The New CLiR Infrared Processing System and Photoshop panel!
I will be presenting at this years NECCC Photographic Conference from July 12 to the 14 at the University of Massachusetts. Please consider attending if you are in the area!
I have posted a short video on what the session will be covering that my dog and I made today (she says to watch it to the very end)!
I LOVE shooting IR and have a long history with it in both Film and Digital. I have had over 25 conversions from ALL of the big conversion companies around the country! But, once in a while I would get a camera that no mater how hard I tried, I will get a hot spot with it or the lenses I used. You learn how to deal with this by selective use of the aperture but once in a while you would just not be able to get around the problem and loose the shot….
Well about 3 weeks ago Ilija from Kolari (http://www.kolarivision.com ) sent me a note telling me about a new coating process for his conversion filters. I have a long history with Kolari, LDP and Lifepixel but I have never heard of this till now. Ilija offered to do a free conversion with this newl IR AR coating for me in return for evaluating it in the real shooting world! So I told him that I would send the X100s off as a test camera and that I needed it back fast in order to allow others to play with the camera also! Off it went on Tuesday. Imagine my surprise when I got it back in hand the following Wednesday!
Here is what Kolari says about this new AR IR coating:
So as you can see they are up and almost ready to start filling orders for these new filters.
I have to tell you that with my test conversion on the Fuji X100s to AR 850nm that ALL of my hot spot issues simply went away. This camera has always had a tendency for IR hot spots. I have converted, tried and sold so many IR systems in the past that I have lost count. I could not, would not sell this one as it is one of my most prized IR systems. To say that I am pleased with the results of the Kolari IR AR Coating is the understatement of the year!
Remember, if you decide to order from Kolari, give them my name for a $15 discount!
Normally you do not see much in the way of Long Exposure photography in the Infrared world. The reason is that it is necessary to use Neutral Density filters (ND) to cut down the amount of light reaching the sensor to enable very long shutter speeds. The infrared spectrum will reduce the the effective value of any ND filter that you attach to your lens from between 20% to 30%. Have you ever taken a photograph of a person wearing a pair of sunglasses in infrared and noticed that they are totally clear? This is the effect that I am talking about. The general rule is that the cheaper filters suffer much greater loss in infrared and the variable ND filters do not work well at all (yes, even the expensive Singh Ray).
Should you desire to pursue this style of photography I strongly suggest that you purchase and use B+W ND filters which loose around 20%. I am also told that Lee filters do not loose too much effect as well but I have not yet tested them even though I own them all.
The B+W ND filters display the ND values on the side of the ring, but the easiest way to understand them is to simply look at the 3 digit number.
I am using the Fuji X100s for the images in this post. It is a 16 mpix camera that is a rangefinder styled system. I includes an internal, drop down 3 stop nd filter that actually gives about 2 stops of reduction when used in the infrared spectrum. I had the camera recently converted via Kolari Vision, http://www.kolarivision.com to what they call the Dual Spectrum conversion. This is where the internal UV/IR blocking filter is removed and a strong UV filter is put in its place. This gives you the same capabilities as any Full Spectrum conversion except that it will not work with any IR or UV filter that combines multiple spectrums that include UV. This means that the 047b in camera Faux Color or Super Blue filter and the UG1 UV/IR dual band filter will Not work. All of the others work fine from 590nm up!
Plus you can convert the camera back to normal visible color with the addition of a filter on the lens to block UV and IR. With the Full Spectrum filter you need to stack the B+W 486 reflective UV/IR blocking filter with the LDP http://maxmax.com CC1 absorption filter. With the Dual Spectrum conversion you need only add the B+W 486!
So, I have ALL of the normal IR filters sized for 49mm which is what the X100s uses including the B+W 486. I am using the B+W 093 820nm IR filter for this camera almost 100% of the time though.
Another nice thing about the X100s is the fact that it has aperture priority mode with a shutter speed up to 30 seconds and a BULB MODE that goes up to 60 minutes! Where the X100 really excels is the fact that is gives a count up timer in the viewfinder or on the back LCD panel for timing your bulb exposure!
The camera is so small and easy to handle that it is a pleasure to work with and as you can see, the images are stunningly sharp!
I will be posting more long exposure images here in the future and discussing the various post processing recipes with you. Now, one last image. Here is the same shot with only the 3 stop internal filter engaged in the X100s. The shutter speed at ISO 200 and f/16 was 1/6 second. Not nearly long enough to slow the water down or blur the cloud movement but it would likely work for slowing down the moving water in waterfalls!
If any of you all out there shooting in Infrared work in long exposures please drop me a line or comment and we can share data about the various ND failures and successes!
Infrared photography with digital camera systems have been around for several years now and a lot of photographers have embraced this different spectrum of photography. Infrared is wildly popular in photography and fine art galleries now and my workshops are full of lots of talented photographers who desire to learn or expand their infrared skills.
