The 3 Faces of Infrared Conversions…


Or, which way should you jump?

Different Spectrum Choices...

Recently, I have been asked several times in emails and via reader comments on which Infrared camera conversion is the best for someone who is planning on jumping into IR!  So, it is time to address that small question…

There are three ways to go when considering Infrared Photography:

  1. Normal color camera with external IR filter.  This is the cheapest way to try your hand at IR photography.  You simply adda 720nm filter to your lens.
  2. Internal conversion to Infrared. This is the cheapest easy way to get into IR.  The internal IR blocking filter (hot mirror) is replaced with a IR pass filter.
  3. Full Spectrum conversion.  This is the best way to get into IR, but the most expensive.  The hot mirror is replaced with clear glass and you put IR filters on the lens.

Let’s discuss each option..

  • The first, normal color camera with a 720nm external filter will work great, but it does have some major issues to overcome.  The exposure times are greatly increased due to the fact that you have limited the amount of light reaching the sensor with the addition of the external filter plus it must overcome the internal hot mirror built into the camera.  The results in exposure time around a minute long and no ability to compose (unless you have live view) because your eyes cannot see through the 720nm external filter.  Focus is off and must be adjusted for IR as well.  Still, it is a good way to see if you even like IR work!
  • The second, internal conversion is a really good way to go.  It requires no special camera functionality (you do not need live view) and will give the ability to shoot normal hand held exposures. It works well in all camera types.  They only issue is the decision on which filter to choose!  I usually tell people to go with a 590nm conversion (Goldie or Super Color) because it gives the best combination of Faux Color and B&W work.  There is another consideration to the internal conversion, it is that you can change the flavor of the conversion by adding an additional filter on the end of your camera lens!  You can only go down in frequency  (up in nm) from whatever your internal filter is but it can be done allowing a different flavor for your camera!  Remember when you hit 720nm or lower you loose the ability to use your optical viewing path so you MUST have a camera with some sort of live view system for this to work! I have a Panasonic GH2 at 590nm, a Canon 20D at 590nm and they both work great.
  • The third option, Full spectrum gives you the most versatility but with added costs.  The hot mirror is replaced with a clear piece of glass and you then program the camera with an external filter!  This opens up an entire world for you to explore.  The camera will see everything from UV to FULL COLOR to INFRARED!  You simply tell it what you wish by your choice of external filter.  If you only are interested in 590 nm, 620 nm and 665 nm then any digital camera will be fine for you.  But if you wish to explore some of the alternatives, like the Super Blue (in camera Faux) or  UV+IR (UG1) or the deep IR filters like 720nm (standard), 850nm (deep IR) and lower then you MUST have a camera with live view or full time LCD display!  The reason for this is the fact that normal DSLR camera systems use an OPTICAL image path that goes from the viewfinder thru a prism, bounces off a mirror and out thru the lens and filter!  If your filter is dark then you cannot see to compose although the camera will still focus!  Live view will allow you to overcome this problem.  There are some REALLY interesting filters out there like the UG1 (UV+IR) and the 047B (Super Blue in camera Faux) that will only work with an internal or Full Spectrum conversion but need a live view with the Full Spectrum Conversion!  Now, the additional costs are the prices of the external filters to fit your lenses.  The darker the filter the more they cost!  Oh, did I mention that with a Full Spectrum Conversion you can convert the camera back to normal color by adding a UV/IR blocking filter (expensive)!!

Spectrum choices

UG1 – UV+IR  This is an interesting filter that mixes UV and Infrared to give ultra white colored leaves and a dark blue or purple sky!  You will see a lot of this posted around the net but very little in the galleries!  It is not for everyone but still can be very pretty and interesting.  The filter is very expensive!  It is around $120 for 58mm.

Hoya 047B Super Blue

Super Blue – In Camera Faux Color.  This filter is becoming more popular as you can shoot normal Faux Color IR images right in the camera with no post processing. It is highly dependent upon good white balance but gives very good Faux Color images.  For B&W it is not so good… The cost of the Tiffen 047B is around $70 in 58mm. Lifepixel now offers a Super Blue internal conversion service.

