Digital Infrared Photography; Imaging With Invisible Light Page 2

The cost to retrofit the camera is not inexpensive and the camera only records reflected IR radiation. The IR Guy also sets a custom white balance and the conversion is guaranteed for one year. The internal filter used in a conversion is delicate and cannot be touched, but dust can be removed with a bulb blower. An optional hardened filter is available that allows the camera's imaging chip to be cleaned using conventional means and that's what I had installed on my Canon EOS D30. Once converted the camera will capture black and white IR images that look similar to images shot with Kodak's HSI film using a #87 filter, but without the grain. There is no need to place an IR filter in front of the lens, leaving the viewfinder clear and bright so the camera can be handheld, something film IR photographers only dream about.

There are several companies, including Life Pixel (, that convert point-and-shoot cameras for digital capture. Right now they convert Canon's PowerShot G3, G5, and G6 as well as Nikon's Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 5400, and 8400. (Life Pixel also does SLR conversions, including Canon's D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 30D, 5D, and Digital Rebel XT; Fujifilm's FinePix S3 Pro; and Nikon's D50, D70, D70s, D100, D200, D1, D1H, D1X, and D2X.) If you're handy with small tools you can convert your own Nikon Coolpix 950 and 990 into an IR-only point-and-shoot. Amherst Media's Digital Infrared Photography by Patrick Rice (ISBN 1-58428-144-8) includes a one-page tutorial on how to modify a Coolpix 950 or 990 for infrared photography. That one page alone is worth the price of the book.

The Lodge at Zion is surrounded by beautiful deciduous trees and red rock cliffs, making it a wonderful place to capture IR images. Image was made with modified Canon EOS D30 and Tamron's SP AF11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens at 11mm. Exposure in Shutter Priority mode was 1/125 sec at f/11 with a +1 stop overexposure compensation at ISO 200.

Seeing The Light...Not!
Infrared images are fun because they capture part of the invisible spectrum, allowing you to see some things that only register simply as heat creating otherworldly images. One of the first things you have to do when shooting IR images is forget everything you know about lighting and the best time of day to capture images. To give foliage that famed infrared glow you need to shoot at a time of day when there's more sun on the scene than not; this puts you shooting at midday! Not the best time to make conventional images, but the "golden hours" for infrared. If you need a rule of thumb, try this: the best time of day to shoot IR is when it's the worst time of day to shoot normal images.

Deciduous Or Not Deciduous, That Is The Question
In both film and digital infrared photographs, tree leaves appear to be white. This is a common effect produced by deciduous trees and grass because they reflect the sun's infrared energy instead of absorbing it. There are many different varieties and sizes and deciduous trees lose all their leaves before the cold or dry season. Before that happens, the leaves often turn orange, red, or yellow and new leaves appear in the spring. Coniferous trees a.k.a. evergreens have small and waxy leaves, sometimes needles, which are usually kept all year and have a less intense response in infrared photographs.

You can also tone black and white IR image files to add a different look. This photograph in Arches National Park was made with a modified Canon EOS D30 and Tamron's SP AF11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens at 12mm. Exposure was 1/100 sec at f/13 with a +2 stop overexposure compensation at ISO 400. Toning was applied using PixelGenius' ( PhotoKit Photoshop compatible plug-in.

Fujifilm's FinePix S3 Pro UVIR Digital SLR
As we went to press with this IR story Fujifilm announced a new FinePix S3 Pro UVIR camera, so we thought it apt to include news of it here. While aimed at the law enforcement community, the camera has obvious appeal to fine art photographers and infrared imaging fans. We haven't yet had a chance to shoot with this camera, so we are drawing on the Fujifilm press release for our information. We quote:

"The FinePix S3 Pro UVIR is the world's first production D-SLR camera capable of taking photographs in the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums. It has been designed for use in the science, medical, and fine art disciplines, with its most intriguing applications coming in the field of law enforcement investigation.

"The FinePix S3 Pro UVIR makes the evidence-gathering process more efficient and accurate for investigators. The FinePix S3 Pro UVIR has a live CCD previewing feature, a significant aid to the forensic photographer. This feature enables manual focusing while dark filters are attached to the lens as well as pre-capture verification.

"Moreover, the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR carries the same photographic technologies that have made the standard FinePix S3 Pro such a respected camera. These include Fujifilm's unique, double photodiode (6.17 million S-pixels and 6.17 million R-pixels) Super CCD SR II image sensor for a dynamic range 400 percent greater than cameras of single-pixel design.

"Initially, the technology designed for the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR was for traditional visible wavelength imagery. But upon testing we found that the natural low noise tendencies of the Super CCD SR II sensor produced an outstanding image within UV and IR light bands," explained Darin Pepple, Marketing Manager, Electronic Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "Fujifilm conducted a series of tests and after seeing the results, we knew instantly the immense power this camera would bring to forensic investigation."

The FinePix S3 Pro UVIR is priced at $1799.95. For more information, visit Fujifilm's website at:

Joe Farace is the author of the new 160-page book called "Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography" published by Lark Books (ISBN 1-57990-772-5). It's available in all the best bookstores, including Barnes & Noble, as well as


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