Along the PCT to Eagle Rock (color infrared, 9 photos)

These are the color photos that I previously mentioned, from the hike to Eagle Rock on the Pacific Crest Trail. I may have gone a little bit over the top with the processing of these. The creative processing possibilities for color infrared are almost infinite it seems – and this was about exploring them! :)

This was a fun exercise, learning more about how to process color infrared photography. I tweaked the custom color profile that swaps the red and blue channels a little bit further with regards to the blue saturation and color temperature, and it’s much easier to work with the photos now. What you’re looking at is a combination of Lightroom tweaks that include (for the most part) camera calibration, local adjustments (mostly for color temperature, but also saturation), and split toning. The appearance is not entirely consistent because it’s actually pretty damn hard to get a consistent look when some photos contain mostly full sun, others part shade, and yet others mostly shade. The color rendition differs a lot!

One thing that I noticed is that all the lenses I have available to use with the infrared camera have a certain “hot spot” issue – there’s an area in the center of the frame with reduced contrast and acuity, colors also appear to be a bit warmer. Depending on how much the lens is stopped down, the area in the center of the image where this problem appears may be larger or smaller.

This can’t really be fixed in post but it can be reduced a lot – very easy for black & white, a little more tricky for color images. I’m using Lightroom’s “Radial Filter” tool to fix exposure, contrast, temperature, tint and maybe clarity, which works well enough.

Oh and, if you look at the photo titled “Alien Abduction” you probably get the notion that it is not actually a good idea to have the sun in the frame. I have no explanation for that – it’s a wide angle lens all right, but still, that’s a massive amount of flaring. Maybe the coating that is supposed to reduce flare doesn’t work with light in the infrared range, and with a normal camera you don’t see it because the infrared blocking filter in front of the sensor takes it all out? Something like that…

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2 Responses

  1. Beautifully processed Alex. Love the “Alien” lens flare. :) I don’t generally find myself drawn to faux color IR but have really enjoyed your approach. Good stuff!

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