B+W 090 Super Color 590nm

Super Color (Goldie) – 590nm.  This is (and should be) usually the filter of choice for most IR shooters.  It gives great gold toned Faux Color images and stunning B&W images as well.  For Faux Color special post processing is required in Photoshop and the Red and Blue channels must be swapped which is VERY difficult in Elements but simple in Photoshop CS5!  The cost for a B+W 090 590nm filter is about $25 for 58mm.

B+W 091 Pinkie, 630nm

Pinkie – 630nm.  This is my personal favorite filter for Infrared work.  Instead of golds it gives pinks and reds in Faux Color and stunning B&W work.  No on offers this filter as an internal conversion so the only way to use it is with a Full Spectrum conversion.  The same post processing rules that apply to 590nm apply to 630nm.  The cost is about $25 for 58mm for the B+W 091 590nm filter.

Enhanced Color – 665nm.  This is very close to the 630nm filter but with more reds than pinks.  B&W is stunning and this filter can be had on both the internal conversion and the Full Spectrum Conversion.  The cost is slightly higher at about $50 for 58mm. You will find a lot of P&S cameras on EBay with this conversion.

Hoya R72 720nm Standard IR Filter

Standard – 720nm.  This is called standard for good reason, most IR conversions out there are at 720nm which really does not make any sense to me! It gives very LIMITED Faux color but great B&W!  The filter is black to normal vision and while it works great as an internal conversion it is not so good with Full Spectrum unless you are using it on a camera with live view or full time live view like a Micro 4/3, P&S or any of the other mirror less systems out there.  With a DSLR with live view it works great in Full Spectrum.  The cost is expensive at around $100 for a 58mm version of the Hoya R72.

Deep IR – 850nm.  This filter is totally black.  It gives ZERO Faux Color but beautiful rich and deep B&W images.  This is for the person who only wants to work in B&W.  Even with an internal conversion there will be about a 3 stop hit in exposure do the the limiting factors of the filter.  With a DSLR with live view it works great in Full Spectrum.  The cost is expensive at around $150 for a 58mm version.

LDP CC1 UV/IR Blocking Filter

IR Blocking – Normal Color.  This filter has a aqua appearance that blocks the UV/IR spectrum which will convert your camera back to normal color AS LONG AS YOUR CAMERA IS A FULL SPECTRUM conversion!  This is VERY expensive around $200 for 58mm for the LDP CC1 Filter. I have found that if you couple this filter with the B+W 486 UV/IR blocking filter that you get a better return to normal color.  The reason is that it blocks slightly more on the UV end of things.  I usually dissemble the 486 and install it in the CC1 filter ring along with the CC1 filter.  Again, this is expensive at about $125 for a 58mm.

As you can see, there are a lot of choices out there for you.  The Full Spectrum Conversion has much more options but requires a live view capable camera system.  I have both internal conversions and Full Spectrum conversions and like them both.  I really like playing with the Super Blue you must remember that it does not do well with B&W work!

There are endless examples of images created with each of these filters spread out in this blog.  Go take a look around to see the examples of each to help you decide on which way you might jump!

Please let me know what you decide upon!

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720nm IR E-P1 Camera System For Sale!


720nm IR E-P1 Camera For Sale!

720nm IR image from THIS camera!

This was the first KING of IR camera systems.  You can read about THIS camera and its capabilities on my Infrared Educational site at:  infraredatelier.wordpress.com  There will be many example images, tips and IR recipes specific to this camera system.  The conversion was done at Spencers Camera in Utah in 720nm called Standard IR.  It is a small, compact IR camera system that is easy to carry with you meaning that you will never have an excuse for not getting the shot!  

