much more and I shall be exploring this in the months to come, I shall also be adding some different bandwidth filters to experiment with.

General Points:

  • This camera is not for me to do Astrophotography with, that is not its forte. I shall be taking mainly Landscape & Nature shots with it.
  • To take pure IR images, one needs a screw on filter on the lens to block visual light, the above were taken with a 750nm cutoff filter.
  • With no filter you will take visual & IR, an interesting possibility.
  • The camera IR output is a colour file with a very red hue, post processing reveals what you wish.
  • With the correct filter, normal visual palette images may be taken.
  • A ‘normal’  digital camera or a film camera with standard film will not record infra-red light. In fact you wouldn’t want it to.
  • Having a non SLR converted allows for a degree more flexibility in this situation, but do research the options if you’re interested.

The image below is of our 820nm IR medical Laser. My Canon 20D doesn’t record any of the intense IR light from it and my eyes don’t see the Laser as ‘on’ but the IR camera records the diverging light hitting the prism and being redirected:

CDSCF0067 (8)

Note: If you have access to such a device, do wear the correct safety goggles & don’t look directly at the beam.

Oh well that’s enough for now, watch this space for more info & images in the coming months.


1 Comment

  • publicenergy

    December 29, 2007 at 8:52 pm Reply

    I hope you have fun with the modified camera. I bought mine (a S5600) last year and I’ve had loads of fun with it. It’s just a pity that the summer last year didn’t really happen. I’m hoping this years will be better – lots of lovely sunshine! 🙂

    I look forward to seeing what you do with the camera.

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