Ive been receiving allot of input and questions from people online and off about infrared photography lately. So I though it would be a great idea to share some more of my personal infrared photos and to give some information on how you can get started shooting in infrared as well.
Before I get into the how to part of this post i’d like to share the following images with you. These photos were captured over the past week or so on various explorations throughout the Northeast corner of Pennsylvania. I am really pleased with the progression I am making with IR photography, as well as with my photography overall. That’s not to say that I feel like Ive become some great photographer or something. Though I feel much better about the photography I am doing now as opposed to the work I was doing a year or so ago.
All of the above photos were captured using a customized Canon 70D which has been modified to allow infrared light through to the sensor of the camera.
Those of you looking to dive into infrared photography will most definitely need the same, that is a customized DSLR of your choice even though it is possible to shoot infrared without the customization. The problem with stock DSLRs only allow a very minimal amount of light to the camera’s sensor. Requiring long exposure times thus cause blurred and trailed images, unless of course your shooting subject that are dead still.
The customization itself is a very simple one. All consumer DSLR manufacturers place a special filter over their cameras sensors internally. This filter notches out infrared light, as well as other undesirable wavelengths of light in the electromagnetic light scale. To liberate your camera’s sensor you will need to remove this internal filter, WHICH I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING YOURSELF!
Lifepixel in my experience is the best and most sound service available. These guys specialize in DSLR modifications and offer a wide range of services. So many in fact that if you don’t know what your looking for you might become a little confused by all of the options they offer.
So let me give it to you straight. The most logical modification you can do to your DSLR is what they call a full spectrum modification with a clear glass replacement filter. Simply put Life Pixel removes the IR cut filter from your camera’s sensor and then replace it with a clear filter made of high grade photographic Schott glass. With this modification you are in complete control of your DSLR and even able to use it as a normal camera by inserting a clip in, or lens IR cut filter.
Once the modification is completed you will have a wide range of infrared filter options to choose from. These filters simply screw on to the front of your lens like any other photographic filter, though depending on the rating of the filter will only allow very specific wavelengths of infrared light through. For instance the photos above were captured using a 720nm IR filter that I purchased for $9.00.
Once your camera if modified full spectrum entire new worlds of photography are opened up to you aside from just infrared photography. For instance if your into photographing the Milky Way, stars, or any other astronomical objects your DSLR will pick up additional wavelengths of light that are normally blocked by the IR cut filter. Improving your astrophotography 10 fold! Hydrogen Alpha is one wavelength of light that is normally also blocked by camera manufacturers cut filters, so this modification is also very popular among astrophotographers.
If you don’t like the idea of someone operating on your new 5D Mark IV I don’t blame you. Older DSLRs are becoming very cheap now days and you really don’t need a 40 megapixel DSLR to compose beautiful infrared, or astronomical photos. Head on over to Ebay and grab an old Canon 60D, or an older Nikon if that fits your fancy. There’s literally thousands up for grabs on any given day.
Anyway I hope this helps you to better understand how infrared photography works. If you have any questions feel free to drop them below in the comments section!