Infrared Photography


Lets first define infrared photography and how it differs from normal colour photography.

The infrared light spectrum fits in just below visible light. That means that infrared is INVISIBLE. The human eye is generally insensitive to wavelengths longer than 700nm, although some people are able to see up to 740nm.

The "IR" band has longer wavelengths than the visible light spectrum (Image courtesy of

Infrared reflectivity off different surfaces
(Image courtesy of J. Andrzej Wrotniak 2006)

Digital cameras are actually sensitive to IR light, but most cameras have an internal IR filter to stop the IR mucking up your photos. This filter can be removed, but it also kind of screws up your camera if you aren't careful (like me). So I left the filter in there. It doesnt matter though, because the internal filter only filters out some of the IR light.

What's needed, then, is a visible light filter, which gets rid of all the visible light, letting only the IR light into the camera. Visible light filters such as the 'Hoya R72' are easily available on the market.

So what does the world look like through infrared?

Well firstly IR light reflects differently to visible light, and as a consequence, trees appear white and the sky appears black. Keep in mind that IR photos contain no real colour information.

Sit back and enjoy a brief trip into an infrared world!

I took this photo on a sunny day. Notice how the sky is dark red, while the trees appear white.

Corner of a house viewed through visible light

The same shot viewed through infrared light

The park through visible light

The same park through infrared light

Pair of sunglasses viewed through visible light. The lenses block out most of the visible light, leaving a dark patch which we can't see through

The same pair of glasses viewed through IR light. The IR light passes through unhindered, and the trees in the background can be seen

It doesn't snow in Darwin, but this is the closest you'll get to seeing 'snow' here. I love this one, the contrast is pretty good, and the trees look so completely crazy!
I call this one 'the long road'... The exposure is a bit saturated, and isn't entirely clear because of a slight wind on the day, causing leaves to move and effectively blurring the 1 second exposure.
Here is one with a touch of false colour. Nuclear apocalypse anyone?
The cliffs by the sea. I've found that I need to take IR photos when the sun is right above, otherwise the exposure times get too long. When I get a new camera, I'll remove the IR filter in this one to dedicate it to IR photography.





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