The typical starting point for most infrared shooters is 720nm (standard) or 590nm (Goldie) IR conversions. We have all seen the amazing color images that these two conversions can generate. As previously discussed, we always process not only in Faux Color, but for B&W also. The B&W images are usually more accepted among the arts community though.
But did you know that with each increase in the IR Nano Meter band (the frequency goes down as the number goes up) that the contrast levels go up in B&W as well? This increase in the NM band starts to generate the most stunning, contrasty, ethereal images that have to be seen to be believed! The higher you go in the NM range also increases the white “glow” around the leaves and grass and the blue sky takes on a deep black. This effect is named the “Wood Effect” after doctor Robert Wood who discovered it 1910. What happens is that the leaves get a bloom or glow of white around them that generate that wonderful ethereal feel in the image. Take a look at image 1 which was taken at 830nm. Do you see the dark black where the blue sky is? Look at the leaves on the trees and how they take on the pure bright whites! Now compare that to 720nm image above in Image 2. The most striking difference is the gray sky rather than black, plus the leaves are grayer rather than white.
I would like to suggest that if you shoot in IR or are interested in doing so then you should consider a deep contrast IR conversion beyond 800nm. There are a lot of benefits to be found in that spectrum. This new spectrum sees ONLY in B&W, which will force you to visualize your scene in B&W.
The benefits to a Deep B&W IR conversion are:
There are several ways to have a camera converted to deep B&W above 800nm.
With either the full or dual conversions you can shoot every of the following light spectrums:
* Requires Live View capable camera
Now, Normal Visible Color simply means that your camera can take normal color images as it did from the factory! This means that you have a multi purpose camera that can take anything.
The only issue is that if you have a Full Spectrum conversion you need to stack a B+W 486 reflective IR/UV blocking filter on your lens with a LDP CC1 absorption filter to get back to good normal color.
For the Dual Spectrum conversion you only need to put the B+W 486 reflective IR/UV filter on your lens and it is back to normal color!
Disadvantages to the Full or Dual Spectrum Camera Conversion:
I have several cameras converted to above 800nm and several full spectrum and a new dual spectrum converted Fuji X100s. The images that I am getting from the Fuji with a B+W 093 830nm filter are the sharpest and most stunning deep IR images that I have ever produced! But that doesn’t mean that you need to go out and purchase that one. Any camera with live view will work great with the 830nm spectrum. Keep in mind though, that the more modern your camera is the higher the usable ISO will be!
You can contact Mark at his web site at http://www.MarkHilliardAtelier-blog.com for information on his Color & IR workshops, which he teaches with Jamie Davidson, and for his IR Post Processing DVD Tutorials!
Well, in a wild turn of events I have picked up some new camera equipment… This is a really no surprise as it is a sickness or rather addiction! But onward and upward!
I do have to tell you that I am REALLY excited over acquiring these new systems though. And unfortunately, one thing has let to another and thus a long journey has also been started into the realm of film again!
But first let me highlight the “What”!
As you can see in the top image, the newest body is the new Leica M240 24 full frame 24 mega pixel body. It also has a true “live view” which allows use of all sorts of other lenses like the Leica R series that you would NOT normally be able to focus. This means everything from long telephotos to true macro (subject of the next post!). After a few months of use I can tell you that this is the BEST digital system that I have ever used! Along with it I also picked up several lenses.
First, the main lens is the Leica M 50mm f/1.4 Summalux ASPH lens in silver. This is a HEAVY lens. If attacked by a bear I could use it to beat him half to death. The lens itself has turned into my main lens that I use 60% of the time. It has a built in leans hood and takes 46mm filters. The Bokah that this lens can generate is amazing beyond description. It is extremely smooth and easy to use and generates images that are truly amazing!
The next lens is the Leica M mount 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit ASPH. This is a TINY light lens that takes 39mm filters. These smaller filters sized considerably cut the cost of purchasing top of the line B+W filters. Since the M240 camera is a full frame sensor the 28mm really is 28mm! The lens is sharp beyond words and quick to focus. I am really please with this lens and use it for landscapes and lightning photography when mounted on my Fuji X-T1 camera.
The example image for this lens below is a texture overlay. The main image was an Infrared image taken by placing a R72 (720nm) infrared filter on the lens giving a white IR image of a palm leaf, then doing a texture overlay of colored flowers.
The next lens is the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90 mm f/4 and its macro adapter with split image view. This is a very unique lens in that it collapses for storage. By itself it is a great 90mm lens and has proven useful for mid range subjects as well as for Infrared work with the addition of a R72 IR filter. When you add its macro adapter (extension tube coupled to a viewfinder modifier) it will then give you macro capabilities down to a 1:3 image ratio! Below is an example of a macro image shot with this lens last week at Moore Farms in Lake City .
Now, I already had my two Voigtlander M mount lenses that I was using with the Fuji systems, but they are M mount!
