Near Infrared photography

Posted on 13 December 2007


This image is located at and was uploaded by Dick Lyon, a great contributor to Wikipedia. See a higher resolution version of the image here.

(Correction: this image was captured by: Seng P. Merrill and is distributed via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. So…sorry about that, Seng.)

Random, but luscious

I’ve found some truly stunning “infrared” images created by using infrared-sensitive film and deep red filters or digital camera CCDs with the infrared filters removed. This is not the same as thermal imaging (which is also cool, but everything glows with heat when you get that far out into red, so the images are less distinct and thus effectively mappable to visible wavelengths). Rather than “see-in-the-dark” thermal imaging, this is sort of like taking a regular photo, but throwing away the shorter visible wavelength information; note that there may be a lot of input from non-visible wavelengths, too, depending on the film composition or sensor technology.

from maxmax

(plot from maxmax)

What’s interesting is that foliage is highly reflective in this range; the resulting luminance lends an ethereal feeling to these photos. Some people might call this a gimmick, but I think they’re fantastic–just totally hypnotizing. The reflectivity of flesh is altered as well, and it appears softer and deeper. I suppose the longer wavelengths penetrate farther, on average, before being reflected, but I don’t know all of the details. Anyone who is an expert in this topic is encouraged to tell me all about it.

Below are some fine examples of this form of photography. Remember, these are all “summertime” photos–the white foliage normally appears green to humans! Click them to see the original size:

(Images above from

See many more (as fine as the images above!) in this gallery from Jeffrey Klassen (…and you can buy prints from him at his site),

… see the beautiful image above, from,

…and, finally, see this stunner from VisualPerceptions (Jeff Austin, who appears to be a fabulous photographer) .

Want to try your hand at IR photography? A tutorial from Eric Cheng. More detail on this topic from Clive.


Random Acts of Consumerism

I want this, with its Foveon X3 sensor: … and some nice lenses and deep red filters.

This would also do nicely, if it’s not too heavy. I’m not interested in taking tripod wedding photos. Come on, people! Christmas is getting closer!

Posted in: Art