Some recent captures and work in the digital dark room. Be sure to click in to see them in a larger size
Some recent captures and work in the digital dark room. Be sure to click in to see them in a larger size
The Infrared Image: what makes infrared interesting are the dream like qualities achieved because of the high contrast blacks and whites, such as the deep black sky and water and bright white foliage and clouds as they reflect the Infrared light. In color infrared the false colors result in a equally surreal and dreamy effect.
What is Infrared: People often ask about Infrared photography starting with a question that relates infrared to night-seeing goggles one sees the military using. In fact, infrared photography and night vision goggles have little in common. In infrared photography, the film or image sensor is sensitive to infrared light. In the case of photography, that infrared light is part of the spectrum referred to as near-infrared to distinguish it from far-infrared, which is the domain of thermal imaging. On the other hand, night vision goggles use image enhancement technology to collect all the available light, including infrared light, and amplify it so that you can easily see what’s going on in the dark.
Technical considerations for IR Photography: what makes infrared photography both interesting and challenging is that the near infrared light wavelengths (about 700nm to 900nm) are invisible to the eye, meaning that they are also invisible to the camera light meter. This also impacts focus and the image composition. Without practice you can never be sure how the image is going to come out in terms exposure. This also can impact the elements of the composition itself because how the elements of the composition interact with Infrared light on any particular day can be a tad unpredictable. In using Infrared film, it required bracketing every shot and with practice both the exposure and image composition become more predictable. Also worth noting that that sometimes the film negatives are going to be a little thin and require additional dark room attention.
Infrared Film: I began shooting the famous and wonderful Kodak High Speed Infrared (HIE) Black and White film (sadly, now discontinued). It featured a beautiful halation effect and glow, largely because of the absence of an anti-halation layer on the back side of Kodak HIE film. The film was susceptible to scratching in post production so negatives had to be handled carefully. The film was was also a tad grainy. It required loading and unloading the film in complete darkness. A piece of black electrical tape over the little film window in the back of the camera to prevent even a tad of light leaking into the camera which would ruin the film. I pushed the film to asa 1500 and used a deep red filter. Today, Rollei, Efke and Maco and Ilford sell Infrared film. The emulsions do not quite match the Kodak HIE film. If you want more detailed pointers for shooting infrared film check out this link to an Infrared Photography simple guide.
The Digital Era and Infrared
With the advent of the digital era and digital cameras came several issues for infrared photographs.
1. First, digital cameras manufacturers had to completely filter out infrared light because it caused a lot of noise. Therefore camera sensors had no capacity to access infrared light.
2. Second, to get around the camera sensor issue, you could use an infrared filter on the lens. However, given its opacity, you must focus before not focus or see through. Therefore, you had to set up the shot on a tripod, then screw on the filter and then take a significantly long exposure. That limited my desire to walk around and shoot from the hand.
3. Third, Lightroom and Photoshop had some work arounds (for example color channel swaps and/or infrared filters or actions). I thought they all did a poor job of approximating what I could get on film.
The Infrared Camera Conversion: So I was late to the digital until I found LifePixel. They, and now another company,Kolarivision, will convert the sensors in a digital camera, so that the camera can record the infrared light as opposed to having it all blocked out. Both companies offer several different kinds of infrared filters attuned to different colors and infrared wavelengths, as you can see here:
I was excited to begin the new digital infrared adventure when I got my digital camera converted by LifePixel. This did more closely approximate film. I no longer needed to load and unload in darkness. I could shoot on the go and in hand-held mode rather than setting up a tripod with a very opaque filter. I could see the image and histogram immediately after taking one shot and adjust accordingly, rather than wait and wonder how the film had reacted that day to my exposure guesses. I could process and print my own work.
I’m currently in the process of selecting a new camera and conversion to keep moving forward…as you can see the choices are plentiful so working through some of those technical decisions
For Photographers: If you go the converted camera camera route, understand that converted camera can only shoot infrared. Digital infrared photos also require paying careful attention to white balance. Some lenses are better than others for focusing. I also find that the digital darkroom processing works best with a unique camera profile. You might also find these resources helpful
This is just a quick overview. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have other questions or want additional details.
Art is very much a personal choice. Giving art as a gift can be a very memorable and meaningful way to recognize a special someone. Giving art to a family member, a valued friend or colleague can show how much they mean to you. It can brighten a home or apartment. It can also be difficult to choose for someone else.
Here Come the Holidays, Personal and Meaningful Gift Giving
As the holidays approach and we think about others, a work of art can be a unique and wonderful gift. It is a more personal gift than a tie, sweater, gift basket or kitchenware.
One of the most memorable gifts I ever received was art from a team I worked with. They consulted with a friend and artist, Jennifer Dickson, and selected a work called “The Dreamer”. To this day it hangs in my bedroom over my dresser where I see it every day.
As a young boy, I wanted to give something special to my parents and siblings for Christmas. I turned to art. At that age, I was not buying original art. The gifts of art took the form of a box of Vincent van Gogh cards for Mom, an art calendar or print for Dad’s office and an art poster for my sister.