First is the Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 Lens. This is an amazing lens that is very fast at f/1.8. The focus is smooth and long and it works very well with M mount extension tubes for true macro work (1:1 image ratio). I do have 3 of the 10mm extension tubes for it as well as a Canon 500D closeup lens. For my really small stuff this is my goto lens. It is a little long but has a very nice clam on lens hood. While it is NOT a Leica lens it is very close in terms of quality and ease and the f/1.8 aperture gives lovely bokah!
Here then is an example of a 1:1 life-size macro shot with it!
The last lens that I am going to talk about here is the Voigtlander Ultra Wide-Heliar 12mm f/5.6 Aspherical M Mount lens. Another heavy all metal lens with remarkable focus and DOF. Since it is so wide you can almost have a DOF from right in front of the lens out to infinity! Plus 12mm is really 12mm on the camera! Given that the camera is both full frame and has a live view you can see the power of using this lens and the ease of composition and focus!
In the example image below please notice the extreme range of the depth of field!
As you can see, all of the system components are extremely high quality and easy to use giving stunning results. I like to create Long Exposure and Infrared images as well so I thought that I would share some of them with you below.
I have started getting feedback and comments on the new IR/Color Video Tutorial. As they arrive I will share them here in this post with you. I am very excited over these. So far there are about 100 shipped videos out there!
The cost is $29.95 plus shipping which will automatically be added when you order.
All prices are in USD
I would like to thank those who have taken the time to send feedback and comments! It means a lot to me and will help improve on the next Video Tutorial that I put together!
The majority of the video is screen capture taking you through the post processing workflow button by button, click by click. All of the major RAW converters have their own separate video and you will learn about all 3 which will enable you to make intelligent decisions on which one is for you then be able to run it!
This is an in-depth tutorial and will give you the knowledge and recipe to take your own images from one end of the process to the other without pulling your hair out in frustration!
The cost of the video for US customers is $29.95 plus $5.95 shipping which will be automatically added when you order.
All Prices are USD
Yes, the new Fuji 55-200mm lens arrived for my fuji camera systems! I am currently shooting with a color X-E1, a color X Pro 1 and a IR converted (720nm) X Pro 1. I know how well the 55-200 works on the color bodies but what I really needed to know how did it work with the IR system! Would it give hot spots as so many of the Fuji lenses do? This post is the report of my findings. The final verdict is that it works very well and as long as you do not go higher than f/16 there are no hot spots to worry about at any zoom range! To me this is a really big deal.
So far only the 14mm and 35mm Fuji lenses are usable in infrared. So the addition of another lens really helps.
I am going to give you some examples of how this lens actually does at both the wide and long ends of the zoom range wide open and closed down so that you can get a feel of the usable Infrared range that you can use. Next week I will do a posting using the lens for color work only.
As you can see as you get to f/11 we start to develop a small hot spot, but nothing that cannot be fixed. Above f/11 the lens becomes unusable at the wide end.
The difference at the long end of the zoom is amazing and is usable over the entire range of the aperture! This is great news for us IR shooters.
There is starting to be a large number of IR photographers out there who are using converted Fuji X Pro 1 camera systems. There are currently 2 conversion companies out there who can do the conversion. I HIGHLY recommend the X Pro 1 as an Infrared platform and with the addition of the 55-200mm lens to our shooting arsenal we are way ahead of the game!
Images that are dark and moody tend to grab our attention. It is as though there is something hidden and dark that demands our attention. We stare at them and analyze the image for a deeper hidden meaning. This creates emotional impact that allows our viewers to share what we felt as we created the images!
Look for dark, stormy skies, moody clouds, dark trees or water. Work in Infrared and you will find that you have a much better chance to capture these kinds of images more often than when working in color. It is still possible to do so in color but you have to work harder at it!
As you can see in the image above, it is moody and draws the viewer into the scene, but it does not have that “dark and stormy” look and feel! As I stated before, it is much easier to capture these types of image when working in Infrared!
Work in both Faux Color and B&W. You never really know what you are going to get unless you take the time to post process both ways. You should even look seriously at the properly white balanced raw image right out of the camera! Sometime you can get a really stunning image there.
Here is the same image processed in B&W.
Try adding a lens vignette to your images to darken the corners. This will give more mood!
Here are some examples of RAW and B&W post processing!
As you can see both versions give stunning results. The most important thing for you to remember is that to get the best results from all of your images it is necessary to take the time to post process in all three modes. Do not short change yourself by cutting corners. Take the time to give each image your best try!
The Fuji X Pro 1 has turned out to be one of the best Infrared camera systems that I have ever used… period! The only good Fuji lenses for Infrared have proved to be the 35mm f/1.4, the 18mm f/2 and the new 14mm. The Viogtlander 75mm f/1.8 has also proved to be a STUNNING lens also! So, the camera has proven its infrared capability, now it is time to discuss in detail the recipe for post processing! It is all quite simple but there are a few requirements that you must understand in order to follow my workflow with understanding.
As you move your RAW (shoot only RAW for IR because of the ability to shift the white balance easily) onto your computer you should automatically tell yourself that you are going to process each selected image in Faux color and B&W. Sometimes you will notice that the un processed image looks great also (wonderful bronze tones) and decide to do a version like this as well!
