Get Ready…. Here it comes!

Fuji X Pro-1 720nm Conversion!


Well I actually did it and sent off the X Pro-1 to LDP in New Jersey for a 720nm conversion!  The camera is due back today and the fun will begin!  Stand by….

Fuji X Pro-1  720nm IR conversion!

Fuji X Pro-1 720nm IR conversion!


Added Grist Mill GPX and Covered Bridge GPX Updated Files!

Go Get Them!

Glade Creek Mill, WV

There are two new downloads for your GPS system in the download box!  I added the Covered Bridges in Georgia and several NEW and corrected Grist Mill locations!

These are in the GPX file format and can be downloaded from here from the download menu on the lower right menu.

Once you have them on your computer you will need to have the GPS software that camera with your personal GPS to download them into your GPS.

Once done they will be available for you while you travel around the country!

As Always, I would appreciate ANY help that any of your could offer in expanding this database!  So far there are 185 Grist Mill locations and I would like to double that by the end of the year.

Send the following information to have it included in the Database:

  • Mill or Bridge name
  • Address
  • State
  • Lat/Long (IMPORTANT)
  • Description
  • Info on ownership and contact info if on private property.
  • You name and email
  • Best time of day and season for photographing them
  • Image if possible

Leaving On A 2 Week Grist Mill Trip!

I Have Been So Busy It Hurts!


Wow, this past month has been a rush of work!  2 shows, a workshop and getting ready for this new trip from South Carolina to Boston to photograph Grist Mills and Covered Bridges!  I havent even had time to think about the blog!  Bad me…

Here is an image of what I am hunting….

St. Charles Mill, (St. Louis, Mo.) 630nm

Well, I promise that I will be better when I get back!

You are invited to the Low Country Infrared Adventure!

Jamie Konarski Davidson & Mark Hilliard
present an exciting, new Photographic Workshop &
Excursion Series on Fine Art Infrared Nature & Landscape Photography!

By Jamie Konarski Davidson

Come along with two of the most accomplished Infrared photographers on the Southeast coast for this energizing study of Fine Art Infrared (IR) photography! Learn about equipment needed for Infrared photography, what subjects  generate stunning IR images, and how to capture & process breathtaking IR images using this new digital technology.

By J.M. Hilliard

We will teach both Faux Color & traditional B&W post-processing techniques using Photoshop CS5, Elements 9 and Nik software. We will have several loaner IR camera systems for you to share if you do not yet own one!

Explore with us the rustic southern beauty of the Low Country. Along with two intense classroom sessions on Infrared Photography and post-processing, we will be shooting breathtaking land and seascapes in Pawleys Island and Brookgreen Gardens. In historic Georgtown we will capture local nautical themes, including the shrimp boat fleet and an ancient working boat yard where you will never know what you will find!

Infrared photography has become wildly popular in the past two years. It allows us to create new, different and emotionally intense images of things we see every day. Combine this capability with the stunning locations that we will be visiting, and you will understand why we are so excited to share this adventure with you.

Even if you do not currently have a Infrared camera  plan on attending! We will have loaner cameras for you to use as well as Infrared Filters to convert your current camera to Infrared!  This promises to be a great photographic experience for all!

By J.M. Hilliard

Tools For Infrared Post Processing

Or, How You Should Spend Your Money!

Abondened Car on Rt. 66. Canon G10 665 IR Conversion

Get a group of 10 photographers together in a group and ask “What editing software do you use?”  Chances are that you will get 3 answers, Photoshop CS#, Photoshop Elements # and Adobe Lightroom.  While all 3 have a useful place in the photographic community there are several fact that you must know when it comes to Infrared photography.

I will admit that I know literally nothing about Adobe Lightroom.  I had an evaluation copy of it when it first arrived on the scene and can tell you that I hated it with a passion.  It made no sense to me in its structure, GUI and inner working (OK, I guess that it means that I know 1 thing about it: I don’t like it!)  With that being said let’s list some of the editing tools and structures that we need for Infrared work:

  1. Advanced Editing features for spot cleanup and image repairs.  CS, Elements and likely Lightroom will fall into this one.
  2. Ability to work in 16 bit color space. CS for sure, Elements is very limited, couldn’t say about lightroom.
  3. Ability to run ACTIONS. CS only!
  4. Ability to run ALL of the NIK Software plugins.  CS, Elements and Lightroom.
  5. Totally Closed Loop Color System (Full ICC profile controls). CS only!
  6. Channel Mixer functionality. CS only!

