Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with infrared film. Rollei Superpan 200 this time. Which isn’t true infrared, but like SFX, is infrared effect. This time I made sure to use a red filter when shooting, to maximise the effect.
For comparison I also took a few shots using an IR filter on my DSLR. It has been like a kind of mini project really. I wanted to produce a series of landscape photographs taken in and around Dechmont Law in West Lothian.
I wanted something with a different feel, maybe something slightly ethereal, which was what attracted me to infrared in the first place. I also wanted to do it properly, and hoped to get the kind of effect and results that I had in mind when I had used SFX film (without a red filter) the first time a few months ago.
I was a little disappointed with that as the effect was very subtle, more so than I had expected. The were one or two woodland shots I had really liked though, which was why I wanted to do a series of woodland landscapes, shooting on infrared film, but using a red filter this time, in hope of getting closer to what I originally had in mind.
Looking at these images next to each other really shows the difference. The digital shot has the more eerie feel to it, whereas the Superpan is more stark, more contrasty. Also, if you notice the movement of the clouds in the background, and the grass in the foreground it shows that it must be quite a long(ish) exposure without me saying so. The reason for that of course is due to the density of the infrared filter. It’s so dark that you have to compose the shot first, then screw the filter onto the lens. Otherwise you cannot see to focus or compose. This is not the case with the film. I was using a red filter but you can see through that, and it does not necessitate a long exposure.
The difference in these two shots is particularly striking, in regard to infrared effect. With the digital filter again much more obvious. The long exposure does contribute to the overall effect, with the movement of the clouds and grass again. But the film doesn’t really show much in the way of infrared effect here at all. The images were taken a few days apart, and the weather was quite different though. When shooting the film it was overcast and still. When using the IR filter it was bright and blustery. The wind made long exposures, which were necessary as described, quite difficult. I had to wait for a lull in the wind and hope I got the shot before it picked up again.
Once again there were some images from the film I shot that I really liked, a couple of them came a little bit closer to what I had in mind, but not dramatically so. The following shots are all from those rolls.
I did also go on a trip to a wee graveyard in Bathgate which I’d always had in the back of my mind to photograph. As I was experimenting with infrared film I quite fancied going there to take a few photos and see how they turned out. The morning I went there was quite bright, and the light was really high contrast, but I liked it. Although even stopping down by a stop or two, and underexposing, some results were a bit on the bright side.
I still have one roll left…