Digital Black & White Infrared...


Finally I’ve managed to take a good black and white infrared photograph with my Canon S50 digital camera. Not that it’s incredibly difficult you understand, it has just taken awhile for all the elements to align.

I must have taken at least 4 rolls of Konica Infrared 750 Black & White Film when I used to take all my pictures with a Pentax SF7 SLR camera, which I still have. I really like that kind of otherworldly look that the pictures have. The photos look as if something is slightly off-kilter, which it is. The tell tale signs are usually a dark sky, with fluffy white clouds, grass and other foliage being very white as if covered with snow or frost.

With the Pentax I had to fit the Hoya R72 filter, focus using the cameras auto focus, switch to manual focus and alter the focusing according to the markings on the barrel of the lens. Then take the photo, letting the camera set judge the exposure through the filter, all on a tripod obviously. It’s the opaque R72 filter that does the trick. If you don’t use a filter you just get a standard black and white exposure. When I’d managed to use the film I then had to take it to Jessops in Manchester to have it processed and printed. Some of the photos came out all right but I do remember that the whole of my first roll didn’t.

When I was looking around for a digital camera, a few years ago now, I found out from Eric Chengs web-site that you could take infrared photos with a digital camera. A bit more digging around and I found that, practically, all the Canon cameras would work. Some cameras have an IR blocking filter over the CCD sensor which has to be replaced with a plain glass one, therefore destroying any warranty the camera my have. The only way to know for sure, as Eric says, is to fire a TV remote control beam at the camera. If you can see a red light on the cameras LCD you should be ok.

The picture above I took on a bright sunny day with the Canon on a tripod. At the moment I have to hold the R72 filter over the cameras lens before I take the shot. It is a case of experimenting with ISO film speeds and apertures but considering that it’s all digital then it won’t cost you anything. Once I copied the files off the compact flash card I just opened them in Photoshop Elements, used auto levels and then converted them to greyscale.

Possibly now that I’ve got the hang of it I’ll take more. It’s just going out in bright sunlight that I’m not too keen on.

  • Posted on Thursday, 22 September 2005
  • Tagged with photography