Friday, 7 September 2012

Seeing the Unseen

NL Infrared 2Frank Gresh has long been extolling the virtues of lens rentals. "Much cheaper than buying and easy to do", he says. However, I never really found a place in Canada that fit the "easy and cheap" criteria until this summer when I came across So I decided to see if Frank is on to something and I ordered up a 300mm/2.8 lens. While I was filling out the paperwork to rent the lens, I saw that Todd had a D100 "IR" camera for rent. On a whim, I decided to rent it and try my hand at IR photography.

I'll get to the 300mm/2.8 lens in a later post. This post is all about IR.

"IR" stands for "infrared", which is part of the spectrum we humans cannot see. This is really cool, because an IR camera will reveal things about a scene that the photographer just wouldn't expect. And that is pretty much what happened to me: almost every image gave me something I didn't expect. Here are the more remarkable images that I managed to capture with this tool. Click on any image to see a better, higher resolution image over on Flickr.

I made this capture just as the fog was starting to form. I set my white balance to a grey card that I had with me, which seemed to render things in cyan and magenta.

NL Infrared 10

With the fog getting much heavier, I changed the white-balance to a reading off of the road and under-exposed for a shot that I call "The Road to Nowhere".

NL Infrared 7

When I set the white-balance using a green leaf, all the plants showed as "white", which made the scene look as if a snowstorm just passed through.

NL Infrared 2

NL Infrared 3

NL Infrared 1

I was also on the look-out for shots of Random Island for Thomas Andersen and decided to take some IR images for him.

NL Infrared 8

I can't remember what I set the white balance to, so I have no idea where the sepia tones came from in these shots.

NL Infrared 4

NL Infrared 5

I have to conclude Frank is on to something. Renting a piece of gear, especially one that I would hardly use, is a great thing to do. And when guys like Todd make it so easy to rent, it becomes a no-brain'er. Not only did it save me money, but it let me explore the IR genre, something I certainly would not have done without renting.


Monday, 3 September 2012

Shadow Dance

Shadow DanceI was sitting around one night looking at the shadow a nearby streetlight was casting and I thought about exploring the shadows that dancers might cast.

The next day I set out to scout a suitable place to shoot dancers and their shadows. I didn't really find anything that really struck my fancy, but a small cottage had a suitable wall and enough space in front of the wall to allow me to at least begin to explore this idea. By flashing the dancers as they lept, I could create a shadow on the wall behind them.

Surprisingly, I had no shortage of volunteers from the teenage population, some of whom had formal dance training and some who did not. I guess this was an interesting enough activity for them to dedicate a couple of hours of their prime "evening" time. We had a blast jumping, leaping, bounding, and springing, and then "chimping" around the camera to see what the resulting shadow looked like.

Shadow Dance

I envisaged these images as black and white. Restricting the image to just tones creates a more forceful graphic, and a viewer's focus tends to be on the shadow and not the dancer.

However, the dancers also wanted images to put on Facebook and I was aware that a decidedly artsy image might not cut it for them, so I also created images in colour. By allowing hues to colour the tones in the image, a viewer's focus tends to be on the dancer. This sort of image is perfect for a subject-centric image intended to be posted on Facebook.

Shadow Dance Colour 2

I am not done with this concept yet, as I have a few improvements that I want to make in the execution. I am out looking for both dancers and a suitable place to evolve this series.

The complete series in black and white are in this slideshow here:

Created with flickr slideshow.

The complete series in colour are in this Facebook album.