Visit this Auction HERE

Included with this auction:


  • E-P1 Camera
  • Olympus 14-42mm lens.
  • Battery Charger
  • 3 Batteries
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Box
  • Lens Hood
  • Instruction Manual
  • Magic Lantern r E-P1 guide
  • Access to educational IR site at infraredatelier.wordpress.com


This is a great IR system that will give you years of fun and artful creation.  Look at the 3 samples above that were taken with THIS camera and you will see what I mean.  You can change the flavor of this camera with the addition of external IR filters on the end of the lens as long as you go up in nm range  ie 800nm 850nm and so on.  You cannot go down since the internal filter will block it.


The camera is in great shape with very small minor scratches on the bottom where the tripod attaches!  The lens is clean and clear with no dust.  For IR work the 14-42mm lens is the best selection since we mainly shoot landscapes but this camera will work perfectly with ANY micro 4/3 lens that you desire!

System


The Hammond & Gilbert Mills In Rhode Island


The Gilbert Stuart Museum & Mills

In Color, Infrared and B&W

The Hammond & Gilbert Mills

The Hammond & Gilbert Mills

The Hammond Mill, Selective Focus

I would like to draw your attention to a specific Grist Mill in Rhode Island!  This is the Hammond and Gilbert Mills at the Gilbert Stuart Museum.  What is so unusual about them is the fact that they are 50 feet apart on the same creek feed!  The Gilbert Mill was a Snuff Mill with living quarters for the family above the mill.  The Hammond Mill is and was a standard Grist Mill.  Both Mills are in AMAZING condition and the location just screams “Photograph Me“!    Location is a little in the back country but well worth the drive.  If you would like directions then download the Mills GPX file in the download window to the right!

The Gilbert Mill

The Mills are full of promise!  Look for detail shots as well as wide angle shots.  If you arrive mid day then you will likely be only able to shoot in Infrared (hey, not exactly a bad thing, you think?)  I think that early morning would be the best.  There is a nice standing pond behind the mills for reflection shots and the water path below the mills is actually a fish ladder to aid in migration! As I said, VERY PRETTY!

I shot these images using a Panasonic GH2 Micro 4/3 camera body (Color) and the Pansaonic 14-140mm lens.  For the Infrared shots I used my Olympus E-PL1 Full Spectrum Infrared camera body with the Olympus 14-150mm lens and an external (on the lens) B+W 091 630nm IR filter.  Since the previous post has a lengthy description and recipe for post processing these IR images I am going to leave the same out of this post!

Again, I am going to place all of the images of these amazing mills in a photo album below and all you have to do is to click on any image to bring up the slide show!

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I hope that you enjoy this collection of a VERY unusual Mill!  

Please let me know what you think!

Grist Mills Of Rhode Island


Post Processing the Infrared Grist Mills of Rhode Island

Hammond Mill, Selective Focus

I have just now getting around to post processing the Rhode Island section of The Great 2 Week Grist Mill Trip!  I cannot believe that I am so behind… Oh well, better late than never!  Since completion of the trip I have had 2 other Grist Mill Trips with a ton of photos in the que! All of these images were taken on my Olympus E-PL1 Full Spectrum converted IR system using the Oly 14-150mm lens with a B+W 091 630nm filter.

As you can see I processed for both Faux Color and B&W IR images because you just never know how they will look unless you try!

Does everyone understand exactly what a Faux Color Infrared image is?  It is likened to the old Kodak HIE IR films of the 80’s (I actually designed the silver salt growing system for that film while I worked at Kodak!).  In modern converted IR digital camera systems the images are true IR images, but since the sensor is RGB we have a lot of color data there!  To get to what the film was capable of producing we simply swap the data on the Red and Blue channel of the image in Photoshop, fine tune the colors in NIK Viveza and work from there!  Just because it is described as a Faux or False Color IR image doesn’t mean that it is so!

The B+W 091 is a little more on the red  end of the spectrum so the images tend to (when Faux Color…) lean more towards the pinks and reds.

