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  1. #1
    LowriderS10's Avatar
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    I want to try IR photography. Where do I start??

    For years I've been awed by IR photography. I think the results are otherworldly and stunning...and I think it's about dang time I tried my hand at it.

    There's only one problem...where do I start? I have done a bit of research, but I tend to read conflicting stuff, so I thought you guys would probably know best...

    Here are my questions:

    What nm IR filter should I get? I've been reading that the closer to 700, the better.

    Does the brand of the filter matter, or can I get started with a cheapo eBay $10 filter? (remember, this is my first shot at it...so if a cheapo filter is 95% as good as an expensive one, I'd rather start with that, just so I get the hang of it).

    Do I need to use special film? If yes, what do you recommend?

    Also, if I need to use special film...how/where can I get it developed? Or can normal places develop it?

    Thanks very much!

    PS: If you're wondering about what I'd use for equipment, I finally have my near-dream combination of a Canon AE-1 Program with a Canon FD 28 2.8 (my absolute dream is a 24 2.8 or wider), that I'd love to try this with.

  2. #2
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Efke has nice IR film. I played a little with red filter, but not with real IR. I was developing film in normal developer, only loading and unloading of film in camera I did in total darkness. And patience is very important - for me it was not easy to get good results at first try .

  3. #3
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    el-cheapo $10 filter works just fine for me. As does the Ilford SFX gel, but it is a little fragile.

    You may want to check to see if your camera uses an IR sensor for the frame counter - If it does, you may get some localised fogging. As for processing, the Efke/Maco stuff can be developed in regular D76.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The AE-1 uses a mechanical sensor for the frame counter.

    I have had good luck experimenting with a Hoya R72 filter with either the Rollei infrared film or the Ilford SFX film.

    You need to use an appropriate filter with film that is specialized - it needs to have extended sensitivity into at least the near infrared.

    Most of the usable filters are very dark to visible light - composing using your camera's viewfinder when the filter is attached will be a bit of a challenge .

    This thread and the links referred to in it should help:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/5...tml#post647858

    One hint: the sort of outer-worldly effect that people recognize with IR photography is called the "Wood Effect". This has nothing to do with wood, but rather with respect to Robert Williams Wood, who discovered it.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Most of the usable filters are very dark to visible light - composing using your camera's viewfinder when the filter is attached will be a bit of a challenge .
    IMHO, this is an outstanding reason not to use an SLR for IR photography! It *can* be done, of course, but you nearly have to compose, focus, and *then* put the filter on and shoot---with a rangefinder or a TLR you can actually shoot IR handheld, if it's a nice bright day and you don't mind working with thin negatives. TLRs are nice, as well, because the films tend to be very grainy and medium format makes that less obvious.

    IR film can be developed just like any other b&w film. If you're having it done commercially, tell them what it is, just in case they have something that emits IR---if you're developing your own, do everything normally. (In 35mm, the Efke film *may* need to be handled only in total darkness, or something called "light piping" can occur from the exposed tongue and fog the first few frames---people have different experiences as to whether this is a real problem.)

    I was intimidated to death by IR before I tried it, but it turns out to be easy: put the film in, put the filter on, shoot, develop. The hard part is determining a good speed to rate the film at, and then exposing at that speed, which will be VERY low.

    With the Efke film, I generally rate it at EI 6 plus or minus a stop, but I've seen people say they prefer it as low as EI 0.5! This isn't as goofy as it sounds, because the ratio of IR to visible light varies a lot---it's higher at morning and evening, for instance, which rather confusingly means that you can treat the film as faster when the day gets darker---and varies with latitude and season. Bracket and experiment; it's fun.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  6. #6
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Lowrider, I recommend Rollei Superpan, rated at 200, with a 72 or an 87 filter. The 72 filter will need 6-8 stops of compensation, the 87 will need much more, typically 10-12, but it's well worth it, in my opinion. You can also use a deep red filter with this film and compensate 2-3 stops or so. Note that this film also makes a damn fine ordinary b&w film.

    n.b. some folks give their metering recommendations by specifying an effective ISO. I don't do that, I keep the film at box speed and compensate for the filter.

    Especially since you are shooting 35m format, I'd recommend bracketing liberally for your first roll, and take good notes on how you expose each frame.

    Oh and since you are shooting 35mm, take care that your camera is "IR safe" i.e. it doesn't introduce any unwanted fogging.

    I agree with the comments above that rangefinders are very nice for IR! I use a mamiya 6 for the bulk of my IR, and sometimes a crown graphic with a rangefinder. When I do use a view camera, I prefer to use apo lenses that need no IR refocus. Do pay attention to the need to refocus for IR, especially if you use the deeper (87) filter. If nothing else, focus a bit closer and stop down a bit more to enclose your subject in a bit more depth of field and ensure good focus. This isn't necessary for red filters, mind you.

    How much "effect" you will see depends very much on sun and season. In the early spring, in my area, there is a lot of fresh foliage and also clear, non-hazy skies, which makes for very strong effects- I posted an example in the apug gallery recently and I think I still have a few in my apug portfolio. Mid summer and fall are not quite so good for Wood effect, with any of the current near IR films.

    P.S. I have also shot the efke PL IR 820 and the Rollei IR. I prefer the sharpness I get from the Rollei films, the Efke I've used has too much halation for my taste, and it also greatly reduces the sharpness. On the other hand, you may like halation. So just keep that in mind.
    Last edited by keithwms; 06-14-2010 at 07:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  7. #7
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    What he said.

    Especially since you are shooting 35m format, I'd recommend bracketing liberally for your first roll, and take good notes on how you expose each frame.

    In addition to this, it would be good to keep track of the time of day, weather conditions (hazy, etc), and any other factors that might affect the exposure -- it will definitely help you define why some photos work, and others don't.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    As you may be able to tell from my linked to post, I find that my Mamiya TLRs are ideal for IR.

    I should probably try my Canonet too though
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9
    LowriderS10's Avatar
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    wow...you guys are a wealth of information. Thank you!

    You've definitely given me a lot to think about...since I have a full compliment of EF lenses, I'm thinking it might be cheaper to pick up a beat-up 10D or a beat-up Rebel XT digital body and IR mod it than shoot through roll upon roll of film experimenting...

    Right now I'm not developing my own stuff (I used to 10+ years ago), for a variety of reasons...I'd love to, but it's just not in the cards for the time being, and I'm not sure if it's financially a smart choice to buy IR film (which, I'm guessing, is probably not cheap), then pay for developing, only to have the first few rolls be garbage...hmmm....opinions? ideas?

  10. #10

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    6 replies made you digital convert? wow...

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