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LEARNING INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY

I had never shot infrared (IR) images, so was keen to take part in an Aspect2i workshop designed as an introduction to this fascinating subject; fortunately I was able to borrow a Nikon D700 body from Michael Pilkington specially converted to capture infrared light. Visualising results in IR requires experience and judgement; and whilst calculating exposure is different from “normal” photography, it is still very important to capture the best quality file possible before beginning any post processing work.

My images were shot in the idyllic surroundings of the Lake District National Park. Not all the pictures turned out the way I had expected, however, I gained a valuable understanding of what is required to create a stunning IR photograph; here are my favourites from a memorable 2 day workshop.

Blea Tarn | Cumbria

Blea Tarn | Cumbria

Blea Tarn | Cumbria photographed through a polarising filter plus 2 and 3 stop ND (neutral density) filters to soften the water and to record movement in the clouds as they slowly drift across the sky.
ISO 200  61 sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 24mm f/3.5 tilt + shift lens

 

footbridge | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

footbridge | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

Near Blea Tarn | Cumbria; this is a stitch of 3 vertical frames. As in life, bridges can lead to many paths; but which one to follow? 
ISO 200  1/40th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

path | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

path | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

A forest footpath near Blea Tarn | Cumbria
ISO 200  1/20th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 24mm f/3.5 tilt + shift lens

 

stream | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

stream | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

A quiet, meandering stream photographed through a polarising filter plus 2 and 3 stop ND (neutral density) filters to soften the water and to record movement in the clouds.
ISO 200  46 sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 24mm f/3.5 tilt + shift lens

 

Blea Tarn | Cumbria

Blea Tarn | Cumbria

A typical IR image with foliage recording as light tones and water shifting towards the darker end of the scale; care has to be taken not to let highlight areas burn out to pure white.
ISO 200  30 sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 24mm f/3.5 tilt + shift lens

 

forest floor | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

forest floor | Blea Tarn | Cumbria

By the side of Blea Tarn | Cumbria; an “inner landscape” picture showing a pine cone and a part exposed root on the forest floor.
ISO 200  1/100th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

flattened grass | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

flattened grass | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria. I love the design structure of this shot with tall grass tangled and flattened; presumably by the wind and the rain.
ISO 200  1/100th sec @ f/14  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Living side by side in harmony; a silver birch and a sea of ferns.
ISO 200  1/50th sec @ f/14  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

broken dyke | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

broken dyke | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

The labours of man absorbed back into nature; a broken down dry-stone dyke in Penny Rock Wood.
ISO 200  1/10th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

An ancient tree in Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria.
ISO 200  1/8th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

forrest path | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

forrest path | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Paths; they seem to arise from no where and lead no where.
ISO 200  1/6th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

At the end of a remote, twisting single track road lay beautiful Watenlath Tarn with its flotilla of lily pads.
ISO 200  1/40th sec @ f/18  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm

 

Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

A vision of tranquillity.
ISO 200  1/40th sec @ f/18  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

lake weed | Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

lake weed | Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

Lake weed floating on and below Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria; this is one of my favourite “inner landscape” images and as Thomas Peck, a colleague on a previous workshop, commented:
“There’s a real depth to it; the IR has made the water go so black. And a lovely sweeping flow through the image. A cracker”
ISO 200  1/8th sec @ f/16  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 45mm f/2.8 tilt + shift lens

 

hillside | Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

hillside | Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

An ancient dyke snakes up the hillside from the shore of Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria.
ISO 200  1/40th sec @ f/18  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 125mm

 

hillside | Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

hillside | Watendlath Tarn | Cumbria

A vision of English pastoral serenity.
ISO 200  1/50th sec @ f/18  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 78mm

 

Lodore Wood | Cumbria

Lodore Wood | Cumbria

Lodore Wood above Derwentwater | Cumbria. As I discovered in IR photography, the trunks of silver birch trees often tend to merge with their light toned foliage but here the dark tree trunks effectively stand out like sentinels of the Wood.  
ISO 200  1/25th sec @ f/18  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 110mm

 

Lodore Wood | Cumbria

Lodore Wood | Cumbria

My last image of the workshop. I love the restful, square composition with the upper branches resembling the fingers of an out stretched hand; reaching for the un-obtainable.
ISO 200  1/25th sec @ f/18  Nikon D700 converted for IR with 24mm f/3.5 tilt + shift lens

 

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