Basic Post processing is as follows:

  1. After conversion of my RAW files in Capture One Pro v6 I then do my critical deletion edit using Bridge.  This is perhaps the most difficult step. You have to look beyond low contrast off color images and see what they can be. Look for coloration (this will get better with time), emotional impact (yes you CAN do this! I have several BLOG postings here that talk specifically about this one…) and sharpness and exposure.  Think about each and every image in terms of Faux Color and B&W! When finished, I then open the images one at a time in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with ALL of the NIK filters installed.
  2. I did my normal cropping to my master storage size of 12.5×8.5 making sure that the image was at 300dpi and in the Adobe RGB 1998 color space
  3. I ran NIK Software’s Define 2.0 for noise reduction. For this I simply accept the default settings!
  4. I then ran NIK Viveza 2.0 and specifically added 20% structure and 10% extra contrast without any control points so that the changes affected the entire image!  This was to create a brighter deeper image before I ran the channel swap Photoshop Action!  WOW!  WHAT A DIFFERENCE THIS MADE!
  5. I then ran the channel swap action and proceeded as normal with the rest of my Post Processing Recipe! This is the Khomography Photoshop Action that you can download here towards the bottom of the right hand menu! The action swaps data between the Red and Blue image channel and allows you to adjust the Hue/Saturation in the Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue & Magenta color channels separately!
  6. In the action select the Red, Yellow, Cyan and Blue channels and adjust each of them using saturation and hue to get the image elements to start to fall into place. Pay careful attention to the Cyan channel adjustment as most of the time the sky takes on a green/aqua tint which looks terrible!  Simply adjust the Hue of the Cyan channel to fix this!
  7. Now, Calling up Nik’s Viveza again I will select specific elements of the image with control points.  I will add contrast and structure then adjust the primary colors R,G and B to adjust the specific color of the compositional element to achieve the overall color I want for it.  You can also use the Warmth Slider to add or remove warmth.  This entire process takes only a few moments to do if you understand your basic color wheel and how to mix to change!  This process will give you your final ball park image!
  8. THEN I called up another of NIK Software’s world class filters and ran the TONAL CONTRAST filter in the COLOR EFX PRO plugin.  The result was this incredible image full of contrasts tonalities as well as contrasting colors!

Rather than simply place the images here in the post separately I am going to try Word Press’s new Photo Gallery.  Simply click on any of the images that you see to bring up a nice slide show!

You Do NOT have to spend a fortune to do IR!


How To Do It On The Cheap!

 

I know, this was supposed to be a post on the GH2 tests but I have been getting a lot of email and comments about the assumed high cost of getting into Infrared Photography!  This insane notion needed to be stopped before it got any further!

If you have an extra camera system laying around you can reasonably expect to send it off for conversion for $200-$300.  Yes that is a lot of money but the expansion of your artistic mind set that Infrared will give you will be worth it.  But there is a cheaper way!

EBay is a great place to find used digital camera systems already converted to Infrared!  I have purchased several of these used IR camera systems in the past year for next to nothing and have NEVER had a problem with a single one that came from EBay!

So far I have purchased from Ebay:

  • Canon G10 at 720nm for $350 (G10’s are in high demand)
  • Canon G9 at 665nm for $300
  • Canon 10D at 850nm for $250
  • Olympus E-P1 at 720nm for $300
  • Canon 20D at 590nm that I picked up for $300.00!

Why you ask did I purchase all of these system?  Well I TEACH Infrared Workshops and as part of that I have loaner cameras so that my students can try different camera systems before they decide on what type of camera and what conversion they like the best!  But the real point that I am trying to make here is that YOU DO NOT have to spend a lot of money and that EBay is your friend!

Point and Shoot cameras are very inexpensive and are light and easy to carry.  This means that you will always have a IR system on hand.  Mirror-less SLR IR systems like the GH2 and OLY Pen systems give your the advantage of interchangeable lenses and are small and light.  DSLR IR systems have the advantage of being able to share lenses and accessories!  If you shoot Nikon, do not be afraid to buy a used Canon camera and a cheap lens and vice-versa!

