Infrared

IR ROAD

I finally managed to put my portfolio in order and now I can re-analyze some photos that I`ve taken some time ago.

This includes a mini series of infrared images that I took during a short mountain trip in Romania.

I have wanted to try this out ever since I heard about the concept. I made extensive research and viewed different examples until an infrared sensitive film was finally available in Romania. After buying about 6 rolls of Ekfe IR820 Aura and a Hoya R72 IR filter (which is not completely opaque, by the way) I went straight to work using them.

And now for the tech stuff. During the trip I used 2 rolls and shot about 24 different scenes because I bracketed my shots. The user manual states that the film should be exposed at “about” 3-6 ISO with the filter on. This indeed turned out to be true since the best shots are the one taken at these speeds. What the manual DOESN’T` say is that the film should stay a much longer time in developer compared to their suggested one (which is apparently valid only for ordinary shots without the filter at the normal speed of about 100 ISO).

The first roll I processed at the recommended speed. It came out black. you could barely see the images. This didn`t look like overexposure because both the sprockets and the images were dark. I always handled the film in complete darkness in a changing bag even when unloading. After reading through different reviews on the net, I noticed that most indicated that a longer development time will progressively improve the contrast and quality of the film.

Like I always do, I cheated 😀 and went straight to long development. After a long time contemplating on this matter (about 5 mins) I went for three times the normal time with usual agitation (about 27 minutes). Surprisingly, I came out with quite nice results.

The film is unlike anything I`ve ever seen: it`s completely white (as opposed to grayish Ilford films) and also seems very thin.

The images are also as interesting, grain is predominant but not quite obtrusive, but the tonal range is somewhat limited. I have yet to print them, they will probably look better on different contrast.

Shooting is strenuous and a lot of patience is involved; you first have to decide on the scene, then set up you tripod, measure in manual mode, then put the filter on, take the picture using self-timer and finally take the filter out and go shoot the next landscape. To give you an idea of the shutter speeds involved, I usually got about 1/60 at f/4 in full summer sunlight. Some say that rangefinders are more suited for this kind of photography because you can full time see what you are shooting even with the filter on, although I doubt you will get good results because of the apertures you would need to use in order to get handheld images.

So much for words, I uploaded 4 shots on Flick that seemed good enough, IR light is very inpredictable and different from what we are used to. I`ll continue shooting IR since I still have 4 rolls remaining and what I got up until now has got me going.

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