Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IR For Beginners - It's The Light!

Hello fellow IR shooters, and especially those who are just starting out in IR Photography! This post is the first in a series in which I will discuss topics targeted specifically to IR Photography using Digital Cameras.

Let's cut to the chase, Shooting in IR is amazingly easy to do, but only after you have learned some of the basics. And especially after you have learned to use the camera equipment that you own to shoot in IR. There are quite a number of variables for you to learn, but you will easily get down to the brass tacks of your specific gear.

Hopefully you will get a good general working knowledge about IR from these posts, but you will find that you only need a small portion of what we will talk about in your day to day shooting.

Back to the title.... it really is "The Light".

Light in the Infrared Wavelength Spectrum is just above the Reds of the Visible Spectrum that we humans can see. We are not able to see the IR Wavelenghts above visible Red, or Ultra Violet below the blues and purples. The following graphic will give you an idea of the Visible colors that we can see, as well as wavelengths on either side of the Visible Light that we are unable to see with our eyes.

Graphic courtesy of:

click on image to view a full sized version - used with permission.

Starting around 350 nanometers on the chart are the Ultraviolet or UV wavelenghts. We are unable to see these and will not be shooting this light, but close on, we get into the Visible range starting with the Purples. As in the colors of the rainbow, Visible light progresses and ends up around 780 nanometers, in the Reds. Above that, we start the InfraRed wavelengths. Again, we are not able to see them but they are present, especially in the natural light from the sun.

It helps to have a graphical representation of the light that is always around us, even if most of us non-scientists don't really understand the technicals of what it is all about. The important fact is IR is there, it exists, and it is the target of our IR Photography efforts.

Next Post we will discuss how you are going to go about capturing this "Invisible Light" and put it into a form that the human eye can see and appreciate.

Really facinating stuff, this IR Light.

-=- Jerry -=-


Bruce said...

Or, you could title this: "What you don't see is what you get." ;-)

Infrared Photography Buzz said...

So true Bruce. Thanks for reading the first installment.

-=- Jerry -=-