A foray into the world of... Infra-Red


Liverpool / UK
I haven't looked at infra-red since I was a young lad, in the 70's, possessing a second-hand Pentax ME, and using 35mm film... I had some reasonable results from my B&W darkroom, but left infra-red and my ME behind as I moved onto the 80's...

I now find myself revisiting the topic, but this time with the digital format...

So a while ago, I invested in the obligatory Hoya R72 infra-red filter, and expected to fly right in where I had left off all that time ago... However, my journey didn't quite go to plan...

I attached the filter onto my Lumix LX5... I thought 'good glass' is bound to get the result I'm after....

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However, I found a misting/light patch in the centre of the image, which was impossible to eradicate, even with the help of PS (research on the web found this to be an issue with some lenses but not others and the cause of the effect was unknown).... so it was back to the drawing board.... I later attached my R72 filter to a Leica Bridge camera (V-lux 1).... a much better result in image quality, but the exposure times were taking me anywhere between 3-6 seconds, so unless the composition remained perfectly still the results weren't that good (fuzzy)

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The images were a bit dark, and even after a long time in PS, the resulting images really weren't worth bragging about.... let alone having to show them...lol, so once again it was back to the drawing board...

A few weeks of experimentation went by, but nothing was the least acceptable.... anyway I decided the best course to progress the matter was to invest in a cheap (£100+) I.R. conversion camera, and so settled on a 5MP Nikon 5400 as a Serious Starter Compact I.R. Camera.... the first few goes out in the garden were a revelation to take handheld photos, with normal exposure times.... even though I was basically messing around with it finding out what it does etc... yesterday I took it out to a local park, and rattled off a few shots in its raw mode (as this allows greater editing of W.B. settings in lightroom) to try and get a decent I.R. colour image.

Below is a jpeg copy of the unedited RAW...

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I took the image into PS but once again failed to enhance it... however, this time I had an aim and a 'workable' image... I need to hone my colour channel mixing techniques to get a good quality colour I.R. image... not to be downhearted, I thought Dont run before you can walk.... so I remembered my early I.R. days, and how the I.R. film was B&W, so I set the camera to B&W jpeg on full image size, ISO 200, manual W.B. sunny, cranked up the contrast and sharpness in camera, checked on google which colour filters enhanced B&W photography (chose the red to darken blue skies) and set out today for another go...

Below is an unedited 'straight from the camera' image... and pleasantly surprised I was too.....

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So I took the rest into Lightroom to tweak the blacks and darken them a touch more... but keeping the whites as taken.

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What do you think??? I think I'll be taking this out with me regularly... and I'll try to get round to those colour images like on the Mansurovs Photography Site


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Hall of Famer
Perth, Western Australia
Real Name
Bill Shinnick
I followed the same journey of discovery from R72 to sensor-based filter myself. Channel swapping is worth pursuing (LINK) but I found that both Photoshop and Lightroom preprocess the IR image in some way that messes up the channel swap. I use a cheap copy of Serif Photoplus for channel swap and then return to PS/LR for final stages.