Sefton Park in infrared
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with photographing the landscape of Liverpool’s Sefton Park with an infrared (IR) filter mounted onto my Fuji X100. The X100 makes for a very capable IR camera with a Hoya R72 49mm filter. Using this combination, even in bright sunlight, often requires the use of a steady tripod (my Benro carbon fibre tripod does a fine job) due to the relatively long exposures required to capture enough of the IR light which makes it past the X100’s internal IR blocking filter. For those times when a longer exposure is required to smooth out moving water or to make moving people disappear from the resultant image, the X100’s built-in 2-stop ND filter comes in very useful.
Unlike cameras employing phase detection based autofocusing systems with which you need to take into account the focus shift required for capturing infrared wavelengths, the X100’s contrast based system means it can autofocus just as it would do with visible wavelengths. Despite the very little IR light hitting the sensor, I’ve found the X100 to hit focus easily every time.
For the post production of these images, I’ve chosen to go down the route of false colouring although the photos captured in bright sunlight also work very well converted into black and white. False colouring in this case involves some jiggery pokery on the raw image files to adjust the white balance and then to mix the red and blue channels. Getting any consistency is a little challenging, but I’m sure this will improve with some further experimenting.
I’ve really enjoyed shooting for infrared as the conditions I’ve been shooting in aren’t usually conducive to landscape photography. Suddenly, bright, harsh midday sun can be photogenic! Trying to ‘see in infrared’ is much different to trying to ‘see in black and white’ and it’s a whole new area of photography for me to explore. I’ve really enjoyed the results I’ve been achieving too with some surreal takes on familiar views. I’m now racking my brain to think of new, familiar locations to photograph!