Byron Neslen Southwest Fine Art Photography


Photo Tip 4: B & W Infrared

Black and White Infrared film can make for some exciting and interesting images. Kodak stop making its High Speed Infrared film in 2007, but you can still find it on ebay. The price can be somewhat reasonable to ridicules depending on the auction. I have seen it go for as much as $35 a roll. Konica also made an infrared film which in many respects I prefer over the Kodak. This film can be seen on ebay from time to time. You can also purchase infrared film from Freestyle Photographic Supplies which is located in California.

A red filter 25 or 29 is necessary for infrared. Focusing the lens is a little different then with visible light. The wavelength of infrared is 750nm or higher while visible light which is the light we see with our eyes is about 400nm to 750nm. Lens are designed to focus visible light and near infrared and infrared light focus at a different spot on the lens. Most older lens have a red dot or R on the lens which is for infrared. What you would do is focus normally then noticed on the lens were you are focus at and move that to the red dot or R. For example let say my subject is 10 feet from my camera after I focus. I would move the lens where the ten feet is normally to the red dot or R. If my focus is infinity then I would move the infinity mark to the red dot or R. If you are using auto focus you will need to turn that off because you will be out of focus for infrared. If you camera lens doesn't have the mark for infrared you will have to guess. I suggest that you focus past the regular focus point by a little bit. A wide angle lens has more inherit depth of field so focusing is not as critical. If you are using a telephoto it becomes more critical because of the decreased depth of field. Using a smaller aperture will increase your depth of field and I would recommend that. One more point that many of the newer film cameras have an infrared sensor where the film is. This doesn't hurt regular film but will expose infrared. Check the owners manuel of the camera to see if your camera has that sensor

If you are using Kodak High Speed Infrared film the film needs to be kept cool to cold. If the film gets hot you can fog the film. Also the film needs to be loaded and unloaded from your camera in complete darkness. A changing bag and cooler is necessary if you plan on shooting more then one roll of film. I rate the film at 160 iso. If I want a more infrared look I rate the film about 60 iso try both to see what you like. The Konica doesn't have to be kept as cool and you can load and unload the film like regular film. The Konica is much finer grain. A 120 negative will make a print with finer grain then a negative from a 4 x 5 negative with the Kodak High Speed Infrared film. The Konica I rate at 25 iso.

Many of these newer films that Freestyle has out I haven't used yet. Don't be afraid to experiment with the film to see what works best. One of their infrared films that I used said that the iso was 25 but I got better results at 12 or 6 iso. Freestyle is more than willing to give you a good starting point on these films. I have found their staff helpful and friendly so ask as many questions as possible. If you have any questions you can send an email and I will do my best to answer it. Good luck with shooting infrared film

The next page that follows is going to be a slideshow of images. I would recommend that you take control of the slideshow and go at your own pace. By the thumbnails on each side are a - and +. Use those to proceed through the images. Please mouse over the image and a caption will come up about that image for you to read. This is also true of the regular gallery pages in the rest of the website. You can go to the photo tips light gallery by the link below or by mousing over the image above. It will rollover and you can click the image to take you to that gallery. Most non gallery images are rollover image links on this website.