Go back through this blog and read the posts on the 14 IR camera systems that I have tested!  You will notice that I tend towards smaller lighter and cheaper cameras!  There is a whole world out there full of people with IR systems that are upgrading to something newer and cooler (in their eyes!) who would jump at the chance to sell the old ones for funds to add to their new ones.

Beware of buying from friends in camera clubs as they are looking to recover ALL of the money they spent both for the camera as well as the conversion!  As I said EBay is your friend!

 

Fine Art B&W IR Post Processing


A Well Done B&W Conversion Is Something Truly Wonderful To Behold!

630nm B&W IR, Rock Run Mill

I LOVE B&W photography!  Add Infrared into the equation and you have a winning combination what will draw your viewer in while holding them captive…. As long as you get the right combination in your B&W conversions!  Seriously, this is not all that hard but you would be surprised how often it is done badly!  A well done B&W conversion is something truly wonderful to behold!  But… There are several steps in the process that one should follow in order to create art on this level.

They Are:

  • A worthy subject!
  • Good cross image contrasts.
  • Good Exposure
  • Photoshop CS5
  • Nik Software’s Define 2.0, Viveza 2.0 & Silver EFX Pro 2
  • Good Faux Color Post Processing
  • Separate adjustment of image contrasts in the fore, mid and background
  • Choosing the right Silver EFX model or creating one of your own.

The purpose of this post is to take you through the process to create these types of B&W Infrared images as I do it.  I am not saying that my way is the best, only that it is the best that I have come up with that works for me!  There are dozens of B&W converters out there and hundreds of ways to accomplish the same within photoshop.

Let us take the top image as a case in point.  This is the Rock Run Mill in the Cumberland/Maryland Gap that I took on my recent “Great Grist Mill Trip” a couple of months ago.  I came back with hundreds of grist mill images that grab me by the throat and smack me around with their emotional impact (what more can you ask of an image?) , but this is one of my favorites!

I stood there in front of the mill for several moments just taking it in. I really looked closely at it all of the while deciding how I wanted to capture it.  Yes I photographed it in color, but my main intent was to focus on Infrared.  I examined it from all angles, looking at the fore, mid and backgrounds, the sky and trees.  I wanted, no desired to create an emotionally charged image that would grab my viewers and hold onto them.  I wanted them to feel what I did standing in front of it!

So, I settled on this view and angle.  The sky was moody, the mill with the brickwork  and large water wheel in front the the tree line made for an amazing composition.  I even used a tripod for this image wanting the best capture possible.  I decided upon the B+W 091 630nm filter (no surprises there) because of the combination of stunning Faux Color and B&W it would provide.  I set my exposure with a spot meter on the top quadrant of the black water wheel and set that at Zone 3 in order to establish detail in the holding buckets.  What!?!  You don’t know what Zone 3 is?  OK, I will cover that in a future post but for now, know that it is a term in controlling perfect exposure.  Everything else fell into place once I decided upon the exposure.

This is the image that I captured in Faux Color after post processing (see post on 590nm for detailed instructions on how I do this):

630nm Faux Color IR, Rock Run Mill

As you can see, the Faux Color image in itself is a stunning emotionally charged capture.  The post processing was a little more complicated due to the driveway and parking lot which was made up of tar and patches of stone.  This caused about 30 more seconds of processing with Nik’s Viveza… Oh well!  I really do like this image all by itself but I KNEW that I could do so much more with it in B&W!  So after saving this image as you see it, I continued on with my B&W post processing.

