The LA Zoo in Infrared

1407_MFA_zoo infrared_0091In July, Mary and I attended an infrared workshop at the Los Angeles Center of Photography led by Nevada Weir.  One of our excursions was to the Los Angeles Zoo.  I would not of thought to photograph the zoo in infrared, but it turned out to be really rewarding for both learning and capturing a few great photos.  Here is what we saw:

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Monochrome conversion

We did not have a lot of time, so we planned on a few favorites – the flamingos, gorillas, zebras, and giraffes.  The gorillas and giraffes were a bit of a bust, but we made up for it with an entertaining time with the chimpanzees.

Remember, the best light for infrared is bright sunlight rather than the traditional golden hour light for color photography.  The unprocessed raw image often times look likes a 35 mm film negative.  You then have to tease out the colors or go more monochrome.

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1407_MFA_zoo infrared_0210There is still a lot of color in infrared depending on the type of filter you have.  You can draw out the color while processing in Lightroom and you “switch channels” in Photoshop for an even more dramatic look.

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Mary photographing the Zebras. This is what my infrareds basically look like with little processing.

We had the most fun with the Chimpanzees.  They were sitting in muted light and are so social, playful, and emotional.  You can not help but anthropomorphize them.

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1407_MFA_zoo infrared_01631407_PSA_zoo infrared_171-EditRemember to look for “landscape” shots, too.

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We have a number of posts on our blog about shooting in infrared.  Here is a good one to start with...and another one on specific workflow steps.

To see more of (and buy) our photographs, please go to

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