OK, are you starting to see a pattern here?  Lets take a look at the most important functionality of your post processing software, creation of the Faux Color Infrared image!

  • For this you MUST have a channel mixer in order to swap the Red and Blue channels.  An added benefit would be to run a photoshop action in order to do this in an intelligent and automated fashion.  So, if you plan on doing any Faux Color work you MUST have some version of the full blown Photoshop CS family!
  • NIK filters are very important!  They allow us to take our Infrared Photography to their absolute best!  luckily, all of the Adobe products can act as a wrapper for NIK!
  • 16 Bit files and filters are very important for quality matters of colors and contrasts.  Doesn’t an image with 4.3 billion colors sound better than one with 16 million?  If so then you really need 16 bit functionality at least in the editing stages!
  • If you plan on doing your own printing then you need the ability of controlling your color space through specific targeted ICC profiles!  This is only fully implemented in the CS family!

Faux Color, Waccama River, Canon 20D, 590nm Conversion

You should consider your software just as important as your camera equipment.  Why spend thousands of dollars on cameras and lenses only to spend $79.00 on editing software?  It has always been a hard learned lesson for me thinking that I could buy cheap and upgrade to something better later on after I improved!  The truth of the matter is that money spent in this fashion was foolishly thrown away.  If you are actively pursuing a growing interest within the field of digital photography then you NEED the advanced post processing software tools from the very onset.  You will learn the tools the first time, have the necessary functionality as you grow in ability and never have to purchase them again in the future except in the form of upgrades! You can be shooting a dedicated Point & Shoot IR system and still need the advanced functionality that only CS and NIK can give you!

You have all read my lists on how to Post Process your images using Photoshop CS5, the Photoshop Channel Swap Action and NIK’s Define 2.0, Viveza 2.0, and Silver EFX.  You know how I create my images in frighting detail.  I am NOT saying that my was is the only way, but I believe that it is the BEST and Fastest way!

Other things that you can do to assist you in improving your photography are  to join clubs and groups with active outings and meetings!  Find like minded photographers in places like FaceBook.  Attach yourself to other photographers.  Send ME emails and comments here. If you have questions I will address them via a post here so that we can share with other like minded photographers! Take courses and workshops!  Pretty soon you will see that you have become an advanced photographer!

But no matter which direction you go keep at it.  Carry a camera with you and keep taking images! As long as you have the right Post Processing tools on hand they you will continue to advance your abilities!

Infrared Workshops & Excursions!

Basic and Advanced Infrared Workshops and Excursions are coming!

Seacoast Artist Guild in Pawleys Island, SC is sponsoring a 1 day Infrared Introduction workshop at The Lens Work Gallery  at the end of April.  You must be a member to attend. Please click on their link above to get more information.

Jamie Davidson and I are putting on a 3 day Low Country Infrared Adventure &  Workshop on July 8-10.  This will be centered in Pawleys Island but will include GREAT OUTINGS in and around the Low Country of South Carolina. It also will include two 1/2 day Advanced workshops that cover everything from equipment to printing but REALLY hit Post Processing FAUX COLOR and B&W Infrared Images!  More Info will be coming soon on this workshop.

Jamie and I  are also planing another similar Infrared Adventure in from Oct 30 thru Nov 2nd called The Inner Banks Infrared Adventure & Workshops that will take us down the Sound from Grenville, NC to the Outer Banks shooting shrimp boats and other nautical scenes! It also will include two 1/2 day Advanced workshops that cover everything from equipment to printing but REALLY hit Post Processing FAUX COLOR and B&W Infrared Images!  More Info will be coming soon on this workshop.

Lastly Vic & Lori Grbich and I are  in the beginning stages of planning a weekend Great 2011 Grist Mill Excursion this Fall to Pitkins, SC!  If you have read any of my posts here about grist mills and Infrared then you KNOW how excited I am about this trip!

Stay tuned for Info!

Infrared Fine Art Printing

A Short (and useless!) Treatise  On Creating Emotionally Charged Prints

A Finely crafted Infrared photograph that creates an emotional link with its viewer is a rare thing. They are easily shown off in the electronic marketplace on line in places, well like here for instance!  BUT a real work of art is something that you can touch, both with your eyes as well as with your hands.

So why is this a useless attempt to convey printing knowledge? Some knowledge requires that you earn it… This was never more true than in the case of the fine art print. I can remember as if it was yesterday how frustrated I was when I was learning these skills. So, for me to assume that I could possibly pass these skills on to you in something as short as this post would be arrogant on my part! What I do hope to accomplish here is to give you a series of shortcuts to help speed you on your way!

