Sunday, July 25, 2010


I had a great time today shooting with a buddy from way back in the day, check out his site.  I broke out the infrared filter, did some HDR, and even attempted a large panorama.


The first 5 images are infrared (IR).  IR is difficult with an non-converted camera.   All DSLRs  have a IR blocking filter on the sensor itself and this is why all the shots below were shot with at least 20 sec exposures in full midday sun (of course the wind was calm until I decided to shoot IR, thus the blurred trees).  To "convert" your camera you need to send it to a company that takes your camera apart and removes the IR blocking filter and replaces it with a filter that blocks all but IR light making the process much easier without the extended exposures but rendering your camera a permanent IR machine.  When you take an IR photograph it is, by nature, RED and requires specific white balance settings and post processing techniques to convert those shades of red into something magical. Green foliage reflects IR light most, this is how you get the whitish trees and shrubs.  I've always converted my (few) IR images to black and white when I'm able to get anything remotely worthwhile.  I've always admired the "false color" processing but have never been able to get it just right.  Something clicked today and I was extremely pleased after I saw what appeared after I ran these through the IR editing process.

The last 2 images are High Dynamic Range images aka HDR.  In a nutshell, to create an HDR image you take (at least) 3 images of different exposures (overexposed/normal/underexposed) and merge them digitally.  The practical application is to preserve highlights while exposing the shadows, just like the human eye does every time you look at a scene.  The digital camera is not that advanced (yet).  If the scene has too much contrast the bright area's will be completely blown out (white-no detail/data) if you expose  for the shadows and the shadows will be completely clipped (black-no detail/data) if you expose for the highlights (this is the reason I like overcast days).  HDR is a way to fix this issue.  I've done a lot of HDR but had fallen out of it because, to be completely honest, the photography scene is oversaturated with HDR and most of it is poorly done, google it. I still give it a try often but like IR I haven't really liked the images I've created recently.  These however I'm quite happy with even if the first one is a bit over-processed.  Normally, I do subtle tone mapping when processing HDR, basically make every attempt to make it look un-HDR, but the graffiti screamed for vibrance and contrast.  I was also really impressed with the quality of work for graffiti way out there in nowhereville.

The panoramic I tried was a waste of time.  Can't win 'em all.