Mark & Skittles

Mark’s Bio:

Mark began dabbling in black and white photography at the early age of 13, and the hobby quickly became a lasting and important part of his life. While serving in the US Navy, he traveled extensively throughout the world before moving into a position with Eastman Kodak in the early 1980s. After retiring from Eastman Kodak in the mid-90s, Mark started taking nature photographs on a full time basis in the upstate area of NY.

Yes, I really wear this hat!

In 1997, Mark moved to Murrells Inlet, SC and lived aboard a small boat. He spent this time exploring and photographing the waterways, islands and wildlife of the Lowcountry. He is now well known and respected as an advocate for environmental issues.

When asked about his philosophy on nature photography he says: “I tend to concentrate on the smaller, secret side of nature that most people overlook, a different view on the world that surrounds us each and every day. I work in color but Black & White and Infrared photography have a special place in my heart;  they tend to show a different view of things we pass by every day. I look at my photographs as portraits of nature rather than pictures, and I often spend hours with a single subject.”

Mark’s photography is widely published in many national and local papers and magazines. He has won numerous national awards and competitions.  He is an active member of Carolina Nature Photographers Association (CNPA), as well as the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and PDIA.

I do so love B&W!

A Landscape, Wildlife & Fine Art Photographer for 45 years, Mark has extensively traveled the world chasing his photographic visions.

Mark is best known for his ultra high speed hummingbird photography, lightning, water drops and espcecially his advanced infrared work and workshops!
Mark shoots with:
  • Canon 1DSMK3 & 7D (much lighter and fun!)
  • Panasonic GH2 590nm Infrared (addictive)
  • Fuji X100 (I love rangefinders!)
  • Hasselblad XPan II
  • Shen Hao 4×5 Field Camera
  • Various other IR systems!
Links to various web sites for and about mark:
You can contact Mark directly by clicking:
There is a MAJOR representation of Marks body of work on Google + that you can visit if you navigate to his Galleries!

54 comments on “Me

  1. Hi Mark,

    I’ve just found this blog and wanted to congratulate you on a great resource for infrared photography. The images, info and lens details are really interesting to read! Like you I am a huge fan of IR, although I have played with it for the last 10 years or so I’m only recently amping up the project. I recently sent off a Sony A7 for conversion to full spectrum and hope to get it back soon. I very nearly chose the Fuji X-T1, but wanted to stick to full frame for now. I have started an IR blog of my own here the other day, my next post will be for the Sony A7 conversion:

    I’d be very curious to know what you think.

    Do you think you will do any more lens reviews for IR soon? I have a voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 for the sony because it makes the camera relatively small, but I’m crossing my fingers that it will be friendly to IR…

    Keep up the good work, all the best!

  2. Hi Mark. Just wanted to leave a message that I always enjoy your work and have benefited immensely from your website and blog. Especially, when it comes to filters and processing. Developing my own way of using and interpreting IR. If there is a way to show some of my images or to send them to you I would be greatly appreciative. Julio in SW Wisconsin

    • Julio, thanks for the kind comments. You can share your images with me on Facebook, subscribe to the Infrared Photography Group and take advantage of it as a medium for sharing IR images with me as well as other IR shooters!

  3. Hi Mark,

    I am very impressed by your images and blog, and thanks for posting the IR conversion action for Photoshop, which works far better than the one I had made myself. It has now made it possible to consistently get the results I want. I saw in one of your posts that you don’t recommend the Sony Nex 5N for IR: I have one converted at 665nm, and I find it works very well. I bought it already converted from Spencers. Previously I had a Pentax *ist DS and a K10d, both converted at 830nm.
    I set the WB on the Nex 5N using a bit of white paper in sunlight. The WB problem I had was when importing the images into Bridge, when all the 665nm images go red. I made a custom WB profile using DNG Profile Editor, which works very well, though I have to under-expose images 1 to 2 stops. Is this normal? Luckily the Nex 5N has a lot of latitude in RAW. The majority of my IR is aerial photography, the IR working very well to eliminate haze. I wish that Photoshop had more than 6 colours on which Hue/Saturation could be adjusted. Do you know of any way of getting a larger palette of colours to adjust?