Lets talk about the RAW conversion process a little bit. Photoshops ACR built in RAW converter will NOT apply the white balance correctly and your images will appear deep red. For this reason I use Capture One version 7 from Phase One. It is simply the BEST RAW converter that I have ever used. You can download a trial version and decide for yourself if what I am telling you is true!
My Initial Editing Steps:
Save your image again with a NEW file name that reflects the difference in your master image library tree!
Remember: Process ALL IMAGES as both Faux Color and B&W. You really do not know what you are going to get till you do so.
All of this really is VERY SIMPLE and once you have done it a few times it will become second nature to you. Soon you will be a post processing Infrared God or Goddess! Congratulations
No, let’s take a look at the image below. Notice the areas that I have circled as places where I desire to change the colors, contrasts and saturations (both plus and minus). Also consider that this is a 720nm converted camera and as such has a very limited color range (light pinks and warm tones and blues).
It is in this area and others like them (similar color values that are the same) that we are going to place control points on and change these values! If you notice that the areas around them also change a little you can place what we call anchor points which are simply control points with no adjustments to bring those areas back to where you wanted them!
You will find this ENTIRE process from the initial loading into photoshop to finish will just take 4 or 5 minutes or less as you become more practiced!
Sometimes Faux Color images simply do not work, then you still have the great B&W ones to work with!
Well, it arrived! After months of consideration after I got my X-E1 I finally decided to send off the X Pro 1 for Infrared conversion. It went to Dan at LDP (maxmax.com) and the cost was $500.00. YIKES! yes I said $500.00! Dan explains that the X Pro 1 is the most difficult conversion that he does! It required him 1.5 days to do the conversion and lots unsoldering/soldering to get to the sensor. Still, better than sitting on the shelf or an attempted sale on Ebay, plus I really like the camera and the hybrid viewfinder is just perfect for IR.
I had to decide between 720nm and 850nm so decided to go for the 720 in order to have a little color ( I really like the bronze tones right out of the camera at 720nm). The total time for shipping – conversion – shipping was 8 days, door to door. Very fast!
Importantly, the Fuji X Pro 1 camera White Balances perfectly. For these tests I white balanced on a green shrub in front of my gallery. The process to do so on the camera is simple and fast!
The scope of THIS post is to talk about the conversion itself and to give you some sample images testing each of my normal Fuji and Voigtlander lens set that I use.
My first image out of the camera was with the Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 Lens. It is stunningly sharp with great contrasts and tones without any processing at all! This is simply a perfect IR image right out of the camera.
OK, the original hot mirror can tell us a lot about the capability of the Fuji body to take IR with no conversion. The strength of the internal filter from the X Pro 1 is quite strong! It is actually 2 filters sandwiched together. They are very much like the B+W 486 IR blocking filter and the LDP CC1 IR blocking filter back to back. The 486 is a pink/gold filter that extends a little further into the visible light spectrum before falling off and allows a little less IR to pass through. The CC1 filter is wider at the UV end. The two filters together will pass light to the sensor from about 300nm to 700nm. You can see this in the image below. This is the same filter arrangement (hot mirror) that we normally see in the Canon DSLR line and on the Panasonic Micro 4/3 camera line.
If you were to look at the 486 and CC1 filters they are the same general colors and pass band to what we actually see here! So , what does this all mean to you? If you decide (and convince Dan) to have a full spectrum conversion done on your X Pro 1, you can convert it back to a normal color camera by stacking both of these filters (B+W486 and the LDP CC1) on the end of your lens. The full spectrum Infrared conversion is one where the hot mirror (IR blocking filter) is removed from in front of the sensor and replaced with a piece of clear glass. Then, the camera is programmed to the specific UV or IR band with the addition of the appropriate filter on the end of the lens.
Normally, the hot mirror can bee seen as the colored layer of glass under the lens as shown here where you can now see the 720nm filter installed.
Lens Hot Spots
As you may know (or guessed), not all lenses work well in the Infrared spectrum. This is due to many things, but most commonly, the coatings on the lens elements and the coatings on the internal lens barrel and how they reflect IR light energy. The common failure then is in the form of HOT SPOTS in the center of the image captured by the camera. These are always dead center in the middle of the image and present as large round white areas. Sometimes, they can be overcome by using a wider aperture, but not always…
Lets talk about the lenses that I tested that work (or in 1 case mostly work)…
WOW, what can I say? This lens works perfectly in the 720nm spectrum at all apertures! The camera auto focuses perfectly and fast, the images are sharp and there are no hot spots at any aperture! Lets take a look. This first image is raw out of the camera. I have done not post processing for B&W or Faux Color but there is enough color in the 720nm spectrum to have some interesting Faux Color results. These types of images will be covered in another post next week and we will spend a lot of time and effort teaching and going through each step in the recipe used to create them in Photoshop CS6 and the Nik filter set.
