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  1. #1

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    Infra-red and original use?

    Hi

    I am very happy with IR photography, but why did someone invent this sort of film? I doubt it was because of the artistic use.
    I know that IR has been used for traffic surveillance, but is that the only use?

    Morten

  2. #2

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    I don't know if it was the original use, but I know it's used for scientific and agricultural studies. Fly over a bit of land, photograph it with IR film, and study the results to assess the amount (and health?) of plants on the land. This is about as far as my knowledge of this particular use goes, though.

  3. #3
    colrehogan's Avatar
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    I think I read in a book about color IR that it was developed to help the military be able to see people in the foliage. I think that the health of foliage mentioned by srs above is also one of the current uses of color IR film. I don't know about black and white.
    Diane

    Halak 41

  4. #4
    JohnArs's Avatar
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    Diane ist totaly right!
    Kodak and other developed it to show where the enemys are. If somebady was used little tres and parts of it for tarning and they killed the plant for the tarning purpose it was easy seen from a airplane with IR film!
    It was developed at the beginning of WW2!

  5. #5
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    As an aside, but related, when the Americans started using very high flying aeroplanes for looking at the enemy, they started to have problems with their film's ability to cut through the atmospheric haze.

    Kodak's Infrared film had grain the size of golf balls, so, although it cut through to the chase, so to speak, you couldn't really see what you were looking at.

    To this end, either before or during WWII Kodak Technical Pan film was invented. As it was going to be enlarged enormously the first criteria was to make it incredibly fine grained, this they achieved admirably.

    The second requirement was to cut through atmospheric haze so the emulsion sensitivity was extended further into the red than normal to achieve this, which apparently it did. I don't know how successful the haze filtering worked, but I believe that when Gary Powers in the U2 (?) was shot down the people who saw it's film and just what it could do, were amazed.

    I had a lengthy discussion in 1994 in Jena (East Germany) at the Jena Optik Werke Museum. My Father in-law was a photographer for the German Army during the war and he knew a lot about high resolution photography from the cameras in the Zeppelins. They used to photograph stuff on the horizon with great clarity, especially if it wasn't a windy day.

    He gave me the name of an old colleague who was stuck in the East when the wall went up, when I met him he noted that I was using Tech Pan film. This started him off on a technical discussion that I could hardly keep up with, about the relative merits of what they were sent to analyse after getting their hands on some film and what they were manufacturing for their own aeroplanes and sputniks during the cold war era.

    Fascinating stuff!

    Mick.

  6. #6
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    Fascinating stuff indeed - but like many things, makes you think: where would we be without this overwhelming desire to kill each other as efficiently as possible? When you look at the things we use in every day life, and you realize they would never come about without someone convincing someone else that they need money to develop it so that they could kill their fellow man a little better (or a lot). Funny lot, humans...

  7. #7
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    Having worked quite a bit with Aerial IR films, both color and B&W, I can say that they are amazing products. It is interesting to note though that they were first developed as products well before WWII. They were in use by the forestry service and wild life management organizations to detect dying and diseased trees and animal populations in the woods.

    That said, the use in military applications was never far from sight.

    High resolution, high altitude films were used up into the fringes of space (over 100,000 ft) to achieve astounding clarity.

    Another note is that one of the primary workers in this field, when I was in it was named Fagan.

    The USAF produced a special slide rule that allowed us to calculate the frame rate of 9x18" film for good overlap for mapping and stereo imaging. It was a real pain trying to handle that, a camera, the instruments, and equipment at high altitude, sometimes flying upside down. (yes, I did that years before Tom Cruise did it in Top Gun, but we stayed the regulation distance of x feet away from the plane 'beneath' us - well it looked above to me).

    PE

  8. #8
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    IR color film responds differently to artificial camouflage than to natural foliage. It also responded differently to various unhealthy plants than to healthy ones.
    Gadget Gainer

  9. #9
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    So I have a long lost relative, eh!

    Actually I do have some relatives in the USA, near Rochester as it happens, but this side of the family haven't heard from them since the fifties, when some of them visited for the 56 Olympic games.

    Mick.



 

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