the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Experiment in Infrared

A couple of years ago I purchased an infrared filter, used it perhaps once, stuck it in the camera bag, and have been carrying it around ever since. Earlier this month, I thought it was high time I tried it out again. My subject was Riverfront Park. It seemed like a good time to try. It was the middle of the day, with bright sunshine, and I was somewhat unimpressed with my “normal” shots.

So I pulled out the infrared filter. Here are three samples of one scene from the park, one shot normally in color, a black and white conversion of the color image, and the infrared shot. All were processed in Lightroom.

Riverfront Park shot in color

Riverfront Park shot in color

Black and white conversion from the color image

Black and white conversion from the color image

Same scene shot with an infrared filter

Same scene shot with an infrared filter

While I like the infrared image the best of the three, I can’t say I’m overwhelmed with it. It certainly seems to be lacking a bit of the character I normally associate with infrared – namely very dark skies and very light foliage. It may be that my camera (Canon 6D) doesn’t transmit much infrared. Or perhaps there is an issue with the subject I picked. Any experienced infrared photographers out there want to give me some advice?

7 responses

  1. I am always looking for some way to change my photography. I also have a Canon with several lens, but have never used the infrared filter. We have a lot of sunshine here in Florida and is often too bright. I do wetland photography and like a contrast. Maybe I will try this lens. You aslo mentioned processing in LIghtroom. I am not familiar but will look it up. Thanks again. I love following your blog. Nancy Boyer from

    May 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    • Thanks Nancy. Before buying an infrared filter, you should check to make sure your camera can record infrared, as some digital cameras cannot due to built in filters.

      May 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

  2. Mi sono accorto che usando un filtro UV al tramonto e con cielo nuvoloso, il cielo acquista un colore intenso, viceversa se usato in piena luce le immagini risultano sovraesposte. Non saprei che dire per il filtro infrarosso, è vero che nella terza immagine il fogliame è più leggero, ma le ombre sulla seconda immagine le trovo più intense e il riflesso nell’acqua più marcato.

    May 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    • I’ve never used a UV filter, I may have to try one for evening skies. Concerning the infrared filter, the shadows are likely blocked up because there isn’t much infrared light in the shade. I expected the foliage to be much lighter. I’m not sure why it is not.

      May 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm

  3. Reblogged this on animphotography.

    June 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

  4. Thanks for the advise about infrared filter…I will check. I have another question. Sometimes I see photography that has really brilliant colors and I love color. Do you know what they are using or how this is done? Nancy

    June 13, 2013 at 5:59 am

    • That’s a bit hard to answer, Nancy, without seeing the particular images. It may be that the photographers are just boosting the vibrance and saturation in Lightroom or Photoshop, or it may be some other technique. Certain settings when doing HDR work can, for example, really affect colors.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:41 am

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