Next, is the same image post processed using CS6 and Nik’s Silver EFX Pro for B&W…
This lens from Voigtlander is one of the sharpest, easy to use lenses that I own. The fit and finish on this lens is something to behold. The lens has an included clamp on lens hood that works very well. The focusing is so smooth that it is scary… It is a PERFECT match for the Fuji X system (X Pro 1 and the X-E1) and works just as well here in Infrared! I was very happy to discover this in my tests at 720nm! There are no hot spots at any aperture. It takes Take a look:
This lens works well as long as you do not go beyond f/8. Past that it generates very discinct hot spot in the center of the image. While this can be overcome in post processing with Nik’s Viveza, it is still slightly disappointing… Still, when used at f/8 or wider the lens generates pleasing sharp images that make it worthwhile to carry in your camera bag! Here are the RAW test samples for you to consider.
Another great lens from Voigtlander. This one has a built in lens hood and while it will take screw in filters they need to be wide angle versions. It also has that super smooth focusing feel but since it is so ultra wide at 12mm you can focus it pretty much at infinity and it will always be in focus. I love this lens on the X Pro 1 and X-E1. For 720nm Infrared, it works great until you hit f/22 then it gives a faint hot spot. This is just fine with me as I rarely go beyond f/11 or f/16.
Take a look at the samples:
This lens is such a disappointment to me… It is without a doubt my favorite walk around Fuji lens on the X-E1 camera. I hardly ever take it off. Sharp and clear with great contrast. That being said it is all but USELESS for Infrared! There is a major hot spot problem at ALL focal lengths at ANY aperture past f/4. At f/4 it did take nice images but as you understand, useless for landscapes. Bummer….. I am beyond disappointed over this one.
I am going to initially tell you to simply forget this lens for Infrared. It has a seriously bad hot spot at all apertures. I will also share with you that I might actually have a bad copy of it. It gives a terrible hot spot on my X-E1 when shooting in color as well, especially when using a flash. I think that I am going to send it back to Fuji for repair and see what they think. Depending upon that I might re-evaluate it for Infrared later on!
The next post will focus on post procseeing and what can be acheived artistically with this new Infrared Fuji X Pro 1!
Please let me know what you think!
I just got back from a major workshop that Jamie Davidison and I led to the New River Gorge in West Virginia where to took our students on a hectic 4 day workshop/excursion. We explored waterfalls, grist mills, trains and vistas while studying Infrared and Color post processing back in the classroom each night till about midnight. This was EXHAUSTING to say the least but never the less, a great workshop full of great photographers who gave as much as they took! My days started every morning at 5am and ended about 1am. I am still recovering!
While the main focus was shooting in Infrared and its associated post processing, I needed to provide loaner IR camera systems to those who did not yet own one, so even though I own three IR systems I was forced to shoot color! The sky each day was free of clouds and very bright, so if I wished to photograph in color I was forced most of the time to shoot HDR images in order to overcome the dynamic range of the day! A lot of the time I was able to successfully capture an image with The X Pro 1 in a single shot like the one shown here on the right of the Glade Creek Mill. But the norm was indeed HDR. The X Pro 1 camera has an unfair advantage over most other camera systems, it has a wider dynamic range and can capture more image data!
Notice that the mill did have some running water which forced me to use very long exposures in the range of 10 to 5 seconds in order to slow the water down. While there was not a lot of water flow there was enough to make the images very nice. I used the 60mm lens on the camera along with a 10 stop ND filter in order to slow it down!
OK so let’s get to it! From this point on, we are going to be working with the same three source files. I will take you through the post processing for the following HDR tools:
I also will be using Nik’s Color EFX Pro 4 and Viveza 2 for post processing (fine tuning) after the HDR conversions are finished!
OK, what is HDR? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Think of it this way… You are out taking pictures during the brightest part of the day. You can get a good image of the foreground subject, but the sky is totally blown out, you know pure white. The total range of the light from black to white in your image exceeds what your camera is capable of recording, but our eyes can still see and understand the complete range. So, in the world of photography, we have developed the ability to take several photographs, say three to six, each one with a different exposure from way too dark to really blown out. With these pictures in hand you can now run one of several software programs available that will combine the best of each of these differently exposed image into one that can display the entire range of of the image from black to white!
Now this requires a image with more data than you can store in a 8 bit JPG image, and even more than your 16 bit RAW, TIFF or PSD image! Now we move into the world of 32 bit images that can hold and display a far greater range of black to white data. Now, 32 bit images are all but useless to us in the real world so the HDR software will compress it down to 16 bits by removing select bits of brightness data without really negatively affecting the view of the image and making it possible to view and print the image! Pretty neat technology don’t you think?
