Go into the red
James Paterson goes beyond the visible colour spectrum to capture striking infrared images
Use an infrared filter to capture landscapes as you’ve never seen them before
Infrared photography shows us the world illuminated by infrared light, a part of the colour spectrum we can’t normally see, and produces beautiful, ethereal images that couldn’t be captured in any other way. Foliage and skies look especially good in infrared – blue skies will turn very dark, while green trees in direct sunlight will glow white.
Infrared light is invisible to the human eye. In order to capture it, we need to block all but the infrared light from hitting our camera’s sensor, and there are two methods for doing this. The first is to mount a special filter on your lens. These are very dark, and typically reduce the amount of light by up to 10 stops, so you’ll need to get set up to capture long exposures.
The second option requires making irreversible changes to a D-SLR’s sensor, so it might be worth considering if you’ve got an old body lying around. Normal D-SLRs have a filter that removes infrared light, but this can be removed by specialists like ACS (www.advancedcameraservices.co.uk), who supplied the converted D3s we used here. The conversion makes the camera just as sensitive to infrared light as it previously was to visible light, meaning you can use it as you would a normal D-SLR. It also produces cleaner images than you can get with a lens-mounted filter.