The Blog of Patrick C. Cook

The photography blog of Patrick C. Cook.

Deliciously Difficult

One reason I enjoy infrared photography is because it is challenging to consistently get good image results. The challenges range from taking the shot with the camera to processing on the computer, with each area of activity replete with technical and artistic challenges that makes the work deliciously difficult.

The challenges only start with a camera converted for infrared where it doesn't meter as well as originally engineered, white balance needs special handling, auto focusing is thrown off and the camera's Live View becomes nearly useless. All of this edges camera field work toward that of a guessing game. Add to this the challenge of composition where the photographer needs to "think infrared" despite being well adapted to "color think" - in terms of Infrared photography, the eye's lie (just what a photographer trains to overcome). When the images are brought into the computer for processing, a whole new set of technical challenges await. It's little wonder digital infrared photography remains the realm of enthusiasts - it's a technically and  artistically challenging activity with semi-broken tools to work with, laced with a bit of luck - little wonder why the photographer's goal of good images becomes more elusive.

Digital infrared photography is essentially the process of mapping near-infrared radiation to the human visible color spectrum. We do this with camera equipment originally engineered for color photography while relying on human vision perfected for color. This is like driving your car at night wearing sunglasses. This is one reason we don't get most of our infrared shots correct, which is why you'll not see hundreds of infrared photos available here - quality infrared images are just too difficult to make in quantity. But, I stand by my use of the words above, "deliciously difficult", where pursuing something that is difficult can yield delicious rewards. In digital infrared photography, the images that do work more than compensates for the effort expended on the images that don't work. ~Pat

Tomb in Infrared by Patrick C. Cook

Tomb in Infrared by Patrick C. Cook