Wednesday, 11 February 2015

More snippets

Apologies for not posting yet this year ... but here are a few items to make up for it.

Towards the end of last year I came across a claim that a special diet could extend human vision into the edge of the near infrared.

Petapixel carried an explanation of the research project and also a rebuttal by a neuroscientist. The original crowd-funded experiment page is on and the group carrying out the research is called Science for the Masses. Since last August the web seems to have gone quiet on the project.

A slight increase in deep red sensitivity would be useful for astronomers wanting to view the universe at the wavelength of hydrogen-alpha: 656.28 nm. Canon produced a camera modified to give similar better response a few years back and Nikon have now also done so, although theirs is a high-resolution full-frame camera. It's the D810A. The older Canon still had some infrared filtering in place so it couldn't be used for infrared photography, but it is unclear whether this is the case with the Nikon. The press release is unclear although DP Review suggests that there is still filtering.

For those of you interested in the BBC's natural history infrared shooting, there is a training film on line where Colin Jackson explains his technique. However, this his team moved on to using modified Canon DSLR cameras rather than 'pure' video cameras so the film is a little out of date.

Finally, a thermal imaging video showing cloud formations across the earth, shot from space at a wavelength of 6.5 µm. (This is worth expanding for a better view.)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

RPS Journal article on creative thermal imaging

I've mentioned Joseph Giacomin's artistic thermal images in previous posts. This is a rare art, not least because the cameras are either very expensive or of low resolution (or sometimes both).

Members of the Royal Photographic Society can get a background briefing from him in the latest edition of The Journal, entitled Heat and Light (page 802). It's clear explanation of the principles of thermography and well worth a read.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Photographing the Female Form with Digital Infrared

It's been a while since Amherst Media published a slew of infrared photography books, including Joe Paduano's seminal The Art of Infrared Photography. Those are still in their catalogue, now joined by a fascinating book from Laurie Klein [Laurie's web site] with one of those 'exactly what it says on the tin' titles.

Photographing the Female Form with Digital Infrared

Near infrared light penetrates skin to a depth of a few millimetres. This tends to give skin a milky appearance as you're not seeing the surface (some moral there perhaps) but can also show up veins and make some marks, especially tattoos, stand out starkly. There can also be a spooky effect on eyes, making them look like dark pools. So combining infrared photography and skin can be 'interesting'.

Laurie Klein studied with Ansel Adams and spent some of her professional life as a landscape photographer, moving on to people and weddings. Her approach to people photography brings an appreciation of landscape; both the person in the landscape and the person as landscape. Almost all the images in the book are taken with a modified DSLR and shown in black and white. There is one example of 'good old' HIE 35mm film, which doesn't stand out as being that different from the digital shots, and one faux-colour shot ... of a woman in a wine-dark river ... which definitely benefits from the splash of colour. The models are all (or look to be) white; so my only wish would be to have seen what Laurie could do with darker skin tones. Having said that, the tonal differences at infrared wavelengths are not as pronounced as they are in visible light. In Laurie's photos, one interesting effect of the infrared is that the models' nipples render white as well. It's a very alabaster and sculptural look.

Incidentally I am impressed with the quality of the printing. In the past I have sometimes found Amherst's infrared images to be over-contrasty, but not here.

Alongside the photographs, Laurie explains how and why she posed the models as she did, and includes alternative 'takes' from the session. The train of thought is interesting, sometimes making me see the landscape photographer within being able to move those mountains to get the shot required. Here are nudes, props and landscape ... especially rocks and foliage ... arranged to taste.

As I said, it's a fascinating book, with lessons for all photographers and for any subject, and Laurie exploits the artistic possibilities of infrared light brilliantly.

[$27.95, 7.5x10 inches, 128 pages 180 photographs
ISBN-13: 978-1-60895-719-4]

Monday, 10 November 2014

Near-infrared used for vein visualisation

There's an interesting use of near-infrared detection combined with a kind of augmented reality in a device being trialled by the Australian Red Cross Blood service. Since near infrared radiation (NIR) penetrates a few millimetres into skin you can often see subcutaneous veins in infrared images because the de-oxygenated blood absorbs light at these wavelengths. This device, made by Christie Medical, takes that a stage further by illuminating the area with NIR and then projecting the resulting image in visible light back onto the skin. It's shown in this video ...

More information in this punning post from the Blood Service.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Simon Marsden 2015 Calendar

Halloween is an appropriate time to mention The Haunted Realm calendar for 2015, featuring the infrared photographs of Simon Marsden.

More information, and how to order, can be found on his web site.