Being a risk taker – infrared photography
Most of you know that by now I have had one of my old cameras converted to be an infrared camera. It wasn’t a new idea, I had considered it once before when I first got my D800. At the time I had two D300s bodies, and I didn’t need two so I thought why not. When I looked into how much it was going to cost I realised it was too much money at the time.
Earlier this year a friend of mine wanted to sell her D90 and I was thinking it would be a good camera for my daughter. She didn’t want a lot of money for it because it had dropped in some mud once. It was still working okay and I knew it was alright. My daughter showed some interest for about 5 minutes and that was it. So now I had two spare bodies again. I thought perhaps the D90 might be a good camera to do the conversion.
There were a couple of reasons for wanting to do it, one because I really like the look of infrared images. I love how different they make the world. As I struggle to make sense of everything, it is nice to see how you can turn the world inside out. The second reason was because I wanted to learn something new. I love long exposure photography, but, I am being asked constantly to write about it. I needed something new, so infrared it is.
I didn’t really know much about it, except that the camera would be infrared dedicated and I wouldn’t be able to use it for anything else anymore. I sent an email to the place that would do the conversion, Camera Clinic. The price hadn’t change, it was still AUD$495 for a cropped sensor, so that was good. Then they started telling me things about the camera that I had no idea about. I had to choose a filter for the sensor.
All our digital cameras come with a filter over the sensor. To convert the camera that filter has to be removed and then a new one is put in its place. Now, I’m only guessing here, but I think the filters that come with the camera don’t allow infrared light to reach the sensor, whereas the filter that it is replaced with blocks visible light. So I’ve read. It is all very confusing, I know.
You then have to decide which filter you want. There are quite a few to choose from, however I was only given the choice of two, the 720nm, near infrared, or the 850nm, deep black and white. I didn’t want complete black and white images. I knew I wanted to get some colour, so I went for the most common option, the 720nm filter. A lot of people I’ve talked to have gone for the same.
Just as I was about to send the camera in, I had a thought, I still had the old D300s camera here doing nothing, and perhaps I should find out which of the two would be better to convert. I gave them a ring and told them that I had two cameras I could use and which one did they think would be better. I was told the D300s, something to do with the live view, the D90 didn’t have it. The D300s was going to get converted. I am so glad I made that call and asked. It isn’t a bad idea if you are planning on converting a camera and have choices.
I sent the camera in to Camera Clinic and waited the two weeks for it to be done. It was a frustrating time, once I had made the decision to do it, I couldn’t wait.
I’ve had the camera for almost two weeks now and I’ve been out with it a few times. I’m looking forward to taking it with me to Tasmania next month. Though, I do have to admit, I wasn’t sure what people would make of my infrared images. The first time I thought about putting one on Instagram I was worried that my followers would think it was too different and not like it at all. I asked a friend if I was being mad and she said, “I think people appreciate your willingness to take risks and do something different , you’re not run of the mill and people don’t expect you to be.” I had never thought of myself like that, but perhaps she is right. I do like to experiment and try new things.
Many of you have said you would like me to talk about this more, and so this is the first of many posts where I will discuss it. Today’s post is more about the decision and how I had the camera converted. I will do more on taking photos, lenses, and processing as I go along. I will also attempt to share articles that I’ve found that might give you more information.
I took the camera to Alowyn Gardens on the first day of spring, and took some photos with it. You do get to see things in a completely different way.