The order to things in the overall process is:

  1. Raw conversion into a 16 bit Tiff image.
  2. Crop to master image library size in Photoshop.
  3. Run Nik Define to control noise in the sky
  4. Run Nik Viveza to increase saturation, contrast & structure over the ENTIRE image.
  5. Run the Komography Faux Color Photoshop action (you can download it here on the right menu).  Within the Hue and Saturation window at the end of the action select the RED channel and bring up the saturation to start the color adjustment of the trees.  Select the Yellow and do the same.  Select the Cyan and adjust the HUE to bring the sky back to a normal blue!
  6. Run Nik Viveeza again to adjust fore, mid & background contrast.  Adjust individual element colors and structure.  Remove all saturation in the foreground parking lot and selected mill items.  Remove all saturation in the clouds.  Adjust the blue sky hue.  Adjust the color and structure of the building and wheel.
  7. Flatten and save.
  8. Run Nik Silver EFX Pro 2.0.  Adjust the individual elements after you select the B&W model.  For this image I chose the Wet Rocks option then using control points adjusted various image elements within the filter to get the overall look and feel to the image.  I spent about 5 min within this filter. I decided upon the Wet Rocks model because for this image I wanted a crisp or almost HDR effects!  Plus the model also gives rich blacks and highlights.  I could have simply adjusted the image the same way by taking control of the sliders within Silver EFX but have learned that several of the models give the results I like very quickly and easily!
  9. Flatten and save.

Here is the Nik Silver EFX Pro 2 window to show you some of the options that are at your control.  If you want to seriously create stunning B&W work then this is the way to go!

Nik Software's Silver EFX Pro 2.0

All done.  The overall time that I spent on this image was about 7 min!  I could have spent a little more to do little things like cloning out the cars to the right but I decided to leave them there as a subtle contrast of old and new!

What do you think?  Please let me know!

Images from the Low Country Infrared Adventure!


Seven Gifted Attending Photographers Share Their Work!

WOW!  How else to describe the 3 day Low Country Infrared Adventure!  It was an amazing time both in the workshop and out in the field shooting. Both Jamie and I were very impressed with everyone there.  We had seven gifted photographers in attendance, 8 hours in the classroom split between 2 days and 17 hours out shooting in all of the BEST Infrared locations in the Low Country.  Talk about tired, I am still dragging around.

We had a total of 7 photographers in attendance.  There were several Nikon IR conversions, Canon, Panasonic and Olympus systems. Every spectrum was covered from UV to Deep IR.  I am going to show case images from each of the attendees here in the days to come as they send their images to me so stay tuned and re-visit to see the new additions!

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Donald E Brown

Mark,
Been at it all morning processing images from this last weekend.  I am hungry and my eyes are hurting and it is all your fault!!!  I have tried many variations of this shot  from “Roadside View”  and it and some other variations are fast becoming my favorites. 

Anyway, enjoy the scenery from my roadtrip home.

Old Barn Version 1

Old Barn Version 2

Old Barn Version 3

Old Barn Version 4

Donald was shooting a 665nm converted Nikon DX2 and was an established Infrared photographer.  He added a lot to the workshop/excursion and was a lot of fun to shoot with!  Donald, these images are just breathtaking!

More please….

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Vicki Wilson

Hi Mark and Jamie,

I had a great time in the workshop! Thanks for sharing the IR cameras and letting me try out different filter types.  This has opened up a whole new fun area of photography, I love it! Here are a couple of my photos from the workshop.  Thanks again!

The Path...

Of Boats Long Gone....

Capt Andrew

Vicki was shooting with a loaner IR camera!  My Olympus E-PL1 Full Spectrum mainly with the 630nm filter and the UG1 UV/IR filter!  Her excitement was infectious and she is going to convert a Nikon D90 to the same!  I expect to see a lot of fabulous IR work from her!

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Dave Lindey

Jamie/Mark

I processed each in FAUX color and Monochrome. Couldn’t decide which to send. I processed a total of 120 images from the weekend. The attached represents a variety of what I shot over the weekend. I spent the past week experimenting with the post processing and will likely go bacl over a few because I learned a few things along the way. All images were shot with a Nikon D200 665nm conversion processed with Capture One, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Nik Dfine 2.0, Viveza 2.0 and Silver Efex Pro 2. Select what you like to post. I did not sharpen the images at all.

