I recently had one of my old cameras converted to shoot Infrared photos. The stock sensor filter was replaced with a 590nm IR filter (also called a IR Super Color filter) by LifePixel. I have recently had a chance to try it out.
I spent the day at Kensington MetroPark under some pretty perfect conditions, great foliage, scattered clouds, blue skies, and a beautiful lake. I've chosen one image to show my transition and early experimentation. This is new to me and I know that some of the stuff is way over the top. Hopefully I'll learn to tweak this and be a bit more subtle. My goal in the end was to try a bunch of stuff but end up with a quality black and white image of the scene.
My starting point was to choose a "Custom White Balance" since the camera responds differently to IR light. I set the WB using the grass as my target since it has a tone close to neutral grey.
As you can see above the RAW image out of the camera has a sickly red tint. This is again because of the response to IR light. If I had shot in jpg mode the resulting image would be closer to the results of my next step, RAW files, however allow for more options going forward.
I created a Camera Profile to pre-process the image in either Lightroom or Camera Raw using Adobe's DNG Profile Editor. You can find instructions in this comprehensive tutorial from Tuts+. The above image still needed a bit of pre-processing in Lightroom before moving to Photoshop.
To get the above image I added some contrast and clarity in Lightroom. I then boosted the vibrance and saturation in the basic panel. The above result is now ready to be opened in Adobe Photoshop.
The first thing I did was create a levels adjustment layer and adjusted the tonality to my liking. I then followed the advice of the tutorial above and created a channel mixing layer and fliped the Red and Blue channels (it is easy to create a preset to do this). This results in an image that is somewhat realistic in the sky and water but presents foliage that is yellowish. Not unpleasant but not realistic either. Of course we're not looking for realistic in IR photography.
I wondered what would result if I played with the channel mixer a bit. The two photos below show the results of flipping the other RGB channels.
Not sure I like this much. The colors have no relationship to each other. I thought I would try the last combination available.
Wow still really weird but it feels more surreal to me than garish. The above images were fun to manipulate, but my goal was to get to a nice, but different, Black and White image. So here's what I did.
I went back to the Raw file that I brought into Photoshop and again set the levels and flipped the Red and Blue channels. I then created a Black and White adjustment layer. I tweaked the contrast and tonality of the resulting images and came up with this:
I'm mostly happy with the results, but I want to play with it a bit more. It's going to take me some time to figure this stuff out but I'm going to have a lot of fun along the way.
What do You think?
© Tim Marks all rights reserved