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Infrared Photography

by Al Olson

© 2007 a.c.olson -- Ruins 2007

There are a number of films available in the general market that are sensitized so they record infrared light that exists outside the visible spectrum. These films are capable of creating interesting effects: light-colored vegetation, dark sky with contrasty white clouds, etc., that makes them popular for fine art photography.

Usually these films are not suitable for portraiture because ruddy cheeks become a pasty white, likewise for lipstick, red noses, and pimples, but bluish veins near the surface of the skin will become even more prominent. Even when closely shaven, men's beards will be more pronounced, exhibiting a five-o'clock shadow. However, because of the dream-like images, infrared is frequently used for events such as weddings while closeups that would reveal complection defects are to be avoided.

The web-author has written an Infrared Photography Guide that can be selected from the home page or by the link above for downloading and viewing.

(It should be noted that there is a popular misconception that film emulsions are capable of recording heat. This is not true. The heat region of the infrared spectrum is way beyond the capability of film emulsions to record these frequencies. Specialized electronic thermal viewers with appropriate heat-sensitive chips are the only devices capable of recording heat emissions.)

All of the images on this page are copyrighted.
See tooltip on thumbnail for copyright information.

B&W Infrared Photographs

Most of the major film manufacturers produce B&W films with varying infrared sensitivities. Several, like Ilford's SFX, are sensitive only in a small region outside the visible spectrum while Kodak's High Speed Infrared has an infrared sensitivity range almost as large as that of the visible spectrum. All of these B&W films are in negative materials only.

© 2007 a.c.olson -- Tower 2007

The two large images on this page were exposed on Ilford's SFX film using Cokin's 007 infrared filter. This filter is the equivalent of an 89B or a Hoya R-72 which have spectral cut-offs at 720 nm. SFX film is rated at ISO 200 for the visible spectrum, but must be exposed at an EI of 12 with infrared filtration.

Many of the images displayed in the thumbnails below were exposed on Kodak High Speed Infrared film, using a red filter (Wratten A also known as a No. 25). This film has a higher contrast and displays a coarser grain than normal B&W films.

Because Kodak does not put an antihalation coating on the film base of their infrared films, the light that passes through the emulsion is reflected back to the emulsion from the film base. This creates a "halo effect" that makes it very popular for fine art photography as well as scenics, weddings and other social functions.

The following monotone prints are available for purchase.
Pricing and ordering information.

Click on image to see larger view.

© 2005 a.c.olson -- Juniper Glow 2004 © 2005 a.c.olson -- Window with a View 2004 © 2007 a.c.olson -- Traces 2007

© 2005 a.c.olson -- Tenacity 2004 © 2006 a.c.olson -- Gathering Storm 2006 © 2005 a.c.olson -- Reaching the Summit 2004

© 2005 a.c.olson -- Hay Barn 2000 © 2005 a.c.olson -- Lovettsville Cemetary 2001 © 2006 a.c.olson -- Durango Barn 2006

© 2006  a.c.olson -- Balloons in Infrared

Infrared Color Photographs

Several years ago Kodak ceased production of their Ektachrome Professional Infrared (EIR) film, which is a false color transparency (slide) film. This film provided many interesting effects depending upon the filtration selected. Basic filtration would be to use a yellow or an orange filter to produce vegetation in either a red or magenta color.

For several of the following images a cyan color correction (cc) filter (with a strength of 10 to 50 cc) has been added to a yellow or orange filter to obtain a color shift toward the blue end of the visible spectrum. (It should be noted that the first photo below was made with a red filter which, with E-6 processing, causes the garish yellow and greenish-cyan colors.)

The following color prints are available for purchase. Pricing and ordering information.

Click on image to see larger view.

© 1005 a.c.olson -- September Morn 1998 © 2005 a.c.olson -- Korean Memorial 2001 © 2005 a.c.olson -- Random Hills Pond 2003 © 2005 a.c.olson -- Sambrito Moon 2003

© 2006 a.c.olson -- Prickly Pear 2006 © 2006 a.c.olson -- Thistle 2006 © 2006 a.c.olson -- Yucca 2006 © 2005 a.c.olson -- C&T Coming Around the Bend 2003

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Pagosa Scenes
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Infrared Photography
Nature Photography
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Al Olson
(970) 731-9801