What I normally do when shooting HDR is to take a test image and evaluate the histogram. I will look to see what areas are out range, or totally black or totally white. Usually, the blacks will be fine but the whites will be blown out. I will then retake the same image with a negative EV dialed in and re evaluate the image again looking to see if the blown out white areas of the image are now in the proper range. This gives me an idea of just how wide the range of the image needs to be. If the blown out areas take two or three stops of adjustment to bring them back into range then I will then decide upon how many HDR images are needed to be taken to get the total range covered in 1/2 stop increments. You will need to set your camera on a tripod and have it locked down to assure that you get the same exact composition in each shot. You can either use the auto bracket mode on your camera to generate your shots or do it manually. Weather or not you change the ISO or shutter speed is dependent upon the scene or your artistic intent. Some cameras will bracket at most three shots, some 5 and some even 7 or more! You can usually choose to bracket with Aperture, Shutter Speed or ISO. It is important to keep the Aperture constant as to not change the depth of field.
For these shots, as long as I kept the shutter speed longer than 3 seconds I would not have any issues with keeping sharply defined slow moving water to generate the HDR. So I chose a 3 stop bracket using the Shutter Speed, leaving the Aperture and ISO steady.
These three images are the only ones that I will use to explore the various HDR processing software.
This HDR program comes built into Photoshop CS6. It is quite powerful and gives you a lot of options. I found it very easy to use and it gives very nice results. You will find it under the FILE > Automate menu and it will ask you to locate and open your component images or add images already open!
Once your images have been chosen, it will open them and drop you into a full screen dialog where you can make any image adjustments. Once done the software will drop the finished image into Photoshop where you can then do your final tuning with Nik’s Color EFX Pro 4. I like to use the Tonal Contrast filter due to the ability to adjust color contrast in the Highlights, Midtones and Shadows separately from each other. This one tool will really bring out the full potential of your images.
OK, onto Nik Softwares HDR EFX Pro. This is the first version that Nik offered earlier this spring (2012) It has a great interface and does a pretty good job, but requires a little more fine tuning after the HDR conversion is finished. The tuning process was again done using Color EFX Pro 4 and Viveza 2. This is a plugin filter for the Photoshop family and requires that you run a 64 bit operating system in Windows or OSX. It will NOT run on Elements and Lightroom.
I found that the images to be a little flat and lifeless until I applied the Color EFX Pro 4 in the after process tuning steps, then the images started looking pretty good.
OK, now, this is a MAJOR upgrade to Nik’s HDR software. This one revision corrected all of my complaints about flat and lifeless images! There is VERY LITTLE fine tuning needed at all. I think that Nik’s HDR EFX Pro 2 is my favorite conversion tool out there. But I will let the images speak for themselves!
Photomatix is likely the most popular HDR conversion package on the market. It cost around $150 and does NOT require CS5 or CS6 to run. It is a standalone system and when it finishes it will directly save a 16 bit version of your HDR image on your computer that you can then open for further editing. It has many recipes and adjustments and you can do great work with it. I highly recommend it even if you are already running a 64 bit operating system and CS6. You will not be sorry!
As you can see, the 4 converted HDR images are not at all the same. That would be difficult if not impossible to achieve. Each software package has its own adjustments and none of them are exact. I like Nik’s HDR EFX Pro 2 and Photomatix 4.2.3 the best. They are all easy to use and as long as you properly evaluate the scene that you are trying to photograph and properly choose the exposure values of the component images you will get really nice HDR shots!
Infrared photography means so many things to me… I have a popular Infrared Educational Blog at http://infraredatelier.wordpress.com/ where I have shared all of my secrets surrounding Infrared photography for several years, I have a book in work on Infrared photography, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, I have practiced the art of creating emotionally charged Infrared images for longer than I can remember, even as long as 45 years ago with film. Here, today, I will disscuss with you the technical details of using your Fuji X Pro 1 camera system to create these emotionally powerful images as well.
Understand this, you can create Infrared images several different ways:
Standard Digital COLOR Camera: With the addition of a 720nm or 850nm IR filter on your camera lens your camera can capture Infrared images. There is a tradeoff to this way though because each camera manufacturer places some sort of UV/IR blocking filter over the image sensor that allows only visible light to pass through. Some of these filters are weaker than others and these cameras make for a system that will do well in Color and OK in Infrared with reasonable IR exposure times around a second or two. Others have a strong filter allowing only a small amount of IR energy to pass. These require VERY LONG exposure time in order to overcome this filter. The Fuji X Pro 1 is one of the cameras with a weaker filter! This is exciting because it enables you to easily create IR images with an unmodified camera system!
So with regard for the Fuji X Pro 1 system we are going to discuss option #2, the standard color camera with an external IR filter attached to its lens. But you ask: “What filter can I use?”. Well since we are not modifying the internal UV/IR blocking filter you must understand that the camera will pass normal visible colors as well as IR if the external filter allows it. This is both good and bad! If you were to install a 590nm IR filter on your lens the camera, it would see everything from 590nm up to 1000nm. But because the internal UV/IR blocking filter allows much more visible light than IR through, it will poison the exposure metering system. It is going to see the vast majority of the light as color (red) and expose for that rather than the IR portion. So attempting to do this will cause very unreliable exposure and great frustration on the part of the photographer.
