Infra-Red in Daylight

Orchard Road, originally uploaded by Wahj.

It took me so long to figure this one out.

I've taken infra-red photos with film, and an infra-red filter. I've taken infra-red photos with my Sony Cybershot at night, using the "Nightshot" feature. And only today did it suddenly dawn on me that if I put the same filter in front of my digital camera, I could take "nightshot" photos in daylight!

K and I took a lunchtime walk down Orchard Road, and we took some really cool IR photos. This one is just opposite Nassim Road, near Orchard Hotel. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love the way IR lends everything, but especially trees, and ethereal quality. K hit the nail on the head when she said it was 'painterly'. More of these photos to follow, for sure.


Terz said…

You gotta teach me how to do it on PS. Been trying, but for the life of me, I haven't been able to do it.
wahj said…
I've actually been thinking about it. Here's my thoughts so far:

The reason why an IR photo looks different is because materials (and colours) reflect IR differently than than visible light. For example, vegetation reflects a lot of IR (even though green leaves absorb visible red), hence it shows up white in IR film.

The way to replicate this in PS is to get the programme to take every pixel that is of a certain colour and change that to white. Less crude would be to get it to over-expose every part of the photo that is of a certain colour, so that to mimics more light coming from there.

The problem is that the reflectivity of things to IR is not necessarily linked to their colour. Not all green things reflect IR, for example - it depends on the material. Hence, a one-to-one mapping (changing one colour to another) won't be totally accurate.

Having said that, as long as you can get PS to do the following, the photo should look reasonably IR:

change all red to white
change all vegetation to white
(I've found that even flowers of any colour turn out white)
over-expose slightly (slightly blown highlights)
change all to black and white
Anonymous said…
dude, thanks for info. makes a lot of sense. we missed you last night. esp the gangup on g-man. wes

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