Photographing the Huntington Gardens in Infrared

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Peter and I recently attended an infrared workshop lead by Nevada Wier.  Neveda inspired both of us to try to work with the color spectrum in our infrared cameras differently.  The day after the workshop, I was so excited about my new knowledge, that I took my camera to one of my favorite places, the Huntington Gardens, and gave it a go.  It was exciting to see a familiar place in such a different way.

Some of the the ah-ha’s I had during the workshop:

  • Try de-saturation instead of over-saturation.  I have spent my last few years in color landscape photography really trying to “pop” the colors.  This was a different way of thinking, and I have to admit sometimes its hard to break old habits.  There is a fine line between de-saturation and “sort-of” black and white.  I am still trying to find it so my images aren’t confusing and muddy.
  • Setting the white balance can produce distinctly different results.  I am still working with this, but I learned that you want to set your white balance to pull in as much color from the spectrum.  I was trying to set it to give me a wide variation in tonalities, but this sometimes doesn’t give you as much color to work with.
  • Post-processing is just as important as photo capture.  This isn’t always true, but with infrared you are working with a true “negative”.  Its not really possible to take an out-of-camera infrared image “as-is”.  This requires a lot of thought in terms of how you process.  Nevada’s key question as a starting point is “what’s wrong with this image”.

Peter and I caught the photography bug after our first workshop with Jack Graham.  I highly recommend attending workshops, after just a couple of days skill levels improve dramatically (I noticed it with many of my classmates in Nevada’s and Jack’s workshops), and your mind is opened up to new techniques, possibilities, and questions.

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