Festive Greetings with Extra-Visible Imaging.
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Everyone.
Christmas trees are up, decorations hung, turkeys ordered, booze bought, presents wrapped, cats napped, candles lit, and carols sung – just another day chez Okavanga! But merry Yuletide Greetings to one and all – I trust everyone will enjoy themselves in these dark mid-Winter days - except of course those in the Southern Hemisphere who will be celebrating mid-Summer, - oh and then those who of other religious persuasions who probably have their own feast and holy days, - ah now there are many who are not religious at all and therefore may feel excluded – I had better include you, and then there are … oh never mind – Happy Late December to the World.
Some may know that I recently took over the running of the Infrared-Club. [link] What with the popularity of the R72 Supergroup [link] the Infrared-Club was struggling to attract submissions and members and was in danger of losing its way. Kindly and generously, the previous Founder, Torsten, agreed to my taking over the reins. Partly not to compete with R72 and partly because I see a possible niche, I am trying to move the group into different areas, areas that might be covered by the phrase “extra-visible imaging”. Very simply, almost all of the images we see in our World are derived from the visible spectrum (400-700 nm). However, modern digital cameras have sensors that allow us to pick up near infrared radiation (720-1000 nm) and to convert that radiation into visible images. The infrared radiation is something more than the naked eye can perceive and hence the resulting images can be considered as “extra-visible” - more than the visible image. Here are some images from members and contributors to the Infrared-Club.
The first, “Huge Palm Trees”, is from MichiLauke [link] (Founder of the R72 Gsupergroup). It shows a typical monchrome rendition of “white” palm trees and a “black” sky. Foliage is often very light almost white in the near infrared while clear blue skies are often black or nearly so.
Landscape infrared photography is very popular and the second image, “The Valley of Frozen Dreams” by IngoEs [link] , is a fine example by a master of the genre. Note again the white trees and dark sky, and the subtle use of colour tone.
Portraits often have a haunting quality to them as the skin reflects infrared light in a slightly different manner than it does visible light. The third shot, a stunning study, “My Sister” by newfac [link] , illustrates this.
These three examples show some conventional infrared work. However, the idea of extra-visible imaging can be extended to, say, full spectrum and blended images. The car shown in the shot, “BMW E30 320”, by puu4ux [link] is in sharp clear visible colour, but its surroundings are from an infrared image – a blend of infrared and visible shots of the same subject. Another technique is shown by Astroandre's photograph, [link] “IR theatre”. Here, visible and infrared shots have been blended by using the infrared version as the red channel in the visible image. The result is a little odd in terms of our normal eye colour balance, but suggests how we might perceive the world if our red vision extended into the infrared region. The third image below, “”Dust to Dust” by spigget [link] extends the spectral range even more into the ultraviolet region as well as visible and infrared. The image was captured on a home made 8 x 10 camera.
These images indicate the use of colour in infrared work, but such colours are often referred to as “false” or artefactual colours as there can be no true colour associated with infrared radiation. False colouration is widely featured in non-visible spectrum images. One leading exponent of false colour techniques is Dewanggapratama [link] and the Indonesian school of infrared photography, MyInfrared, [link] . Here are a couple of Angga's images:
So far, I have concentrated mainly on the infrared spectrum as the source of extra-visible images, but the idea extands into other areas. The idea is that our cameras and associated software can provide more information than meets the normal visible eye, our normal visual sytem. Two examples must suffice for this article: long exposure imaging and HDR photography (high dynamic range images with tone-mapping).
The image, “Flying Sky” by Enkased [link] is an excellent example of how a long exposure (over 100 seconds) can show us something that our eyes and mind may be aware of (the movement of clouds) but cannot perceive in totality – we have no long exposure facility in the visual system. The second shot below by Gilad [link] further illustrates the point. We know motorcycles flash by but we cannot see what the camera catches in this astonishing image, one that was awarded a Daily Deviation.
Regarding HDR imaging, there has been controversy about whether it is just a filtering technique or a genuine method of producing images of the real world that we cannot see with the naked eye. The answer lies in how that technique is used, and I see it as a method that can offer an extra dimension to what our normal vision can perceive. I am going to use a couple of my shots to illustrate this. If we look at “A Study in HDR 1”, parts of the image, e.g. the lamp a blown out – too bright for the exposure, while parts, e.g the chair om the right hand side and the figures on the window ledge are too dark; this despite the camera having a dynamic range of about 12 stops. The tone-mapped HDR image “A Study in HDR 2”, however, shows some detail in the lamp and considerable detail in the dark areas – more and better information. Now our eyes could have seen this detail if we allowed them to accommodate, but then we could not have perceived the light areas in the same way at the same time – our visual dynamic range limited over any range of light even though it can change through the mechanism of accommodation.
Finally, here are three further recent submissions to the Infrared-Club Gallery – all outstanding.
From bamboomix [link] “Rouge Coeur”
From myINQI [link] “Niagara Falls”
From jcded [link] “Joshua Tree road”
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.