The Black & White Infrared Camera
In the film days I loved using B&W infrared film. At that time my favorite was KODAK High-Speed Infrared Film / HIE. The film is no longer available and besides I sold most of my film cameras. The good new is you can get similar results using a digital camera that records in the infrared range. You can purchase such a camera or you can have one converted that records only black & white infrared. Several years ago I purchased a used Nikon Coolpix 995 on ebay. I purchased the Coolpix for the purpose of having it converted for black & white infrared photography. What the conversion includes is removing the hot mirror filter that is in front of the sensor. This filter is there to block the infrared part of the spectrum while allowing visible light to pass. This filter is then replaced with a custom manufactured infrared or clear filter. Which cameras Many camera makes and models can be converted. Following are some of the models that I’m aware of: Canon Digital Camera Models: D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, DRebel (300D), DRebel XT (350D), DRebel XTi (400D),DRebel XSi (450D), DRebel XS (1000D), 5D, 1D, 1Dmk2, 1Dmk3, 1Ds, 1Dsmk2, 1Dsmk3, 1Dmk4, G2, G3, G5, G6, G7, G9, G10, SD800 IS, SD850 IS,SD870 IS, S3 IS, S5 IS … Nikon Digital Camera Models: D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90,D100, D200, D300, D300S, D700, D3000, D5000, D7000, D1, D1x, D2x, D3, Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 5400, 8400, P5000, P5100 … Fujifilm Digital Camera Models: FinePix S3 Pro, FinePix S5 Pro … Olympus Digital Camera Models: EVOLT E300, E330, E410, E500, E510, E520.
Nikon Coolpix 995
Even though the Nikon Coolpix 995 is older technology and is only a 3.1 megapixel camera, I still use it on some of my weddings and engagement portraits. I’ve sold several 20×24 inch framed portraits. And they were beautiful. I could not go any larger because even at 20×24 there was some pixelization. But for prints in 10×10 or smaller wedding albums, the
results are amazing. I make sure the Coolpix is set to shoot in the fine mode. I may convert my older Fuji S3 to infrared in the future but right now I’m happy with the Nikon Coolpix 995.
When to use Infrared Photography
I prefer black & white infrared photography on bright sunny days, rather than on cloudy days. And if there are white puffy clouds with a deep blue sky, the results are even more dramatic. You can also get great results when the sky is a bit cloudy such as when storms clouds are brewing. The infrared seems to cut out a lot of the haze and bring out the dramatic storm clouds.
Black & White infrared photography is very dramatic when you use it in high contrast settings to get a complete tonal range, such as foliage against water or a deep blue sky. Since green foliage and grass absorb most visible light, they reflect and transmit most of the infrared, causing sunlit leaves and grass to appear a glowing white.
You’ll notice that water and a deep blue sky render a very dark tone, almost black in some situations. Whereas foliage and clouds appear very bright, giving a full and dramatic tonal range. This, I believe, is the secret to a successful and dramatic infrared photograph, along with a wide angle lens to enhance perspective of the landscape.
Adding the Sizzle
Learn More About B&W Infrared Photography in Video Below