Baboons, despite being the most evil of all apes, are quite photogenic, with eerily human-like eyes and looks-like-a-smile-but-it’s-not mouths. Dithering about processing this chap, to colour swap or not? Either way, I’m glad that viewing glass at the zoo is thick, even though it does make taking photographs harder!
Photographed with the IR modifed camera, and a 590nm filter
Another version of that friendly smile
So, 20-27th October, stop everything else, it’s time for the annual Improv Festival in Wellington. This year I was one of the volunteer photographers, and also ran a workshop and co-directed a show based on that workshop, took a bunch of other workshops, got on stage, and had a most excellent time catching up with improv friends old and new. I saw some of my photos from festivals past blown up super large on walls about the town, which is an oddish thing. Here’s just a sample of some pictures from a wild week.
Such a silly, simple camera toy – a small glass ball, costing about $8. But, great fun to take a photograph or ten through, until the novelty wears off, just as the technique is mastered. These came out a little differently using the infrared modifed camera as the light doesn’t reflect on surfaces in quite the usual way. Done with it for now, but I might revisit a few monuments with it, it functions as an extremely wide angle lens, so quite good for the kind of places that you usually can’t quite fit in due to other buildings and such.
Well, I won a part of a bigger thing, the macro segment of The 2018 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year. I’ve not won anything like this before, possibly because I’ve timidly not entered any infrared macro photos in any competitions. There’s even a nice prize lens coming my way.
So check this months D-Photo magazine, turn to page 42 and, look, it’s my butterfly, among some other darn fine photos all plucked from the 13,000+ entries in the competition overall this year.
This little bee’s grooming routine on my hotel balcony was like some kind of impressively athletic workout.
35mm macro lens, IR modified camera, f/9 1/250 iso 320
And here, a much less elegant pose
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.