How do you select a piece of art for someone else? You could start by considering their design sense or thinking about things they do with their free time as a way to find some art they might like. You could take them with you to a local gallery or engage with them in a discussion about a piece of art online to get a sense of their preferences. For some other thoughts, here is a link to a post on Saatchi art about tips for buying art for someone who means a lot to you.
However you go about deciding what art to buy, your buying options are plentiful: visit a local gallery or art fair; contact an artist you know; explore new artists and reach out to them on Instagram; or visit online galleries like Artsy,Artspace or SaatchiArt.
Making it Personal and Easy
Giving Limited Edition Prints
If you have someone special on your list who you think might like new art, I am making it easy for you to give the gift of Limited Edition photographs.
If you want to give art as a gift you can buy a gift certificate for a Limited Edition print for that special person and then link them to BinhammerPhotographs.com to pick the print they want. Or they can email me and I will search my archives to find a photograph they love, and deliver that memorable gift you wanted for them.
How it works: You contact me to let me know the size of print and who the gift is for. I’ll send you an invoice and a gift certificate. All they have to do is email me the name of the print they want and it will be shipped directly to them, with the certificate of authenticity and ownership in their name.
Book Ideas, Including Roadside America
Art books can also be a wonderful gift. For some of the best coffee-table art books, you might want to check out these ideas. For some of the years best photography books, The Wall Street Journal offers thoughts. If you would prefer to give a different type of gift my Roadside America photography book is available for purchase on Blurb.
Happy Holidays to You From the Digital Darkroom
Hope your holidays are off to a grand start.
At this time of the year, I also hope you find some time away from the daily grind of life to reflect and discover the beauty in our lives.
Enjoy some special time with friends and family doing whatever it is that this special season means to you
A random little collage, behind the scenes of making prints….
“As we travel through our busy lives we are often unaware of the history of the landscape that surrounds us. We speed along interstate highways that avoid communities; we fly across the country oblivious to the land, people and their places below.
Over time, human-built structures breakdown as communities change. They are abandoned and neglected. Deterioration occurs as nature works slowly and silently to reclaim her place in the landscape. However, the evidence of those past human endeavors melds with the natural elements creating its’ own beauty – a mystical reminder that the past persists, even just as relics of time gone by.
These reminders of the past are beacons to the endeavors and lives of people; previous generations who transformed the landscape to build a life. The backroads of America retain instances of human efforts to tame the land, make a living and build communities. These reminders along today’s empty roadsides are opportunities to pause, reflect and wonder about the people who settled once empty lands. The stories and memories are gone. The only evidence is left in the landscape. There are no ghosts to tell us more.
It begs the question: when today’s human landscape crumbles, what will remain of our presence among the landscapes. What palette will we leave behind?
For the black and white infrared images, the Roadside America images change our perception of a scene. We are offered the opportunity to explore the dream-like world of the forgotten past through the unseen light revealed by infrared as it is revealed by the camera.”
Interested in other Imagery? If you see some images and wonder if there are others like it, just hit the “contact me” page. There are lots more images where these came from. It’s always good to hear from you and learn more about what your interests are.
Join the email list: Sign up for the occasional personal note about new work, previews to new galleries, an occasional thought about photography as art, or some interesting tidbits about collecting photographs and, even some special offers for collectors.
a weekend trip with my good friend and fellow photographer, Geoff Livingston, hiking to McAfee Knob and then doing a little shooting along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Here is a bit of a back story.
From film to digital, I was originally disappointed in the “digital capabilities” to achieve anything that approximated black and white infrared film. Then I found the camera conversion process and with time, patience, and practice, I now not only shoot photographs but do my own digital darkroom processing and printing, something in the film days I relied on third parties for. Over time I will talk about more details about that journey and tips and tricks today. But for now, that’s how we got here.
But more than my personal journey into photography, I love photography and am intrigued, enthralled and passionate about photography as an art form. My own mini-art collection is made up of photography from a mentor and friend, Jennifer Dickson. I read vociferously about “photographic considerations”—things like John Szarkowski’s “The Photographer’s Eye” and Stephen Shore’s “The Nature of Photographs” or in this video where Stephen Shore talks about what it really takes inside a photographer to make great pictures (just following the 28-minute point). I have read (twice anyway), “Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans” by Sarah Greenough and Robert Frank….you get the drift.
Whether you visit the galleries here and buy a print; whether you simply gander for a visual feast; whether you are a professional collector or someone new to photography as art and want to explore some of the resources I have put together…Welcome to BinhammerPhotographs.
Want in on a Little Secret?
This website and its galleries are pretty highly curated. If you want to see the semi-processed raw material before it emerges here, if it emerges here, check out my social profiles.
Friends and family know about those and I use it as a way to let people know what I am working on or what I am shooting….so if you are ever curious and want to see the quasi-raw material, check them out my Flickr and Instagram or Facebook pages, and occasionally 500px.
And if you see something here that makes you want to see more, just ask…the “archives” have lots more images and moods to choose from.