There are times in all of our lives, whether professional, personal or creative, that we need to find a new spark of inspiration to drive us to that next level.
I have been looking for a while to find a that source of ignition in my creative endeavors, as my photography was suffering from seeing the world around me in the same way that I have for a long time. One area of photography that has intrigued me for a while is that of Infrared photography, or, more accurately, filtering out a significant part of the visible spectrum.
As there was an upcoming Infrared photography workshop led by Lee Varis and Bobbi Lane (link) rather nearby to me, I took the plunge and had one of my DSLRs converted to a sensor that would filter all light wavelengths shorter than 590nm. As 590nm is in the yellow-orange part of the visible spectrum, the sensor will capture from there to the deep red and infrared bands.
Here is an image that I captured yesterday during this workshop…
The image is an allium flower backlit by the afternoon Sun. I was pleasantly surprised by the effect of a slight bit of lens flare within the body of the flower, as if provides the sense of hot gases escaping from a celestial body.
Part of what I enjoy thus far in IR photography is that what you see through the camera is not the image that you’ll create after processing. The Raw capture by the camera looks like this:
In this unprocessed image you can see the part of the spectrum that was capture. While I’m still learning more about the processing of 590nm IR images, the basic steps I follow are these:
– Convert RAW image to DNG for white balance adjustment – Select my 590nm white balance profile in Adobe Camera Raw – In Photoshop swap the Blue and Red channels in the image and make other edits
As I gain more experience with the processing, I will put together a post about it.
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
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12 thoughts on “Exploring in a New Light”
Many years ago, I got a filter that blocks all but infrared light. I got some really interesting shots with it.
It really feels like learning to see in a new light.
Good to see a post from you Frank. Fantastic shots. Clever!
Thank you kindly!
Great photos Frank 🙂
Fascinating leap into something new on the creative spectrum. It is tough when the creative spark goes out. IR photography…what a great idea and fun too. I really like your image.
Thank you very much. It’s really a new way of seeing for me, and the processing allows me to express the inner image that I sensed
You’re most welcome. 🙂
Interesting work flow.
So you have to convert the sensor? I’d thought a filter should work
You can definitely use filters. My reason for having my sensor converted was to extend its range further into infrared than the visible spectrum that is covered by standard sensors.