It was a great weekend.

Walkway, Georgetown, SC

The Path Less Taken....

The Tug Susan RIchards

Brookgreen Gardens Pond

Dave, I am stunned by these images!  To say that they take my breath away is simply an understatement!  For you to be creating this caliber of ART after only shooting Infrared for a year is amazing. Please continue to share your work with us!  I can see now that I am going to have to create a guest gallery now……..

OK, as I said earlier, stay tuned for more images from the workshop!


The Grist Mill Trip – Day 1


So Much Fun That It Hurts!

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA. 630nm Faux IR

Well, I should warn you here…. This is going to be a series of LONG posts (about 6) that will be comprised of both Infrared and Color photography!  I feel that to show only one or the other will just not do credit to the locations that I visited!

I am tired, we got back last Wednesday night after 2800 miles of driving from Pawleys Island to Boston.  Boston was the location of a wedding that I had to attend with my wife and the motivation for 10 days of travel to visit Grist Mills, Covered Bridges & Lighthouses!

Yes, I have a VERY UNDERSTANDING & SUPPORTIVE WIFE!

It was a very relaxing trip and we visited about a dozen of each of the subjects.  I had a great and successful time. I tried to make sure that we visited each location in the best light but as you know sometimes that is just impossible.  This is where Infrared can save the day (or vacation)!  Some locations screamed color but I shot in both formats regardless.  I hope that you enjoy the images as much as I did making them!

Our first planned stop was on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia at the Mabry Mill.  This is likely the most photographed mill in the country and you can see why from the images. It is a stunningly beautiful location with a perfect mill.  The elements of a perfect IR image are all there:  Water Reflections,  Green Leaves & Sky.  Usually there are so many people visiting the mill that it is hard to get a shot without them in it.  Today was the exception.  We got there about 2 pm and it was overcast with very subdued light.  I couldn’t have asked for better conditions for both color and infrared.

Mabry Mill, B&W 630nm Long View

The long view when approaching the mill gives a stunning framed image using the fence, hill and trees.  The entire property is in pristine condition and just screams “Take My Picture”!  Below is a Faux Color version of the same image.

Processing with my standard Faux Color recipe:

For CS5:

  1. Taking the picture I adjusted the exposure compensation to -.7ev to keep the red channel under control and not blow out the sky.  I also set the White balance using a BRNO neutral WB lens cap.
  2. After moving the image to the computer via Downloader PRO (see recent post) and RAW processing with  Capture One V5 where I added a little contrast and clarity, I opened the image in CS5.
  3. I cropped for my master library size (8.5×12.5)
  4. Run NIK Software’s Viveza 2.0 and apply about 15% STRUCTURE to the overall image only by not using control points.
  5. Run the Khromagery Faux Color Action (down load on the right).  In the Master Color Channel I simply increased the Saturation as necessary which brought out the blue sky & water and the yellow plants.  I then choose the Cyan, Red & Yellow channel adjustments and made sure to adjust the HUE to where I liked it.
  6. The ABOVE Cyan adjustment is important, I hate sky’s and water looking blue-green, so I always adjust the Cyan HUE to go to normal blue!
  7. I then flattened the Adjustment Layers.
  8. Next I ran NIK Software’s Viveza (a Photoshop plug in) and simply made point selections of the color I wished to modify, ran up the structure to bring out detail and adjusted the brightness.  I did this to all of the color areas I needed to like the water surface, the yellow plants and the blue sky. I also selected the warm colored wood of the Trunk and the rocks in the foreground and removed color saturation forcing them to be B&W!
  9. Again flatten the image.
  10. Save as a PSD file

For Elements:

You MUST install the Elements Plus Plugin (see post on this BLOG for link)

Link Here to Detailed Post On Elements Processing

  1. Convert your RAW image to Tiff.
  2. Open in Elements
  3. Crop
  4. Run NIK Software’s Define 2.0 noise reduction filter.
  5. Run NIK Software’s Viveza 2.0 and apply STRUCTURE only.
  6. Open the Channel Mixer, changing red and blue
  7. Run the Hue/Saturation adjustment and adjust DOWN the saturation HUE on the Cyan channel.
  8. Run NIK Software’s Viveza 2.0 and make your color, saturation, structure & contrast adjustments across the entire image.
  9. Flatten the Layers
  10. Save as a TIFF or PSD in your output library with a meaningful name!

