Starting up the learning curve with Infrared Photography

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by roundball, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Received my NEX-7 back from 'LifePixel', following its conversion to an IR Camera.
    UPS delivered it just before dark and by the time I got all the camera settings restored to the way I originally had them, I only had time for a few quick basic test shots off the front porch like the one below.

    The Trailblazers are their proper soft silver gray color...the trash cart & drain spout extension are their normal black color...I used the green leaves of the hedge as the custom white balance reference, and took a couple shots...image is a little soft handheld in low light but accomplished my purpose...it works !

    Tried a Canon FDn 35-105/3.5 and it worked perfectly normal as usual...no IR 'hot spots'...will cycle through a few lenses tomorrow to ensure all are problem free with IR. Since I only use Canon legacy manual lenses, the critical features of Focus Peaking and Manual Focus Assist also work perfectly, as I had previously read that they would.

    And as I'd learned before the conversion, some exposure compensation is normally added for the IR world...and since LifePixel had apparently set it up to +1.7, I left it there for now...will experiment more as time goes by I'm sure.

    In summary, other than the normal visible spectrum of colors not being present in the EVF, everything functions the same as it did prior to the conversion...knock on wood...couldn't be more pleased.

    09/30/15 - DEBUT IR PHOTO

     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
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  2. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    So Bill, did you try any channel swapping yet? I guess you haven't had any blue skies to include yet. Lots of fun in store for you.
     
  3. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Actually I did...I took a snapshot straight up through the trees where there was a section of blue sky & white clouds left...GIMP Channel Swapping worked perfectly, as did GIMP's "Auto WB"...and while that shot served as a good test for those features, I didn't post it as it was not sharp due to standing and pointing straight up overhead without a rest. Basically the race against time before dark was to get things figured out, set up, and test the few basic operations.
    And I'm relieved to say that things seem to work the way I understood they would and your help was a big plus in getting ready to take the step.
     
  4. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I just noticed the front orange and rear red plastic lens covers on the parking and tail lights don't show their colors of course.
     
  5. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Veteran

    284
    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    Keep us informed as you progress. I am also interested in expanding my meager IR experience. One of the reasons I kept my Leica M8.2 is that it is a reasonably good IR camera without needing any conversion. I have GIMP also but have not tried the channel swapping - so I need to do that with some shots too.
     
  6. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    I haven't tried the Gimp yet, since I have PS/CS and if it ain't broke...
    I'm curious about the standing and pointing straight up without a rest... I suppose it was getting sort of dark, but generally I can't imagine you really needing a rest during daylight hours. What kind of ASA (oops, sorry, I mean ISO) were you using and what aperture and shutter speed? Were you in a priority mode or manual?

    One of these days I'll learn all I need to know about the wavelengths and how to work with (manipulate) them - I should seeing as how I work with Earth observing instruments for NASA programs (VIIRS is taking some great shots of the latest typhoons and hurricanes), but I still get confused about how to extract more IR data using the enhanced version (655nm?).
     
  7. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    This is the handheld overhead shot...I think I had it stopped down some to try and get some DoF...don't recall shutter...but it showed me that GIMP Color Channel Swap flipped the sky to blue OK.

     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
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  8. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Yep, looks like it worked pretty good. Sometimes it is difficult deciding whether to brighten - to make the foliage look whiter, or darken to make the sky darker. In either case increased contrast works, but sometimes at the expense of saturation. I don't see a lot of shake in this, so I really can't tell is it handheld in this format.
     
  9. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    This morning I had the after-thought of tweaking it with some sharpening and that helped
     
  10. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Ahh... That makes sense. If there were some interesting subject matter (not just an exposure test) it would have made a very good IR photo. Good job.
     
  11. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I'm just trying to get a feel for how all the stuff works...and since today is another dark, cloudy, rainy one so far, just to have something to shoot I'm experimenting with different lenses, routine bird shots, etc, to get familiar with it all...
     
