IR Only

After more than 40 years of actively taking photographs, I’m very pleased that I can say that I am still finding new things to do—including many exciting things I’ve never done before.

Keep in mind that I spent most of my life at the forefront of photography—including a long (29 years) hitch at Minolta Corporation where I was deeply involved in the creation of their digital camera products. I’ve always had access to the latest and greatest equipment, including many prototypes and preproduction models. So to say that I am still finding new things is incredible, in my opinion.

And that’s what makes photography such a wonderful hobby.

Last month I sent a brand new Nikon D5000 to a company in Carlstadt, NJ, and paid them to modify it so that it shoots IR (infrared) only. The company, LDP LLC, replaced the factory installed anti-alias filter (also known as a Low Pass filter) with one that cuts off at 720nM (nano meters). With this conversion, the Nikon shoots IR directly and does not need any sort of filter in front of the lens. On the downside, it shoots only IR, and the Nikon warranty is now void. (Since I have never had a defective Nikon, I’m not overly concerned about the warranty.)

LDP also sells new cameras that have already been converted (visit www.maxmax.com for more details). They’ve been in this game since 1997 and based on what I’ve seen, they do terrific work.

I had never shot digital IR before, let alone an IR-only digital camera, but I’d always deeply admired the work done by my friend Steve Rosenbaum (www.sironline.com) who is an accomplished photographer in every respect and an absolute maven where IR is concerned. I am approaching IR photography exactly the same way I have approached everything else in life—with a lot of enthusiasm and virtually no talent.

I’m told that spring and summer are better seasons for IR, since the lush green plants burn brilliant white and generate strong false colors so characteristic of Infrared. But I’ve managed to get the Nikon outside this winter already. The image at the top was shot at Ringwood Manor, in Ringwood, NJ.

—Jon Sienkiewicz

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