Published on: 8th Aug 2016
I tried my hand on infrared photography in the film days, but without anysuccess worth sharing. After changing to digital cameras, I started again with my experiments. This time it was more successful. Initially I used a Cokin P007 (720nm) filter (with all the light leaks going with it!) and then, when I upgraded my Nikon D70 to a D200, I decided to get it converted to infrared. Keith Groenewald, then from Kameraz, did the conversion for me. I remember we sitting at his dining room table doing the disecting of the D70. I found the converted D70 so handy that I later, when it was time for the next upgrade, converted my D200 to infrared myself (unfortunately it had so much dust captured between the sensor and the filter that I had to take it to Nikon to redo!).
In 2014, when I decided to upgrade to Fujifilm I discussed my requirement for shooting in infrared with Eslie Basson of Fujifilm, and he agreed to let their technical department do the conversion for me. As I could not afford to buy two X-T1 bodies at once, I opted for an X-E1 which was at that stage replaced by the X-E2. Eslie still had some X-E1s in stock and I got if for a good price. The beauty of the Fujifilm system is that the X-E1 uses exactly the same sensor as the X-T1, it is just the ergonomics (and some features) that differ.
So now the X-T2 arrived and this also means it is upgrade time for me! Like many other people, my first idea was to sell the X-T1 to help with the payment of the X-T2, but then I started to see the adds for second hand X-T1sand realised that we are currently in an over saturated X-T1 secondhand era. It will be better to do what I have done in the past - convert my existing X-T1 to infrared and sell my existing X-E1 infrared camera, as the market for Infrared X-E1 cameras are not so saturated. In fact, I am pretty sure that mine is the only one in South Africa!
So, if you are interested in infrared photography and you did not start it yet, please contact me so that we can discuss your journey to the world of infrared photography...
Let me give you a bit of background on infrared photography and my journey in this interesting genre of photography. As I mentioned in this article I decided to convert the X-E1 to a "Ultra Colour" 590nm infrared camera. It is important to understand that the 590nm bandwidth is actually visible orange light and not infrared (Low-pressure sodium lamps, like those used in some parking lots, emit a orange-ish 589 nm light). But the converted camera will "see" all the wavelengths from 590 deep into "near" infrared (850nm and beyond).
The biggest advantage of including some visible light is that it "play nice" with people's skin texture. Infrared only conversions (720nm and beyond) give skin textures a waxy look which is very unnatural and actually not usable for people photography. 590nm, on the other hand, still produces good skin texture and great contrast for monochrome portraits - including street photography. See this article for some of my mono street photos taken with the X-E1.
I bought two extra screw-in type infrared filters, a 720nm and a 850nm. Using this in front of a lens on the X-E1 gives the more traditional infrared look while it still allows for handheld shutter speeds.
On my X-E1 I once created a custom white balance while having the 720nmTswaing Crater is also taken using this custom white balance, but in this case I tweaked them to look more like the light polluted night star trail photos.filter attached, and then later used the camera without the filter attached. I liked the false colours of this custom white balance so much that I have not changed the camera's custom white balance since. The photos included in this article were all taken with this custom white balance, and, although I did do some Photoshop tweaking, I kept the colours as true to what you see in the viewfinder as possible. The photos taken at the
Working in infrared - especially in colour infrared - it is inevitable that you will want to change the colours. I love the channel swapping technique, but in many cases I do not follow the standard recipe, but rather use some inbetween channel swapping like those seen in my Shenzhen Lily photos. I promise to write an article describing how I managed to get the colours in those lilies.
So the bottom line is my Fujifilm X-E1 is for sale. I am ready to upgrade my X-T1 to Infrared!
Last note: If you did not visit my landscape infrared page yet, make sure to do so to see more of my infrared photos (most of them were taken with the Fujifilm X-E1 Infrared camera).
(If you have read up to here and did not click on a photo yet, do so to see them in larger format and also to browse through the rest of this gallery)