Beyond Visible Light


For a different look at color photography, try these shooting and processing tips using infrared digital capture
Text & Photography by Russell Hart

Cranes Feeding At Sunset, Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
The light was pretty warm already when I photographed these cranes eating the corn that’s fed to them in winter at New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Infrared turned the sky yellowish-orange, and that color is reflected in the marshy pools of the Rio Grande Valley. I took the photograph handheld, braced on the top of my car, with a Nikon 70-200mm ƒ/4 and 1.4x teleconverter. The lens was zoomed all the way in, giving me an effective focal length of 280mm that helped create the picture’s flat, “compressed” appearance. I kept the shutter speed high enough (1/250 sec.) to reasonably freeze the redwinged blackbirds flying in front of the mountains and stopped down to ƒ/13 to make sure everything was sharp from front to back.

The trees on the mountains, and, to a lesser extent, the brush surrounding the water, have the typical blue-green (cyan) color that digital infrared capture renders foliage. It was a little too blue for my taste, so I altered it in Photoshop to make it greener and therefore natural, though I didn’t take it all the way. Instead of using saturation sliders to do this, I went into the Selective Color control, increasing the yellow in the image’s blues and reducing magenta in the image’s greens, among a few other adjustments. Selective Color isn’t a control typically used much by photographers but is one I’ve found useful for subtle tweaking of color with infrared.
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Beyond Visible Light
by Russell Hart

more in: Outdoor Photographer Magazine
Vol. 35 No. 8 | September 2019

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