So long IR, and thanks for all the memories

I’ve been interested in infrared photography for a long time. I first attempted it sometime in the 1980s using black and white IR film. The results weren’t very good. Focus and exposure using IR film was a challenge back in ancient times.

One of my first digital cameras was a Minolta DiMage 7Hi and in 2003 I tried again with an IR filter on the lens of the unmodified camera. The dense filter required long exposures on a tripod even in daylight. I hadn’t mastered RAW file processing and was using jpg format which didn’t help. But results were better than 1980s film!

2003: An Oak tree, Oviedo FL – B&W 49 IR filter on an unmodified Minolta DiMage 7H camera, 4 sec @ f/8 ISO 200

In 2011 I started researching IR modified cameras and ended up sending my Olympus E-PL1 off to have its IR blocking filter replaced with one that passed IR light and blocked normal visible light. That was a big step forward. Focusing just worked and exposures were similar to those on an unmodified camera. I made the image below from a small boat and it would’ve been very difficult with a dense filter and 4 second exposure!

Blue Cypress Lake2012: Blue Cypress Lake, Fellsmere FL – IR modified Olympus E-PL1, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6 ISO 100

In 2013, I traded up to an IR modified Olympus E-PL5 to take advantage of the lower noise and additional resolution.

A calm day on Jordan Pond2014: A calm day on Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine – IR modified Olympus E-PL5, 1/200 sec @ f/5.6 ISO 200

Then in 2017 I bought a second hand IR modified Olympus E-M5 MII and sold the E-PL5. The E-M5 MII was a bit better and had a hi-res mode which I used frequently.

Wetlands view2019: Wetlands view, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – IR modified Olympus E-M5 MII, 1/1600 sec @ f/3.5 ISO 200

In late 2021, I decided to sell the E-M5 MII. I hadn’t been using it much. Packing the extra camera, lenses, batteries, chargers, etc. was a hassle. And remembering how to use another camera system isn’t easy when you don’t use it very often. Now, if I want to do any B&W photography I have to use one of my non-IR cameras.

Along the shore2022: Along the shore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – unmodified Fuji X100V, 1/140 sec @ f/8 ISO 160

For all except the first, I started with the original RAW file and processed them with my 2022 current work flow and software. You can click on the last four to see higher res versions on Flickr. And I’ve collected many IR photos in this album:

It has been a long journey with infrared. Am I done with it? It seems so, but who knows? Not me!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Your visits, comments, and likes are always very welcome and a big motivator for me. Be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos – you’ll cherish the memories!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

8 thoughts on “So long IR, and thanks for all the memories

  1. I really like the next to last image Ed. Does your post processing software include any B&W IR filters?

    1. Hey Jim,

      When I do a B&W conversion, I’ve been using the built-in capability in Lightroom for for both IR and visible light photos. I think the “look” of that photo is mostly due to the light in the scene and the IR characteristics of the camera.


  2. I really like all of your IR images, Ed! A “clean” look to them.

    Photography is all about exploring, whether it be subjects, locales, equipment, techniques, software – it’s what keeps us fresh and motivated!

    I feel certain Ansel Adams would have embraced every bit of new technology we currently have in order to more completely display his original visualization of an image.

    Who knows, as you point out, you may one day re-visit IR!

    1. Thank you Wally

      I agree with you about Ansel Adams. He was that type of photographer.

      IR adds some capability that the visible spectrum lacks. It has (for me at least) an appealing look. And it’s very handy when the light is harsh. I’ve been using it a long time. My main reason for selling was to simplify things. All the extra gear to carry was a bother, and the extra controls on a different camera system were taxing my brain!

      I might try again some day.

      1. I’m not advanced enough to understand all of this but maybe I’ll learn something if I hang around you a little more! heehee! Love the big beautiful Cypress trees! Enjoy your day and this fabulous weather! Diane

  3. Photography is a journey and there is always something to learn or try. I bet you will be back to infrared processing when you the see the need…You have the techniques down for sure…nice blog…

    1. Perhaps you’re right, Dorothy.

      It’s interesting to think about modifying an older camera instead of trading it in. We’ll have to wait and see.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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