I have dozens of Infrared filter choices for my Full Spectrum Olympus E-PL1 camera system. But time and time again I keep coming back to the B+W 090 590nm filter (Light RED/ORANGE) as the filter of choice. There is just something about the golden tones generated by plant leaves and the bright blue skies… Although I am a Black & White traditionalist, I still post process every image that I take both for Faux Color and B&W! The main thrust of this blog seems to have been down the Olympus camera line, but I do keep another camera on hand…. A Canon 20D modified to 590nm Goldie! So I actually have 2 different camera systems available to shoot in this range of Infrared! I rarely get out the Canon, instead I keep it for student use during Infrared workshops opting instead to shoot the Full Spectrum E-PL1 with the Goldie!
I am going to concentrate on Faux Color images in the post. My last post showed both, so you know that the 590nm filters will give you great B&W results as well. But let’s face it, if you purchase at system or setup for Goldie images, you are really going for Faux Color!
These cameras/filters are called Goldie for a reason! Look at the foliage, it comes out with bright golden tones that cannot be achieved any other way in Infrared Post Processing! The skies are usually bright blue and water reflections are just great as well. Some of the Infrared conversion companies like Lifepixel, LDP (MAX MAX) and Spencers call these conversions Super Color. Make sure that when you are talking to a conversion company (except for a Full Spectrum conversion that you tell them 590nm!
As discussed in the previous posting, there are some issues to overcome when shooting at 590nm. First and foremost is the fact that the filter allows both red energy as well as Infrared energy to pass through the filter! What this means to us as photographers is that the camera’s sensor sees both visible light as well as Infrared light. This messes up the exposure metering on the camera and causes over exposure in the red channel on the camera. Usually the Histogram will NOT display the red channel data correctly and you do not realize that the exposure is blown out until you get the image back onto your computer in Photoshop!
Take a look at the Common Filter Response Chart. Look for the red line labeled #25 to see the 590nm Goldie response line. As you can see, a great amount of visible light is allowed into the camera along with Infrared light. Most camera exposure systems cannot handle this correctly so you must make exposure compensation adjustments when shooting in this band. All you need to do to adjust for this is to dial in between -3 and -7 ev exposure compensation. Usually, you simply hold down the shutter button half way and turn a dial. On the E-P2 there is a programmable thumb wheel on the back of the camera to do this and for the E-PL1 you push the up arrow on the multifunction dial then the left or right buttons on the same dial to adjust the exposure compensation! For the NEX 3 & 5 cameras this function is built deep into the menu system but once you find it and start using the function it will become second nature for you!
When people see you shooting with the 590nm (#25 light red) filter they get sort of a strange glaze over their eyes as they mentally process just why the heck you are shooting through rose colored glass (most sill simply think that you are nuts)! Trust me, if they could see the finished image results after Post Processing they would be asking you for advice on doing the same thing! Do NOT show anyone your RAW image right out of the camera though, it is really not a very pleasing image in its own right like the RAW 720nm images can be!
I keep ALL of my finished images loaded on my Iphone and Ipad so that I can show them to any interested parties! You would not believe how many converts this has generated into the world of Infrared!
Remember, think Reds, Golds and Blues when it comes to Post Processing these images. The Faux Color Photoshop Action (download on the right) adjustment at the end is ALL IMPORTANT to getting good colors, see THIS post for detailed instructions on how to do this! Also important is the use of NIK’s Viveza Photoshop plugin to fine tune these colors (same post link as above). From start to end with the steps outlined above you can finish Post Processing in about 3 min!
As you might have noticed, when I process my Faux Color Infrared Images I typically will convert some of the compositional elements into Black & White! For me this just extends the dynamic range of the image and balances it better. Plus compositionally speaking, it really pulls your eyes into the image! This would not be possible to do without NIK’s Viveza Photoshop plugin! Usually I will convert ALL of the clouds and buildings (hand of man sort of things) into B&W. On this image the Trunk itself and the rocks were converted. Above the clouds and buildings were converted!
The B+W 090 590nm Goldie Infrared Filter is one of the least expensive Infrared filters that you can purchase at $24.00 0n Amazon.com! If you are shooting a Full Spectrum Infrared camera system pick one up and give it a try, you will not be disappointed!