Faux IR, To Process or NOT To Process ?!?


Carolina Road, Standard B&W IR

Sometimes, depending upon the IR filter installed (630 and up), the Infrared camera can and will generate wonderful bronze images that are simply stunning.  You as the photographer must decide what looks good!  Traditional B&W IR, Faux IR or RAW right out of the camera?  It is rare that I will choose the unprocessed image straight out of the camera but once in a while the camera gods smile down upon me and will allow me to capture an image that is simply breathtaking! Case in point:  Look at the 3 images included here.  First I will show (left) the standard B&W processed Infrared using the Olympus E-PL1 with a B+W 091 630nm filter.  The lens is the Olympus 14-150mm m 4/3 and the day was slightly overcast with no harsh light on the scene.   I think that the B&W is VERY pleasing overall and I wouldn’t hesitate to print and display this!

Carolina Road, Faux Color

On the right is the SAME image but processed Faux Color using the down-loadable Photoshop action on the right menu here.  Again a very pleasing image that is a real keeper!  BUT consider the final image below… It is simply stunning in its coloration.  The bronze highlights really pop out at the viewer and I consider this image STRAIGHT OUT OF THE CAMERA, only processed for conversion from RAW to PDF and adjusted for sharpness to be the BEST of the three!  Remember, all 3 images are from the same RAW file!

What do you think?  Sometimes you need to REALLY look at your RAW images for the occasional keeper like this one!

RAW "Carolina Road" Processed for conversion to PSD and sharpening

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6 comments on “Faux IR, To Process or NOT To Process ?!?

  1. Is That 650nm filter usable on a non converted camera or is 720nm the minimum threshold for That sensor? Is usable coupled with one nd filter? Thanks. Hardware: Samsung ex 1 in pristine condition.

  2. Hi,

    Isn’t B+W 091 a Dark red filter that makes the picture looking all red? But I see your out of camera picture is having the color of almost real. Why is that so? Anyway, the OOC is really pleasing 🙂

    • Well, it is a dark red but no it will not make the image any more red. The 091 simply blocks visible light above 630nm. The red cast itself is a fuction of the red sensitivity of the sensor, the fact that we are only allowing near IR energy to pass and the white balance (critical). The lower you go in light frequency (higher in nm) with a correct white balance the colors will shift more to the bronze with some B&W as in this case. In a camera where you can not do a custom white balance ALL of your images will be dark red until you get them into the computer for post processing. This is true at 720nm as well!

  3. Pingback: Can I do infrared photography with a digital camera ? or maybe a post editing effect ?

    • Today the only real option is to use a digital system for IR. There are Photoshop filters to fake IR but they are a VERY poor excuse for the real thing. Camera prices are so low that when combined with a full spectrum conversion you can have a camera that will do BOTH color and IR!

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