A couple of challenging scenarios

After a couple days of shooting exclusively infrared photography in Charleston, I encountered a couple of problems and, luckily a couple of solutions. Shooting in very busy locations can be frustrating because of the unevenness of the subject material and the clutter, which may be a bit overwhelming. This first shot was made at the Confederate Cemetery and, although a very cool location, presented challenges in isolating and simplifying a subject area. This is fairly easy to do with the above ground tombs, which are just small structures, somewhat isolated. But, what about looking around for smaller scenes and graphic lines? I really liked the perspective lines created by the two walls, and after processing had Sue take a look. Her silence was deafening, but her eventual comment was that the scene was just too busy. I knew that, but, I liked the basic raw material, so what to do?? Half of it was really good and the other half wasn’t. So, reaching back into my bag of tricks, and remembering John Paul Caponigro’s signature mirroring techniques, I cropped the image in half and mirrored the good half of the image. Here’s the before and after images:


 Then this morning in Magnolia Gardens, I got a lesson in “seeing.” When shooting color photography, all of my attention is on the flowers, reflections, and graphic trees in the cypress swamps. But, when shooting Infrared, I started looking at skies for wispy clouds and strong sidelight. So, when noticing a particularly great thinly clouded sky, where I would generally be photographing into the swamp, I noticed a great single tree. It’s always been there. I was never looking in that direction. I was pretty surprised as to what a great subject it was, and surprised that I haven’t noticed it for the many years we’ve been shooting and conducting workshops there! Oh well, with the change in my subject preferences using infrared, I made an image of the tree, but it was a bit close to an adjacent tree. I was able to create a tight composition, with the intent in mind to clone out the tree encroaching from the right side of the frame. I’ll do a better job of fixing that area when I get a bit more time, but wanted to show this comparison to illustrate my point. Oh, yeah, the other issue was that the clouds and tree were the same tonality and the merging was a deal breaker. Keying off of a toned preset in Magic Bullet Photo Looks (discount code Sweet15), I was able to add a tint to the sky, separating the tree from the background. Here’s the image pair:


Time to get set up for our Digital Edge software workshop here in Charleston. I’ll be passing around our pool infrared camera to our workshop clients, looking forward to working with them in Infrared-land!

Thanks for visiting. Please drop in a comment

and I’ll see ya online!!



15 Responses to A couple of challenging scenarios

  • Thanks much, EL!!

  • Very informative blog Tony. Loved the mirroring in the cemetery image.

  • Thanks for taking time to comment, James! Looking fwd to St. Mikes!!

  • Hi Tony.
    It was very helpful to get a sense of your thought process here (as well as seeing the great images). I struggle with the clutter problem and I’m thinking I need to get more creative in dealing with it. i was also very interested to see that you had the D300 converted to the super color filter. I have another camera about ready to be sacrificed on the IR alter and was leaning in that direction. Here we go….
    Looking forward to the St. Michaels workshop next month. See you then.

  • Hi Debbie! Glad you finally got “the shot.” We head home today after a very cool two weeks in Charleston, which was fantastic! Iceland in August!!
    Hope to see you around and thanks for visiting!

  • Hey Sue & Tony – I thought of you last week while I was shooting Sparks Lane on a beautiful foggy morning with the dogwoods in bloom. I got ‘the’ shot with the golden light. I’ve got to get to Charleston with you guys sometime. I just love the images you posted – they’re, as always, amazing!

    You both continue to inspire me. I hope to see you sometime in the future. Hopefully I’ll do Iceland someday too! Those shots are great as well…

    Debbie Spencer in Raleigh

  • Great information, Tony. I too haven’t tried infrared much yet. Been meaning too, though, but i keep forgetting about it until after i sell my used cameras!! Next round of purchases though, i will do it.

    Really like the look of the Magic Bullet effect, too.

  • Thx for taking time to comment, Rick! You know, you like something or you don’t and either way is fine. This just hit me like a ton of bricks when first seeing an IR image many years ago. On the other hand it took me quite a while to warm up to HDR. Whatever floats your boat at the time, Rick.

  • I’ve not gotten the bug to try IR. Need to place it on my “try it” list and see what emerges. Thanks for the images.

  • You IR work has always been killer, Sam! Thanks for checking in and looking forward to seeing you in the near future! Keep up your great work!

  • Much appreciated, Scott! Thanks, man!!

  • You got me hooked on IR a few years ago and I’m still addicted…my converted D200 gets lots of use.
    Great post, I’ve also found mirroring IR images very useful sometimes.
    Say Hi to Sue, IR in Charleston with Tony and Sue sounds like a dream.
    Not a lot of time for photography at the present …maybe in the near future.

  • This is a great example of all the stupendous stuff you put into your videos and books. Thanks for the “freebie,” Tony!

  • Thx much, John. Just a couple of things that came up.

  • Great post Tony. Lots of good information.

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