What we need is to attach an IR filter that blocks ALL of the visible light and only passes IR to the sensor! So it is best to choose a 720nm IR pass filter to your lens like the Hoya R72 or a 800nm B&W IR only filter like the B+W 093. The higher you go in nm the longer the exposure time will be…
Now, knowing that we are going to use the 720nm filter which will only pass IR energy from 720nm and up while blocking ALL of the visible light our metering system will now function as it should!
White Balance is IMPORTANT when shooting in IR! The X Pro 1 will NOT reliably do a custom white balance with the 720nm IR filter installed. But it does have a manual Kelvin White Balance option, so when shooting IR you need to go to this sub menu in the WB settings and set it to 2500K. I have talked to others doing this and have heard that they also take away green as well in the menu. I personally think that this is unnecessary and by leaving the green neutral you will get more pleasing Faux Color images. A properly white balanced image taken on your camera has s slight reddish cast, the sky should be bronze and the green leaves should have a monochromatic feel with a bluish cast. (more on this later) An improperly white balanced camera image will be pure dark red. While you can still use this image in post processing the lack of a good white balance will throw off your exposure system. Read your camera manual on white balance and understand it!
Ok, enough of this for now. Lets talk images…
The Hoya R72 IR filter is almost black. You can see very little through it but don’t worry, the camera can see through it just fine! You can find these filters on Amazon for about $58.00 in 52mm. There are a lot of other filter companies out there that make these, some good some not so good… I trust the Hoya!
Mount the filter on your lens, set the ISO to around 1000 and put the camera on a tripod. Make sure that you have properly set the WB either as a custom on or as a Kelvin entry. If you choose custom, the camera will require a lot of light to due this properly. Use green grass to generate the custom white balance.
I like to use the optical viewfinder rather then the LCD or EVF for shooting in IR. Choose and frame your subject carefully. Hmm, a word about composition…
There are three items that can make IR images really powerful and full of emotional impact:
The more of these items you can get in your images the better they will be! Here is an example…
As you can see, the sky, reflections and leaves create an emotionally packed, etherial image that draws your viewer into it! Keep these three compositional elements in mind as you go forth and create your images!
OK, last part of this post! There are a few small exposure issues that you need to be aware of while doing IR work. They are:
OK, this is enough for today. The next post will be a detailed Post Processing tutorial that will take you through both Faux Color and B&W processing. I even have a photoshop action that you can download to semi automate the channel swap and cut down your post processing time!
I have just updated the images in my Grist Mill & Covered Bridge gallery in the menu on the top of the page under galleries! I added about 25 new mills and bridges plus provided name and state data under each image! I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did in creating them!
There is something especially pleasing about mills and bridges that can transport me back to a different time and age! I will literally travel hundreds of miles out of my way to visit them! In 2011 I spent 3 weeks visiting 19 states on the eastern seaboard doing just so, plus this year in May, I spent several days exploring the mills and bridges of south central Georgia!
You can visit the updated gallery by clicking on the drop down under Galleries in the top menu or if visiting from off site click on the link below:
Every year I try to make it down to Tybee Island, GA for a visit. It is one of the hidden treasures of the Southeast coast! There are two lighthouses there, shrimpers, beaches, birds and many more photographic subjects! Last year, my wife Ellen made arrangements for a family vacation there with a rental right on the beach. There were 9 of us there in all and we had a great time! For me the exciting parts of the week were the photographic excursions out and about. I am always excited to visit the same places many times as they will always present themselves in a different fashion on each visit! Below is a small selection of the many things to experience while visiting…
The sand on the beaches there is a fine off white sugar sand and the kids loved to play in it. There were ALWAYS large ships lined up to leave and enter the river going up to the port! Every morning there were shrimp boats going back and forth just off of the beach fishing!
The Tybee Island Lighthouse is a MUST SEE! It is one of the better looking lighthouses on the coast and always makes a great photographic subject!
Cockspur Lighthouse , the 2nd local light house is up the river a mile or so from the Tybee Island Lighthouse. You can visit it by heading north off of Tybee Island and stopping just before the first bridge and taking the small dirt road off to the right to the marina. You will then have access with a longer lens to photograph it. I have done this many times but for this trip we took a Dauphin boat trip out into the river and went around the lighthouse several times.
One of the more interesting things about Tybee Island is the fact that during the summer there are usually daily thunderstorms the come thru the area and this makes for a good opportunity to grab some high speed lightning shots!
Tybee Island is worth taking the time to visit anytime of the year. Go for a day or a week, you will not be disappointed!
On the top menu of the blog you will find several pages listed across the top. The one labeled Galleries is actually a series of drop down menus which will let you select several organized image galleries containing my favorite work from over the years. So far, I have 4 galleries populated but will be expanding over this month to around 15. Please stop by for a visit and come back often to see the changes there!