The most important aspect of this is to look at the trees. Do you see how the leaves look slightly different in coloration?  This means that you should adjust each tree to a slightly different hue to get the most impact!  These small adjustments are so easy to accomplish with Nik Software’s Viveza plugin.

Mabry Mill, Long View. Faux Color 630nm

This image was also one of those rare ones that looked good in the RAW format.  By this I mean straight out of the camera, converted from RAW to TIFF and processed for contrast and structure only using NIK Viveza.  As you can see, it generated a rather pleasing image that is soft on the eyes!

Mabry Mill, Long View, RAW 630nm

As I said, the lighting was very subdued so I could shoot in color also.  Here is a version of that at the same location for you to compare.  Which do you like the best?

Mabry Mill, Long View, Color, Panasonic GH2 w/ 14-42mm Lens

But what ever you decide, make sure that you totally explore your subject.  Walk around it, take both long and short view images, landscape and portrait, DETAIL closeup shots and look for the unexpected!

Mabry Mill, Sluice

Process EVERY image you take in both color and B&W (color) and RAW, Faux and B&W (Infrared).  You will be surprised at the variety of emotions each will generate! Below is the same color image but converted to a medium contrast B&W image using NIK Silver EFX Pro V2.  I actually think that in the case of this image that the B&W image has more impact!

Mabry Mill Sluice, Color Converted To B&W

OK, moving on, I moved in closer to the mill but still giving space for a water reflection in the foreground. This image is a little more pleasing due to the greater detail that our eyes can detect.  Again, process in all possible ways to discover what we actually have!

Mabry Mill Closeup, RAW

Mabry Mill Closeup, Color

Mabry Mill Closeup, 630nm B&W

Now, had it been a bright sunny day color photography would have been out of the question due to the late arrival time at the mill.  Keep this in mind as you plan your excursions.  Regardless of this, you can always depend on great Infrared images any time of the day.  That is a pretty good motivation to embrace IR don’t you think?

This was a really good first day for the trip.  Mabry Mill is indeed worth the time necessary to travel to it.

There is another mill around the corner from it about 3 miles away, but it is in a commercial center and the wheel is gone.

Knowing that I was going to take 10 days to travel up the east coast to Boston, I RESEARCHED all of the mills and covered bridges from South Carolina north, and Missouri  east all the way up. I think that I have all of the worthwhile mills in 19 states entered into my GPS now!  There are about 300 mills that I narrowed down to about 75 based on their beauty first and foremost.  I then took the time to enter them ALL into my GPS so that I could easily find them.  This also has the added benefit that as you travel, the GPS will show you how far away you are from any of the mills in the list and continually update moving the closest to the top of the list!  What more could you ask for when you are ALWAYS in search of mills?

Even now that the trip is over I continue to research mills.  Just this weekend I added another 30 to my GPS list.  This list can be managed on your computer and downloaded directly to your GPS! 

I plan on adding this way point list to my download section here on this blog shortly so that you all can have access to these perfect subjects!  I only hope that you do the same and share new mills with me!

I hope that you enjoyed this LONG OVERDUE first post on the 2011 Great Grist Mill trip!  I will add every few days the next day of travel as I process the days images.  Keep in mind that I came back with over 2500 images which I reduced to about 1200 by the first editing step:  DELETION of the bad, marginal or duplicate images.

Tomorrow, Day 2:  Lancaster County, PA for Covered Bridges and Amish Farmland!

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

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!