The photographic greats throughout history all state that the art of the photograph is only half done in the camera, the rest is in the darkroom and through extension our computers and printers.  The art of the print is a very difficult skill to acquire.  It took me years to master the processes and artistic skills in order to create the emotionally charged print.

There is a distinct difference between printing color and B&W.  Now we throw in Infrared which can be a combination of the two and we double the complexity of the creative process.  The process can be so complicated that one can spend hours or even days on printing and reprinting the image and never being satisfied with the results.  So it only makes sense to try to simplify as much as possible in order to cut down on the hundreds of variables that affect print quality.

Here is a short list of things to consider in this simplification…

  1. ALWAYS color calibrate your computer monitor.
  2. Setup the Photoshop color system  selecting Adobe RGB 1998 profile and setting the appropriate color variables.
  3. ALWAYS disable the print driver color controls.
  4. ALWAYS enable Photoshop color controls for printing.
  5. ALWAYS set the Adobe RGB 1998 profile IN YOUR CAMERA.
  6. Unless you have actual paper ICC profiles for your printer use the manufacturers papers.
  7. When working in Photoshop, enable SOFT PROOFING so that you can see what you are going to print as you are editing your image and making changes!
  8. If you want SPECTACULAR prints purchase a RIP (Raster Image Processor) like Image Print from Color Byte. This is especially true for B&W but also applies to Color.  A RIP will allow you to totally bypass the print driver on your computer.  It changes how the print heads lay down ink, the dither patterns and much more. It gives you THOUSANDS of ICC profiles for hundreds of different paper manufacturers!  The list goes on and on but the biggest thing is it gives PERFECT monochromatic prints.  Your B&W’s have to be seen to be believed!
  9. Purchase a quality printer (it will pay for itself its first year!) I recommend EPSON.
  10. ALWAYS use manufacturer inks.  NEVER refill your tanks.
  11. ALWAYS clean your printer each and every day with a print head cleaning.

OK, this is just a short list of considerations for successful results, but there is one more…. ATTACH YOURSELF to an accomplished and established fine art printer who had done and understands all of the above!


Epson 7800 Print System

As stated, I use EPSON equipment.  I ALWAYS match my printers with a Colorbyte RIP in order to get the best quality prints on thousands of papers in both color and B&W. Currently, I have the Epson 7800 printer with the K3 ink set running Image Print V7 RIP. I have about 15 types of print media on hand that I am good with printing on, including…

  • Mat Canvas, Roll
  • Heavy textured fine art water color paper, Sheets
  • Heavy Glossy Paper, Roll
  • Heavy Mat Paper, Roll & Sheet
  • Heavy Metallic Glossy Paper, Roll & Sheet
  • Aluminum Metal Sheets
  • Silk  fabric
  • 2 sided mat paper for book binding, Sheets
  • Vinyl, Roll

I have several others, but these are the mainstay of my work to date.

I take great satisfaction and enjoyment in my printing and work very hard at it.  I would love to show you my print work but that is an impossibility in an electronic format!  I tend to produce three types of prints, Canvas Gallery Wraps onto which I paint with acrylics to give them a depth (Infrared, B&W and Color) in various sizes, three sizes of framed  prints and three sizes of matted prints.  The matted are the main works that walk out the door, but the gallery wraps are very popular.  The framed works are mostly B&W with a small number of color images thrown in but recently I have been doing Faux Color and B&W Infrared’s.  These are the true works of art.  I spend more time on these than all the others combined.  A finely crafted B&W and B&W Infrared image is something to behold!  For these images I ALWAYS choose my most emotionally charged images (2 posts ago) that have real depth.  I will usually use a heavy gloss paper or the new metallic gloss paper which just has to be seen to be believed!  I do print Infrared Faux and B&W on canvas but they do NOT have the same impact as they do on Gloss or Metallic!

The key to a successful print is the same as for a successful photograph.  you need contrasting elements both in light/shadows as well as in image elements (subjects and colors).  If you can master this art of contrasts (please read my previous post on emotional images) then you will have become a master at your art!

With the emotionally charged Infrared images that I have been able to generate it is no wonder as to why they have become much more popular than my color work!  And the key to that is the printing process…..


590nm Faux Color Infrared, Capt Dennis, Canon 20D Goldie IR

Remember, Camera time is only have of the photographic work flow!