By Kate Silvia
Well, thanks to the folks at Singh-Ray, I can have my cake and eat it too! I can do infrared with my DSLR without having to convert the camera AND without the exposure times in minutes. I ordered their new 690nm I-Ray filter that, to me, mimics the effect of a 590nm conversion on a camera. My point and shoot has a 590nm conversion from LifePixel and I have really enjoyed it. But with the limitations of the point and shoot and not wanting to lug around a converted DSLR, I chose the 690 I-Ray filter to use on my regular camera. It’s just like any other filter that fits onto the front element of my lens. The exposure times are still longer than an unfiltered exposure, anywhere from 3 seconds to 20 seconds for most of my test shots, but I find that much more manageable than exposure times of several minutes. I can also use those slightly longer exposure times to my advantage for creative blurs in the field.
Not only does the 690nm give you some options for creative blur, it also allows some of the visible color spectrum to be recorded on the sensor. So, after a bit of fancy processing, you can have fun with the combinations of color and infrared in your images. These next two images are examples of this technique. I find I use NIK’s Viveza and Color Efex Pro quite a bit with my infrared images as the software speeds up the creative process. And note that your images may suffer from light leaks if you use these on a DSLR so cover your eyepiece and use a tripod to avoid shake.
I-Ray 690 filter used on a reflection at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston SC.
I-Ray 690 used for a scene at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston SC.
Here is a “traditional” look for infrared. This is simply a photo of fern leaves in a conservatory. If taken in color and turned to black and white, the leaves would turn darker, not lighter. With infrared, you can use this to your advantage to create dynamic, high contrast images that entice the viewer. I felt the traditional black and white worked well with this scene.
So if you feel like giving infrared a try and don’t want to convert your camera, the I-RAY filters are a great option. Personally, I love being able to switch to infrared on a dime just by adding a filter. This one is my favorite so far, but I’m really looking forward to many more infrared creations.
Kate’s Pro Gallery page on this site