I spent last weekend in Christchurch, a city justly famous for it’s blossom-tree filled parks. Thinks look just a little different in the near infrared: branches about to burst with buds are glowing already, and sometimes colours sharply different in daylight aren’t (magnolias for egs, the dark dark purple kind and the white kind, both look the same).
Duck Lake, closeup blossom and a Field of not-golden daffodils, all with the 35mm lightweight macro lens which has become my go-to holiday lens choice.
There are people who proudly proclaim that their photos are all “just as they came out of the camera”. I am not these people. I am particularly not these people when it comes to working with the IR mod camera. Images need to be processed or they’d all just be a sad red fog. Let me show you . . .
Roughly, the processing process here went like this (clockwise from the top left).
- The in-camera jpg, which is pretty much what my camera’s viewfinder shows me
- The raw file with default settings
- Custom camera profile applied and brightness etc adjusted in ACR
- Colour channels swapped in Photoshop, tweaking (I like the Nik HDR filter to add some structure, though not tooo much, also playing with the colour balance) and finishing with a high-pass to zing up the fur
One of the aspects I enjoy with this sort of camera (with the sensor that filters out non-visible light removed) is that as well as all the usual photographic fun of choosing subjects and lenses and apertures and shutter speeds and all the rest, there’s also a very necessary bunch of extra creative choices to make.
- Before the photograph: which filter to catch which part of light our eyes can’t quite see naturally
- After the photograph: all the different processing choices. So many choices.
Part of the joy is the joy of discovery, revealing an interesting or unexpected image hiding in an unprocessed fog.
The Huka Falls are a 10 minute drive away from Lake Taupo township, and a road-side tourist photo trap of epic proportions. But the place is not quite as exciting as it was when I was a small child. Way back then the bridge over the most squeezed part of the gorge was just a narrow swing bridge, and my darling brothers would usually jump up and down to make it bounce. It was quite slippery with spray most of the time as well.
- Looking upstream, from the bridge
These with the IR mod camera, 35mm lens and a 590nm filter. Colour swapped.
All from the Butterfly house at Melbourne zoo, shot using the IR mod camera with a 590nm filter and 35mm lens. It’s mid winter in Australia at the moment, and even in a hothouse the butterflies were a little sparse and looking a little ratty. I quite like the tattered look.
This little garden cutie (approx 3mm or so long) kept moving its head from side to side to get a good look at me. And then, being a baby jumping spider, it would sort of sproink sideways, only to stop and look around at me again. Bad for the taking of photos, but really rather entertaining to watch.
The spikiest little caterpillar is now . . . the hairiest little butterfly.
Yellow admiral butterfly, just emerged
There’s a late summer feeding frenzy in the garden at the moment, as this year’s crop of monarch caterpillars do their competitive best to turn into butterflies. This is indeed a very hungry caterpillar, and if not quite as adorable a gourmand as the Eric Carle version certainly as ravening.
Also, if you’ve ever wondered how a caterpillar manages to cling on while dangling upside down on a windy day . . . here’s a closeup of the hairy hooks on the bottom of their prolegs (the ones at the back), which I did not know until I just now looked it up are called “crochets”.