    Thanks again for a wonderful blog, which I stumbled across and will now be following regularly.

    Best regards,

    • Jon, glad to hear of your success with the sony! perhaps they have corrected things in firmware with the white balance. Yes, the underexposure by 1 or 2 stops is normal at 665nm and 590nm because the visible red that gets thru poisons the exposure system! You are doing it correctly! I know of no way to increase or a plugin that will increase the color adjustment choices in PS.

    • Sharon, I would give a call and talk to them about it. I would also suggest the 590nm conversion as you can always change the flavor of your camera on the fly by adding other filters on the lens. You can go up but never down!

  4. Hello Mark,

    I’ve been shooting b&w infrared with my Nikon D80 for about four years and have loved every moment. I recently read that’s it’s a good idea to carry a compact camera converted to IR in your pocket while out shooting with a DSLR.

    Your site is such a treasure trove of IR information, and your advice so sage, that I wanted to get your opinion about converting my Canon S95 to b&w IR. Do you think it’s a good camera for that purpose?

    Thanking you ahead of time and wishing you good health and blissful holidays.


    Jim Fairchild

  5. Hi Mark, first let me thnak you for donating so much of time to providing IR info to the web community at large, your facebook group is nice too. My background is somewhat similar to yours, 38 years experiance and I taught IR film photography for 20 of those. Having said that I am soliciting you advice about my next digital IR camera purchase. I am currently using a Canon G10 converted by Life Pixel to 720nM. I would like to upgrade. Some considerations are as follows: I am not fond of colour IR and shoot nearly 100% monochrome. I am happy with the Canon G10 except for the noise thus I am considering going full frame. I currently shoot Sony/Minolta and have a dozen of their best lenses so in a perfect world I would convert my full frame A850 when I purchase the upcoming A99. In a non-perfect world I will consider other manufacturers if significantly better. I have access to a Sony a500 for conversion. I am not adverse to a point and shoot and I do have access to an EP-1 which I can convert but will it be better than the G10? So if you can decifer my ramblings what is your suggestion? best regards, Terrance

    • Thanks for your comments! OK, your questions:
      The Canon G10 is almost useless above ISO 100 so the E-P1 will make for a MUCH better IR system at 665nm, and 720nm. I would not go any lower in frequency as it will limit your options where as a 590nm will allow you to go lower in frequency with the addition of external filters on your camera lens. The E-PL1 is a much better camera for IR yet! The GH2 is just super. I would consider (like you) converting your A850 then getting the new body for color also. Having the ability to share lenses is a thing not to be ignored.

      For me, I like a smaller high quality IR body with interchangeable lenses. The thought of having to carry 2 heavy bodies goes against my grain! I suggest this:

      Borrow the E-P1 and shoot it for a week and see how you like the camera and its functionality.
      Get away from the G10, the noise is just too high.
      Decide which is more important, small light weight or lens compatibility then make it happen!
      Don’t go any lower than 720nm so that you get faster shutter speeds.. (I do like 720nm myself)

      Let me know what you decide! Do you have a web page that I can look at your work?


      • Hi Mark and thanks for the prompt reply, I am not quite ready to relegate the A850 to IR only duty as the A99 has been seriously delayed due to flooding at the SONY sensor factory in Thailand. I take your point that I would rather have a lighter and more portable 2nd camera.

        In that vein I just discovered that the EPL-1 just went on sale locally with a kit lens so if you can elaborate on your statement “The E-PL1 is a much better camera for IR yet!” I may just rush down and get one. I am guessing that the place to get it converted is Spencer’s? or who have you been using?

        BTW if money were no object would you consider the SONY NEX-5N as a better camera for IR? In regular mode this camera is incredible in terms of IQ, it is better than cameras costing 3x the price.

