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Exploring Infrared Photography with the IR Queen

The "IR Queen," Deborah Sandidge, taught me some cool techniques in Virginia.
The “IR Queen,” Deborah Sandidge, taught me some cool techniques in Virginia. Here she is, captured in all her IR glory!

I had the chance to play around with an infrared DSLR while teaching a workshop in Virginia. I’ve never used IR before, and I’m glad that the “IR Queen,” Deborah Sandidge was there to show me the ropes.

In the past, IR photography was something most people really didn’t do. Options for IR before digital came along were to either use IR-sensitive film or an IR cut filter on the lens. Neither of these options were particularly ideal. IR sensitive film was a real pain because it had to be kept cold and had to be loaded in complete darkness to avoid clouding it. IR cut filters, which only allow infrared wavelengths to pass, make shooting tough because they block all visible light… meaning you can’t see through the camera with one attached to your lens. Moreover, exposures with IR filters needed to be on the order of minutes to capture anything.

With digital, the game has changed. You can send your old DSLR or even a point and shoot camera in to a company and have the optical low-pass filter removed and replaced with one that blocks most visible light. Depending on your ambitions, there are several “flavors” of conversions, including some that allow certain visible wavelengths to pass through in addition to the IR ones. Once you’ve converted your camera, you’ll need to explore the art of processing IR images. Continue reading Exploring Infrared Photography with the IR Queen