I’m the first to admit that this picture is nothing spectacular but it’s significant as the first frame I’ve processed taken with my new toy – an IR-converted Nikon D5000 which arrived from Washington state this afternoon after a trip to LifePixel for a filter transplant.
I can see this is going to be a fun camera and, having watched the various tutorials on the site and talked to Pete Talke, I’ve also figured out a workflow that will allow me to create both colour and monochrome IR images that look the way I want them to look.
In the past I had shot some IR using a borrowed point-and-shoot but I had never managed to get completely rid of the nasty red/orange cast when generating colour images. The trick, it seems, is that you can’t use Lightroom or Photoshop (or, to be more precise, Adobe Camera Raw) since they don’t allow enough adjustment in the white balance to get the image to a good starting point for the channel swapping that you need to do to create the final effect. Using Nikon Capture NX 2, however, I can do the extreme white balance tweaking that’s needed then save the image as a TIFF and pull it back into LR or PS for the rest of the work.
This particular image followed this workflow and I’m very happy with the result. Aside from the white balance trick, I swapped the red and blue channels and used a single curve to darken the sky. I’m left with a great, dark sky and a lovely warm tree. Next time, though, I’ll look for a tree with a few leaves since, registering as gold, they would add some wonderful extra IR weirdness!
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