Michael Pilkington • A New Approach to Infrared Landscapes

Infrared photography can bring a whole new dimension to your landscape photography, but where should you start? Michael Pilkington has a few pointers to offer

I was first introduced to digital infrared photography some five or six years ago by Paul Gallagher. I have always loved black and white photography, but infrared brings a new dimension to it. I often refer to it as ‘black and white plus’. You get the abstract nature and appeal of black and white photography plus the added dimension of infrared.

Most people associate infrared images with foliage that is rendered as bright white, with little shadow detail. This effect is created, in the main, by the chlorophyll in foliage reflecting infrared light. The brighter the light, say, on a sunny day, the more intense the effect and, therefore, the more intense the whites and highlights in the image. Different foliage will reflect infrared light at different rates. For example, palm trees and seaweed reflect huge amounts of IR light resulting in quite lurid images. Personally, this sort of infrared photography does not appeal to me. I would also suggest that the effect or look of IR is often used to compensate for good composition and post processing. Photographers exploring IR see its extreme effects as the sole reason for making photographs.

I have a preference for subtler images and this can be achieved by shooting IR in low light and overcast conditions. Subtle light is ...

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