Monday 14 August 2023

Thermal images of sun-baked Phoenix Arizona

The Guardian recently published a photo set matching far infrared images of Phoenix with ordinary photographs.

The images were taken by Carlos Barria, using a Flir thermal camera, which also shows a point temperature (in Fahrenheit).

It's an interesting set, taken in late July 2023 and which "reveal a Phoenix where concrete on the street registers 150F (66C), outdoor workers’ bodies reach 105F (41C) and homeless people swelter, surrounded by surfaces as hot as 143F (62C)" and it's unusual to see visual and thermal images matched in this way: you can swipe between the two.

The link is here: Thermal images of the US heatwave in Phoenix, Arizona

Monday 10 July 2023

Infrared generative AI

I've been 'playing around' with a couple of generative artificial intelligence engines that carry out text-to-image. I was interested in how they understood the look of an infrared photograph.

This was partly because I find that at least one of my IR photos has found its way into the models used for generative AI. Without permission of course!

I tried a fairly simple shot; that of a tree. A good test for the basic Wood Effect. The results are quite good and, given how unreal IR photos can look anyway, it would be difficult to tell from the real thing. Sometimes the background detail gives things away but I found I could quickly get good results.

The two I tried are Stable Diffusion and Adobe Firefly (chosen simply because I have access to them) and the text prompt is the same for each: Infrared image of an oak tree in a meadow.

This is the Firefly result ...

As you can see, I got a false colour image without specifying, and in this case it's not a bad result. Often the system would put arbitrary colour washes over the image, but here the result is as you'd expect.

This is the Stable Diffusion result ...

Here, it's black & white straight away. Again, a pretty good result.

I did also try to generate some thermal images but neither engine could get anywhere near what you'd expect, presumably because there are not many, if any, thermal images in the training set.

Sunday 11 June 2023

James Jarché Infrared

I've mentioned in a previous post that the famous press photographer, James Jarché, had experimented with infrared photography in the early 1930s. I also noted that he had used IR to document the photographic manufacturing process for Ilford.

I recently managed to buy a copy of his memoir, People I Have Shot, and this includes some plates. One of them was taken by an unknown Ilford employee showing Jarché taking one of the photographs at Ilford's factory.

Here it is, captioned The Author Shot by Infra-red Rays.

Although in darkness, here you can see Jarché with his camera on a tripod, pointing a little to the right of the viewpoint.

Sunday 12 March 2023

Barnaby Attwell infrareds in Falmouth exhibition

Having recently discovered Barnaby Atwell's faux-colour infrared shots of Cornish landscapes I was delighted to find that he has some included in a new seasonal exhibition in Falmouth.

The exhibition is called Unfamiliar Territory and is on at the Falmouth Art Gallery until June 1st.

The exhibition press release describes the event ...

Unfamiliar Territory is a stunning new exhibition opening this February at Falmouth Art Gallery that will explore a range of themes linked to the Cornish landscape. It brings together an exciting selection of 20th and 21st century artists who have been inspired by Cornwall’s diverse landscapes to create works that show it in innovative ways and explores how Cornwall’s iconic landscapes have evolved over the years.
The exhibition runs from the 11th February to 1st June 2023 and will feature nationally renowned artists such as: John Tunnard, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Kurt Jackson, Danny Markey, Tom Cross, Patrick Heron, Albert Reuss, Bryan Wynter and more.

... and Barnaby adds that the gallery shop will be selling copies of his excellent book, Welcome to St Decay, as well as prints and postcards.

The web site for the exhibition is at and Barnaby's blog post about it is at

[Photo courtesy of Barnaby Atwell]

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Second Band volume coming from Elliott Landy

Almost exactly nine years ago I wrote about Elliott Landy's Kickstarter project to produce a book of his photographs of The Band, that bunch of Candian musicans who also,famously, backed Bob Dylan for a while. [Read the original post.]

That volume contained 200 photos chosen from the thousands that Elliott shot while in their company. Choosing a set is a difficult task, and lots of great shots are always left behind. So he has decided that it's time for a Volume Two! And he makes these pages because Elliott Landy included infrared film in his toolkit and, just as there were some IR shots in the first book, there will be some infrared images in the new one; shot using 35mm Infrared Ektachrome.

Here's one of the infrared images from the first book to whet your appetite ...

You should visit the Kickstarter page of course, and decide whether you want to join in.

Monday 6 February 2023

A few Infrared Photographers

It's always nice to come across other photographers who either specialise in infrared or who take the odd very good shot. So here are a few:

Kate Ballis is based in Melboutne and has a neat line in faux-colour digital images. As her online biog says "In her Infra Realism series, Kate creates unique, colour-drenched images using infrared technology." She took an IR-converted camera and experimented with filters to produce dramatic images.

Also doing interesting things with digital colour is Barnaby Attwell ... aka Barnflakes. He's based in Cornwall and published a thin volume of colour infrareds of Conrnish landscapes. His palette is different to Kate's, which demonstrates the variety of results you can get with digital infrared. I also added his book to the Invisible Light Bibliography.

More 'conventional' digital mono infrareds can be found with Pauline Rook. I came across her photographs in a craft gallery in Wells and find that her aesthetic is similar to mine (though I think her eye is better). Her web site, includes IR images shot in Africa as well as closer to home.

A final single image from Richard Mosse. Lately he's been shooting with thermal cameras but I was interested to come across a single shot of his in The Guardian newspaper recently. It's called The Amazon’s highway through hell (I think) and, very unusually, was shot using an 8 by 10 inch sheet of the legendary Kodak HIE film. To quote Oliver Cromwell, you can see the image 'warts and all' on the page but it's a great shot.