Infrared Filter versus Converted Camera

Image made with a Canon 40D converted to infrared. Murrisk Abbey, County Mayo, Ireland

I got a chance to use a friend’s infrared camera on a recent trip to Ireland. One big difference between a modified camera and using an infrared filter stands out.  The modified camera still works like a camera with auto focus, fast shutter speed, etc.

There’s no way I could photograph hand-held with an infrared filter.  The filter is very dense so it’s completely black.  That means a long shutter speed every time with the camera on a tripod.  That also means there’s no auto focus.

To take a photo with an IR filter, we have to pre-focus, screw in the filter, turn off auto focus, shoot and then experiment with the exposure until it’s right. Often the exposure is 4 or 8 minutes!

An advantage of the IR filter, though, is I can use it on any camera I own.   I can also  share the filter with other photographers.  The filter is small so it takes up little weight in my camera bag.  These are all positives.

Yet, the joy of picking up the infrared camera, taking a photo, and moving on was sheer delight. IR photograph was just like regular photography.

The gallery below contains images taken with an infrared filter. All exposures are 8-minutes long.

Compare the above with these images taken in an infrared converted camera. I’m using a Canon 40D converted to infrared.

Notice the difference? What do you think?

Infrared Filter in Ireland

I had the pleasure of using the Singh-Ray Filter 830 Infrared Filter during my recent photo tour to Ireland.  It was great to get to play with the filter and use it in a variety of settings.

(Please see my previous posts on Singh-Ray Infrared Filters.  Canon users need to use the 830.  Nikon users can use either but Canon cameras need the 830.)

All the images below are 240 second exposures, ISO 400-800, and f/stop of f/9 to f/22.  In my experimentation, I’ve learned that you start with one exposure as above.  Take the photo and then check the histogram.  More exposure is needed if the histogram doesn’t hit the right side.  Less exposure is needed if the histogram spikes up the right side.  Be prepared for some trial and error.

Carrickahowley Castle KAC2738
Infrared filter, of Grace O’Malley’s Castle; Carrickahowley Castle;  County Mayo, Ireland.  240 second, f/9, ISO 800.

In

Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic Coast, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland
Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland.  Atlantic coast.   Exposure as above.

Infrared Ireland KAC0899
Murrisk Abbey in County Mayo, Ireland.  One of my favorite images from the trip.  The green trees are white as snow.  Same exposure as above.

 

Infrared Ireland KAC0900
Famine Memorial, County Mayo, Ireland.  The ship seems to be sailing off into a bleak and snowy environment.  Same exposure as above.

Please read my previous posts on using this filter.  It is a great tool and could be just what you need to add a bit of creativity to your photography.

Singh-Ray Infrared filters.

Infrared Filters From Singh-Ray Filters

I love infrared photos but somehow I never seemed to get around to having an old camera converted to infrared.  So earlier this year I got an email ad from Singh-Ray Filters advertising their infrared filter.  My hand grabbed my computer mouse without my will and order the filter.  Before I knew it, Singh-Ray’s IR 690 filter was heading to my doorstep.

Glenwood cemetery infrared KAC9586before_1
Photo out of the camera with IR 690 filter

The filter arrived, I read some articles online, and then went out to give it a try.  The photos came out RED.  Yep, they were red but they were supposed to be red.

The articles I read said that the photos out of the camera would be red.  I was then supposed to process with method #1, method #2, or method #3 to get an infrared image.

I tried all the methods and simply had a black-and-white image.  No snowy-white grass or grass that look so great in infrared photos.  I could never get anything that even remotely looked like infrared.

Glenwood cemetery infrared KAC9586after
The above photo processed is just a black-and-white photo.

Out of frustration, I sent an email to the folks at Singh-Ray Filters.  I got an immediate response and they put me in touch with one of their experts.  That man and I exchanged photos and emails for the next two weeks.  I shot photos with the filter, processed them per his instructions, but nothing worked.  He paid for me to ship my filter to him so he could use it on his camera.

In the end, we found that my Canon 5D Mark IV and my Canon Rebel need a Singh-Ray 830 Infrared filter.  The IR 690 filter only yields a black-and-white image after processing.

Mystery solved.  Singh-Ray Filters immediately shipped me an 830 Infrared Filter and issued a credit for my 690 IR filter once they received it.

Glenwood Cemetery KAC5888_1
Processed images using the 830 Infrared Filter from Singh-Ray Filters.  Notice the white tree leaves.

Glenwood Cemetery KAC5886_1
Processed images using the 830 Infrared Filter from Singh-Ray Filters.  Notice the white tree leaves in the center and white grass on the ground.

Thanks to the great customer service at Singh-Ray Filters I’m now shooting infrared photos and loving my 830 Infrared filter.

By the way, the IR 690 filter works fine on Nikon camera.  We found this situation only applies to Canon cameras.

Here’s how to take a photo with the 830 Infrared Filter:

  1. Set the camera to the Bulb exposure mode and decide which f/stop you’ll use.
  2. Frame the shot and focus the lens.
  3. Turn off auto-focus on the lens.
  4. Screw the filter on the lens without moving the focus ring.
    1. You can’t see through the IR filters.
  5. With the camera in Bulb
    1. Take the photo with the shutter open for about 4-minute.
    2. Adjust based on the histogram.  A bit less time if the photo is too bright or a bit more time if the photo is too dark.

Here’s my method for processing photos taken with the 830 Infrared Filter:

  1. Open in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom
  2. Open Hue Saturation Luminance
    1. Move the red Luminance slider all the way to the right
    2. Move the red Saturation slider all the way to the left
    3. This gets rid of the red cast to the photo
  3. Go back to the Basic Tab
    1. Move the Exposure slider so the histogram hits the right corner
    2. Move the Black slider so the histogram hits the left corner
    3. Add some Contrast
  4. Continue processing to taste

I’ve just begun shooting in infrared and processing those photos.  Stay tuned.  More discoveries in store.