Photograph the Invisible

Heid, Jim
October 2004
Macworld;Oct2004, Vol. 21 Issue 10, p78
This article provides information on digital infrared (IR) photography. To test a digital camera's infrared sensitivity, a handheld electronic infrared-emitting device is needed, better known as a TV remote control. Turn on the camera and point the remote at its lens. Press any button on the remote. If a pulsing white light can be seen, the camera should be able to capture IR photographs. A way to block out visible light is also needed so the camera's imaging sensor can pick up the scene's infrared rays. To do this, attach an IR filter to the camera's lens. The lens barrels on most midrange and high-end digital cameras offer threads for attaching filters. If a camera can detect infrared light but cannot accept screw-on filters, it is still possibility to shoot in IR, just hold an IR filter tightly against the lens when shooting. To avoid shaking the camera, consider using the $10 Cokin Digi-Holder. Because an IR filter is almost completely opaque, a photograph will require a long exposure. To ensure sharp shots, mount the camera on a tripod. Chlorophyll strongly reflects IR light, giving deciduous trees, ferns and other bright-green plants a beautiful silvery, glow. Conifers, however, do not look quite as dramatic.


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