  12. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Bill, I probably failed to tell you this (I don't know, I might have), but the absolute best time for IR (IMHO) is late in the spring when the greens are abundant and the sun is bright in the sky. That's not to say that anytime isn't just fine, but late spring is the best (for me).
     
  13. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Makes sense...based on everything I've read, and on looking through lots of IR images, the mainstay elements of good IR shots always seem to include some combination of water, foliage, sky, and/or clouds...along with whatever main subjects there may be...people, animals, cars, boats, buildings, etc...looking forward to some decent weather to start experimenting.
     
  14. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Bill, I've forgotten where in the USA you are.
     
  15. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    The clouds & rain finally let up some and while there was no ‘sunlight’, the overall light level seemed to be ticking up a little so I ran another experiment to continue learning the process.
    Wanted to see how some of the steps for an IR photo and their results compared with the results of those steps having been used on regular photos of the same subjects I’d photographed in the past.


    Hairy Woodpecker was 40’ feet away
    NEX-7 converted to Infrared
    Exposure Compensation set to +2.0
    Canon FDn 80-200/4.0-L lens set to 200mm @ F5.6
    AP mode, ISO400, High ISO-NR set on HIGH
    Custom WB set on wet green tree leaves out behind the bird

    3 versions of the same Photo:
    A) SOOC...and this is also exactly what I saw through the EVF
    B) With some sharpening and GIMP ‘Auto White Balance’ applied.
    ( NOTE: No Red/Blue Channel Swapping…only Auto White Balance ).
    C) Photo B simply cropped up to check sharpening.


    A) SOOC




    B) With sharpening and GIMP Auto White Balance applied
    ( no Red/Blue channel swapping )




    C) Cropped up version to check sharpness

     
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  16. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Great photo Bill! I'm surprised that the woodpecker on the post looks so much like a visible light image! Was it not for the white foliage in the background I would have never suspected it was IR.
     
  17. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Yes, like other scenic photos I've looked at that include buildings, cars, people, animals, etc....those subjects don't seem to be as affected by the IR process as things like landscape objects of foliage, sky, clouds...just my speculation.

    The main observations for me today were:

    1) I see what I get...the image I see in the mirrorless NEX-7 is exactly what the NEX-7 sensor records onto the SD card...camera functions & features all work the same way they always did, etc;

    2) Apparently "red & blue channel swapping" is mainly beneficial when sky & clouds are involved...(too early "for me" to cast that in stone)...but it had no effect whatsoever on the image so I didn't use it...just clicked the "Auto White Balance" setting in GIMP and voila, the leaves finished their journey to snow white;

    3) The free GIMP Editor seems surprisingly good, particularly considering that I continue to use JPEG, not RAW.

    4) Good quality manual Canon FDn prime & zoom lenses seem to work perfectly.

    But I'm still way down at the bottom of the learning curve on this...looking forward to when we actually get some clear WX here...sun, sky, clouds at the nearby lake will be at the top of my list while the leaves are still green.
     
  18. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
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  19. TedG954

    TedG954 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Nov 29, 2014
    South Florida and NE Ohio
    Ted Gersdorf
    I decided to do more with the sky for the custom WB setting. Entirely different results. Straight out of camera is on the left, processed result on the right..

    SKY WB.
     
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  20. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Finally had some sunshine weather and no rain...the bad news is there wasn't a cloud in the sky so rather than waste a trip up to the lake, I took a few test shots from the driveway that included parts of the house, trees, and clear blue sky.
    Used the Canon FDn 24-35/3.5-L on the converted NEX-7...forgot it still had a Circular Polarizer on it but went ahead and took test shots with the sky looking lighter and darker in the EVF.
    The polarizer filter didn't seem to help / have the same effect that it does with visible light, as the finished IR sky result ended up looking much better when the Polarizer had it lighter instead of darker. Example of today's brief lesson:


     
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