I hope that you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed creating them! They cover about 15 years of my work since living in the Low Country of South Carolina and cover about 19 different states and 6 different countries! I even have some high speed water drop photography thrown in as good measure.
I needed to visit my parents who live in St. Louis as they have moved into an assisted retirement home and were selling their house! They wanted me to take some furniture back south to my kids so that they would have something to remember them by and assist a little with the house in general. The entire process was pretty painfull and stressfull except for the 2 days of travel at each end of the trip! For those 4 days I was in heaven!
I have 173 grist mills programmed into my GPS in the truck that covers every state from Florida north to Boston then west to Missouri down to Texas! I had no specific stoops planned except for the Glade Creek Mill in West Virginia (which I have been wanting to visit for years) SO… I pointed the GPS to Glade Creek and then went to my Favorites section on the GPS which told me how close I was at any time to specific mills which I could then simply touch and direct the GPS to take me to as a VIA Point! Using this process I managed to visit 16 mills and could have made 20 or so but it was simply too much to do and still have time to sleep!
I spent a lot of time in North Carolina as there are just so many mills there to visit. Some are totally useless as photographic subjects but still could be saved. I skipped those that were in such condition along my route. I also would stop at a pretty barn as well but my priority were mills!
Several of the mills along the way were actually working mills that ground corn in order to make a living! This style of mill is not nearly as pretty as the older 1800’s version but can still be very interesting! The Linneys Mill in North Carolina is one such mill and very much worth the effort to find and photograph! It sits along a very pretty stream that has been damed and if viewed from the back is a worthy photographic subject!
Aside from the occasional commercial mill and tons of old mills there are quite a few of old mills that have been converted to private homes. I especially like to visit these as long as the owners try to keep the exterior the same as designed! The Mitchell Mill in North Carolina is one such mill and the owners have even kept the mill workings operational! They were not home when I visited and I really did try to talk to them but alas I was only able to make friends with their three dogs before shooting the mill! Perhaps the next time I go thru I will stop and attempt to visit them again…
OK, it is time to visit the Glade Creek Mill in Babcock State Park in West Virginia! As I said before, this one mill has been on the TOP of my wish list for several years and the point of my chosen route to St. Louis. I really didn’t know if morning or evening would be better for shooting here so I kept my options open and planned to stay at a local hotel in case I needed a morning shot! I needn’t have worried though as I actually arrived at 6 pm and the light was perfect, the fall leaves stunning and there was serious water flowing along the creek and over the various water falls! There were about 50 photographers there and I had to wait for the locations I wished to shoot from. I shot both in Color and Infrared but really Color was the priority due to the Fall colors. I used a Canon 7D body with the 24-70 L f/2.8 lens and a Singh Ray 8 stop Vari-ND filter to slow the exposure way down and allow for soft creamy water motion. Of course I shot on a heavy tripod using a remote shutter release and mirror lockup!
I processed all of my Color shots for B&W as well. I also kept HDR in my mind as I setup and shot several sequences for later processing using the new Nik HDR Pro software!
Here are a selection of my favorite images of the Glade Creek Mill:
Next, a 3 shot HDR image using Nik’s HDR Pro Software:
As you can see, the two different HDR versions give drastically different results. I like both but can NOT decide which is best! Perhaps you can help with this?
Glade Creek Mill was a dream come true for me and while there are several more world class mill shots coming in the next 3 postings, it was the highlight of my trip. It was worth the extra miles I drove to include it in my trip and the evening proved the best time to photograph it. I did make several discoveries while at Glade Creek, the most important is that I needed very GOOD ankle high boots in order to safely climb below the water falls and negotiate the rocks! I did not get a local hotel but chose instead to drive much further on for the night before I stopped.
My next post will be a few mills that I saw on day two!
I just added about 15 Grist Mill GPS database entries into the Grist Mill GPX file that you can download in the DOWNLOADS menu on the right hand menu! I added Ohio and Kentucky! Please feel free to download this file and then using your GPS software you can download it again into your car’s GPS!
If you have any additions to this file please send them along!
Infrared Photography has had a life changing effect on my photography. It has caused my creative juices to be re-charged! I cannot get enough of it and to that end I find that I take hundreds of Infrared images to each single color image! I find Infrared Photography to be emotionally charged in a way that takes my breath away! I hope that you agree!
On a recent trip to Greece I visited the Temple Of Poseidon where the sky and storms work to my advantage to produce this moody image!
An image from Brookgreen Gardens. Sometimes the unprocessed image straight out of the camera can be be very stunning and full of emotional impact!
A garden gate in Brookgreen Gardens, Faux Color Processed!
Shrimp Boats in Georgetown, SC, Faux Color Infrared. I like the Yellows and Pinks in this one!
This B&W image of the wheel house and bell of a shrimper is one of my favorite Infrared images of all time!
I am very passionate about my Infrared Photography and tend to take 100 Infrared images to each color image! I have several WEB sites dedicated to Infrared Photography but my best one is listed below!
For a more detailed discussion of my infrared work please visit my Infrared BLOG