Welcome to the domain of invisible light!
The human eye is only able detect an extremely narrow band of light frequencies from within the electromagnetic light spectrum. The majority of light that surrounds us goes unseen by us.
Infrared light waves for example, the light that I am capturing here with specialized photographic equipment is an extremely abundant range of frequencies that go unseen. Even though we are practically bathing in infrared light waves 24/7.
To be more specific the light that I am capturing in these photos is a range of the infrared spectrum called Near Infrared Light. It lies within the 620nm to 1700nm range on the electromagnetic light scale, which is below the band of infrared light that we are more familiar with, the Far Infrared Light spectrum which is used in thermal imaging. Though near and far infrared light imaging work under the same basis.
Simply put the light being recorded and displayed in these photos is a representation of reflected heat waves generated by infrared light.
The camera that I am using to capture these photos is a modified Canon 70D DSLR camera with special filters that only allow very narrow bandwidths of light to reach the sensor.
Because digital camera sensors are sensitive to infrared light manufacturers install special filters over the face of the sensor to block it. These filters are generally referred to as IR cut filters, or cut off filters. To give any camera the ability to record infrared light, this filter must be surgically removed from the camera’s sensor. This is a job best left to camera professionals, like the capable camera technicians at Life Pixel.
What your left with is a camera that is now capable of capturing not just infrared light, but an entire swath of wavelengths in the red spectrum that were previously being rejected. In order to tame the beast special filters are used to only allow specific wavelengths of light through. For example my favorite type of infrared photography is black and white, or grey scale infrared photography. To achieve this I use 950nm filter which cuts all other wavelengths of light out, except for this very narrow band. These filters are referred to as notch filters, or narrow band filters.
In addition to being artistically useful, modified cameras like this are used in numerous professional fields and industries to achieve the otherwise impossible. Modified, or specially manufactured infrared cameras are used in forensics, land management, astronomy and in agricultural industries.
Aside from Astro imaging I’m fairly sure that I’ve found my niche here in the invisible world of infrared photography!
If you liked this content and these check back soon for more. I try to make at the very least one post here per week, sometimes more. It all depends on what’s going on in my life at any given time.
So until next time, eyes to the sky and cameras focused!