Infrared Photography Part 1/3 – Analog IR Photography.by Lucas Gabellini-Fava on Mar 18, 2013 • 7:12 pm 2 Comments
Colour Infrared photography is definitely not like anything you will have ever seen. Infrared photography is all about capturing a different whole different color spectrum. Its light which can’t be seen by the naked eye… but its there and alwayshas been. Now when I say infrared or IR most people will think of thermal imaging. This is why nowadays infrared photography is typically referred to as ‘near-infrared’ photography.
I will be doing a three part article on infrared light and photography. In this article I will be talking about the roots of this wonderful art. I will be talking about shooting IR film and the how-to’s.
The interesting thing about IR photography is that it is completely invisible to the human eye and also to light meters. This means that every shot will be different and full of unexpected surprises! Everything comes into play when shooting IR film. The outcome of your shot will change according to the temperature, the shooting location, the reflectance, altitude, time of day, exposure time and so much more!
Before getting excited and wanting to try this wonderful film for yourself you have to understand that Kodak, the company who made the famous Kodak Aerochrome film (EIR film) has long stopped production. This makes obtaining the film very difficult. I personally buy it from a man called Dean Bennici – http://bennici.net/fotografie/
So once you have obtained your film, you have to make sure to load it AND unload it in complete darkness, because unlike other film just opening the canister will completely expose it and will render it unusable.
Here are some examples of some results you can obtain:
Now how the infrared spectrum works is that anything that reflects infrared light will turn dark/bright red (a sort of beetroot colour) – so for example leaves, trees and most other plants will become red. Anything that absorbs infrared light will go black – so for example a sky with no clouds could become completely black. The outcome can looks extremely surreal and definitely more interesting than your average shot!
When shooting with IR film you will have to shoot with a colour filter attached to your lens. This is because you want to filter out certain rays of light, because the film is only interested in the infrared light, the rest are a simple distraction. The best ones to use are probably orange or yellow.
The exposure is one of the hardest things to get right when shooting IR film. This is because you are not able to use your light meter as its metering the current light spectrum but not the infrared one. Your best bet would be to bracket tremendously or take 2-3 shots of the same picture with different exposures to try and get one right.
When developing the film a lot of photo labs won’t actually do it for you. You have to ask the specifically to turn off all infrared machinery in the lab and do absolutely everything in complete darkness. A lot of labs will decline because they have no idea what IR film is and they don’t want to mess it up. Once you get the photos back, you will receive them as slides. I would recommend you getting a slide-scanner to be able to scan them in at home and save some money.
I’ve been shooting film for quite a few years but I have never come across such a beautiful ‘fun’ film. I would recommend this film to practically anyone who has had any sort of experience in analog photography as its just a bit harder to get the hang of. This results you can get out of film is just mind blowing! and to be honest… I find it extremely interesting that it captures a whole different colour spectrum!
I hope this article has either helped you or persuaded you to try some for your self! I will be posting the other two parts soon and I will also be writing a lot more about analog photography in the near future!
Latest posts by Lucas Gabellini-Fava (see all)
- An Interview with Paul Andrews - April 23, 2013
- Chelsea Leigh Interview - April 15, 2013
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- Infrared Photography Part 2/3 – Digital IR Photography - March 25, 2013