        Thanks again for your help, Terrance

        I don’t have a website but I have submitted some IR images to your IR Face book site.

      • NO!!! The NEX is a terrible IR platform! It refuses to white balance. I have the new 5 and hate it. If money were no object I would suggest the Panasonic GH2. And yes, Spencers is the place to go. Here on my blog a few pages down is a discount code to use at Spencers that will save you $25 and let them know you come from me!

        The E-PL1 when coupled with the OPTIONAL electronic viewfinder makes for a great system. The E-P2 is even nicer but is a little more money. The GH2 is the best of the lot. For greater detailed information look back on the blog here for several posts on all of these camera systems!

        I will go over to FB and take a look! Thanks

      • I have access to both an EP1 and an EPL1 for conversion. I am attracted to the EP1 because it has superior manual controls however if I read between the lines the EPL1 has a superior sensor that is also better for IR. Is this correct or is it just its ability to take the VF2?

      • Terrance, both are good choices. The E1 had shutter speeds to 1/4000 and much better controls. The L1 has the VF2 which makes a world of difference but menu buried controls and a shutter to 1/2000. The P2 is the best of both!

  6. What a fantastic site you have Mark!
    Been reading it for a few months. It is a veritable living encyclopedia of infrared knowledge. Love the “recipes” and your foto examples. A true find.
    I got a question for you. Taken pictures with infrared film in the past and most recently with an Opteka R72 IR filter on a Pentax DL (6mp) but I am going to go with a Pentax K-x full spectrum (12mp and live view). What 3 filters would you suggest as “gotta have” in your camera bag?
    I am leaning for a B+W 099 and a B+W 092 for now.
    Just wanting to know your thoughts.
    Thanks and again great job.
    Julio in SW Wisconsin.

    • Thanks for the kind comments! I both work hard on, and enjoy the blog! Ok for me the main filter is a B+W 091 630nm, then a B+W 090 590nm, then the Hoya R72 720nm filter. I also like the 047 tri spectrum blue but it is more of a toy! I hate the 099 filter because it generates a greenish sky cast!

      • Much obliged Mark for your response.
        Excellent that trio sounds like a good selection.
        Hopefully I will have something of the like in my camera bag soon to enjoy the rest of the summer and fall. I am gonna try the 099… maybe I will not like it too but I have seen some interesting images created with it; we will see. It is all about experimentation.
        Regards, Julio in SW Wisconsin.

  7. I was wondering what white balance you use with your full spectrum EPL1.
    I would like to use the #29, #25A, #70 and #89b filters on my E-620.

  8. Hey Mark,

    I’ve been a regularly reader of your blog for the last few months. Unfortunately there is no forum for discussions. I wanted to ask your opinion about Samsung NX10 camera. For a while I favored the Sony Nex5, but I don’t like the navigation through a menu and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH is out of reach financially.
    On the first view the Samsung NX10 seems like a good compromise. But I can’t find anything regarding the IR-photography.

    All the best!

    • I have no info on this camera. But not all is lost! Call the 3 main conversion players and ask them if they convert it! They can be of great help. Consider the Olympus E-PL1 which can be found on Amazon for around $400. It has been the best IR camer I ever used and I have had 12 so far!

  9. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  10. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  11. Hey Mark,

    about a week ago I discovered your Blog on IR-photography. It’s absolute amazing! I’m into infrared since November last year… Finally I converted myself an old Canon G5 to start with.
    It is hard to find good resources. But your site is a haven for ir-photographers. I learned a lot, especially the difference betweend the b+w filters was very informative.
    Keep on writing… I will check your Blog regularly!
    Best regards from Germany!

    • Thanks for the kind words Thomas! I LOVE IR! and just cannot get enough of it! If you have a Facebook account, why dont you join the Infrared Photographers group under my account at “Mark Hilliard” There is a LOT of talented people there and a wealth of information!

