For my latest trip I knew ahead of time that there would be much farmland with lots of rolling hills. Green rolling hills, to be specific. “What would that much green be like in infrared?” I thought to myself. I had recently dabbled with the Singh-Ray IR filter in Vietnam and, although great with some of the old temples, it had a couple of huge downsides for me. First and foremost, a tripod was essential. That is a big thumbs-down for me. I feel almost claustrophobic when my camera is shackled to a tripod for an extended period of time. Secondly, the filter produced what appears to be a halo of some sort in the middle of my frame.
Prior to my D4 upgrades, I shot using D3Ss. With the extended timeframe between Nikon’s release of the D3 series and D4 series (due partly to the tsunami), my primary D3S got so much mileage that I would not sell it even when proactively asked to for fear that it would not make it 24 hours after the transaction. What to do with it then? Rather than let it sit and collect dust on a shelf, I sent it to Life Pixel for an infrared conversion.
It came back just before the trip and I have to say that I love it! It was wonderful shooting with it on this past trip. Bonus – no tripod! To my surprise not only did it look great with rolling green hills of farmland, but it also looked amazing on decrepit old barns. Big blue skies and big puffy white clouds still had me reaching for a D4 at times, but the D3S-infrared was in my hands much more than expected.
The only downside had to do with my shooting style. I typically carry two camera bodies on me at all times: one with a 24-120mm and one with a 70-200mm. Whenever there was infrared potential on this trip, rather than let go of one of my “old faithful” bodies, I simply augmented with a third camera around my neck. A urgently needed a massage upon returning from that trip.
In aperture I de-saturated the original and bumped the contrast slider all the way up. I then used a high contrast/harsh filter in Nik Silver Efex.
Look for more infrared coming in my next post also. I had a few people guess the last blog post location as Tuscany. This is definitely not Tuscany!