June 25, 2014


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This image is kind of a throwback for me. When I first started shooting digital I read that it was possible to shoot in infrared providing that the image sensor on your camera was receptive to infrared light. To determine this, all you have to do is point a standard television IR remote control at your camera and look on the LCD in live view. If you can see the light, you are good to go — almost.  You also need to get a 72R filter — a filter that blocks out visible light allowing only Infrared light to pass through the lens to the sensor. The filter appears opaque, like a 10-stop ND, so care in framing and focus are key.

My first DSLR, the Nikon D70 was IR sensitive, so I purchased a 72R filter for it and did quite a bit of IR shooting. That was about 10 years and at least a couple of cameras ago. Nikon saw fit to place a filter to block IR light over the sensor on subsequent models so, since I sold my D70, my 72R filter sat idle. The only way to shoot IR would be to have the camera’s sensor converted so it sees exclusively infrared light. A great solution if you have a secondary camera and plan to do a lot of IR shooting!

So, fast forward. I still own a Nikon D700 (which I can’t shoot IR with), but also shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Micro Four Thirds camera. A couple of months ago I (literally) dusted off my old 72R filter and tried it out on the Olympus. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it nicely captured IR. Which brings us to this image.

This is Sabbaday Falls — one of the gorgeous waterfalls found in the White Mountains of New Hampshire along the Kancamagus Highway. I shot it this past weekend using the Olympus, the 12-40 lens and the 72R filter.

The raw file in IR renders in either green or red, depending on the sensor (see the image below), so getting the initial exposure is only the start of the process. I have a few more images from this shoot to share, so if there is interest, I’ll walk through my processing in a separate post.

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