  12. Dear Mark,

    I’ve just discovered your blog and website. It’s the first thing I check on my RSS reader every morning. Thank you for so generously sharing your experiences in the wonderful world of IR photography. I so enjoy reading your writing.

    I shoot with a Panasonic G1 which (I think?) is quite similar to the Olympus which you use. I just picked up an extra body and I’m planning on having Spencers convert it to either full spectrum or one of their IR permanent filters. I am a dedicated B&W shooter, recently transiting from film into digital. I have Canon FD macro lenses that I use on the G1, as well at the Panasonic kit lens, 14-45 which came with the camera. I also have a Hoya 72 filter which I’ve previously used on some IR film shooting.

    I’d appreciate your opinion on which way to go with the conversion on my Lumix G1.


    • Thanks for the kind comments! As for your camera, I think that full spectrum conversion gives you a lot more options. I typically shoot with a 590nm and a 720nm filter but couldn’t without the full spectrum conversion.

  13. Hi, amazing website! Very detailed and well explained 🙂
    It got me into the topic, but I have one question and I’d be glad if you could help me.
    Before I invest on a full spectrum conversion of my brand new NEX5 (or better before I invest on a new NEX5 body to use for IR alone) I’d like to try it out using the un-converted NEX5 (I’ve seen some decent result in some forum).
    I have tree possible filters available with cut-on wavelength at 695, 775, 825.
    Which one would give me the best results (which is: decent pictures and still decently quick shutter speeds in normal light)?
    Or should I go for other filters and other wavelengths, like 720 or so?

    • I have been unhappy with the NEX family as an IR camera. My advice is to keep the NEX as color and pick up a Olympus E-P1 or better yet an E-PL1 (499.00 with lens right now on Amazon) and convert that to IR. You will be MUCH happier with your IR experience! The NEX is a great color system but is lacking in the IR world. I would also consider a 665nm conversion, it gives the best of all worlds in IR!

  14. Dear Mark,
    Following your suggestion I got one of the blue filters and have loved some of the shots on my full spectrum Fuji.
    When will you have another IR workshop? I’d love to come.
    Elaine Biber

    • Glad you liked it! There are others you might also enjoy like the B+W 403 (UG1) or the XDP. I will be doing a post on this filter next week!

      There is a workshop on Oct 9th & 10th. Drop me a email for information!

  15. Mark,

    Could you email me and let me know how happy you were with Spencers camera. I have an E-P1 I am considering converting to full spectrum. What are your thoughts on his professionalism?

    And, may I suggest you consider teaching a workshop in infrared in Maine….(a workshop web site goes here)



    • Hi Jay, YES I like and approve of Spencer’s. I just today sent out my 5th camera to them to be converted, a Sony NEX-5. I like them and have NEVER had any problems. He answers the phone and talks to me all of the time. He usually answers emails but sometimes not as fast as I would like but it is a very small shop I am told. I have talked to 1 other person who has had issues with his delivery (and got involved on their behalf, but this has only happened 1 time on an international order) but for me I have ALWAYS had my cameras back to me in less than 5 days from delivery to him.

      Do you have anything to do with the workshop site? It looks like a collage to me. I do teach here at Coastal Carolina University a few times a year but the majority of my workshops are out of my gallery in Pawleys Island. I would love to get up to Maine though……! Let me know if you have any pull with them. My workshops are (at least the IR ones) 2 solid days of classroom and outings but I would like to add a 3rd day of just outings in the middle. They are lots of fun.

      Thanks for writing!

  16. Hi Mark,
    Let me say that you have an amazing website and blog. So much information! I envy your arsenal of equipment. I have been shooting IR with a converted Canon Rebel for a year now and I stumbled across your website/blog through the Infrared Photography Community website. You are creating some truly beautiful images. I would love for you to look at mine some time and offer critiques if you want. Hopefully getting myself involved more with the Infrared Photography website I will receive honest critiques there as well. Keep up the good work and thanks again for all the information. Keep shooting IR!!! You are amazing!

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