Tabletop Reef in Infrared

A visit to the tide pools of Tabletop Reef at Seaside State Beach (South Cardiff State Beach) was mandatory of course, when I had Shannon Johnson‘s infrared-converted Sony A7r to play with. :-) If you’re not a regular follower of my blog and photography – this is the coastal area that I photograph most often by far, as I often go there for walks with Toni and bring the camera*.

So here are a few infrared photos, from a morning visit. We’ve had some nice clouds for two or three days and they were really beautiful that morning, complementing the shapes and forms of the tide pools in the foreground. Some more technical notes below the gallery.

Seascapes seem to work particularly well in infrared. The water is relatively dark, the contrast range is absolutely manageable (sky and clouds are never too bright in infrared) and when converted to black & white the photos look very appealing almost instantly, with no or very little additional developing.

Nevertheless, I’m presenting these infrared photos in (false) color once more, with the red- and blue-channel swapped, so that the sky and water become blue (instead of orange/ochre/yellow-ish). I further shifted the color hues around until I arrived at an appearance that I liked. When there is no realistic look to begin with, there’s less hesitation to take the photos freely wherever they want to go in post processing.

I actually see that as both a benefit and a problem in infrared photography now. Maybe that’s why the “safety” of a black & white rendition is an appealing option? On the other hand, when infrared produces these otherworldly results, hiding them in a black & white conversion feels like ignoring the full potential of the technique – and I’ve always been an outspoken friend of the digital photography process as a whole, and exploring/exploiting its full potential…

*) as of writing this, I have 47 existing blog posts online from my repeated visits. Someone explain to me how that works with regards to a SEO strategy with unique keywords and content, haha! I generally have the feeling a lot of the common SEO wisdom doesn’t really apply to photographers and photography websites, especially when visiting favorite places again and again…


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