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When Canon brought out their mirrorless cameras, the “R” series, they also brought a new lens mount the “RF” mount to go with it. Those of us existing Canon shooters initially had the concern we would now be forced to buy all new lenses. Canon delighted us by bringing out a convertor ring that allowed the use of our old “EF” lenses on our new Mirrorless “R” cameras. Then Canon took it a step further and made a convertor ring with a side mount, drop-in filter. Canon offered a small selection of drop-in filters, but nothing that really aided with Infrared photography. This is where Kolarivision saw the opportunity and took it. More about what they did with the drop-in system in a minute.
What is the drop-in filter system?
The drop-in filter system is a small ring that fits between the body of the "R" Series Canon mirrorless cameras and connects to the Canon "EF" lenses.
Using the drop-in system is very simple and once in, the filter locks in place and will not come out.
Overall, a great design.
Now, let's talk about how this relates to Infrared.
The people at Kolarivision as I said a minute ago, saw the opportunity, created a system based on this idea, and made something pretty cool for Infrared photography.
They even designed their own convertor ring with a drop-in filter and then marketed it way less than the price of the Canon OEM convertor ring.
Then they proceeded to start making different drop-in filters. At first, it was different nanometer Infrared filters. Those alone made for a great shooting experience.
Why do I say that? Here's an example.
I love an ultra-wide lens for landscapes. I have found an excellent 15mm f2.4 lens made by IRIX. It is a great lens, worth considering. It has almost no side distortion but comes in an "EF" mount. With the converter ring, it is no problem to use on one of my "R"s. The problem is the lens takes a 95mm filter in front. 95mm filters are not easy to come by, are expensive, and hard to deal with. With the Kolarivision drop-in filters, shooting with the lens is a breeze.
Here are a couple of examples, made in one of my favorite places to shoot, Las Terrenas, DR These images were made with the IRIX lens
Another example is the Tamron 150-600
Probably one of the best budget Super-telephoto lenses on the market. Once again, a 95mm filter is required. With the Drop-in filter system, not an issue.
Here are a couple of IR images I made using the lens on one of the Safaris I lead.
The reason I labeled this piece as "long overdue" is because I've been shooting with the Kolarivision drop-in filters for a few years now and they quickly became a mainstay in my camera gear and I forgot to share my experience. In a way, it's good that I did delay, as since then Kolarivision has added an amazing number of drop-in filters.
Here's a current list as of today.
Let's see, ...... 35, 36, ...37 filters right now. The last one being a holder that you can use to make your own custom filter.
They even have a Filter case/holder, which I have not had my hands on, but looks to be a cool way to transport filters.
So, if you are looking for a great, easy way to shoot Infrared with the ability to swap out filters easily, the Kolarivision system is the way to go.
Here are some links to make things easier to find.
One day not too long ago I was working on some pictures I had made of the Great Ocean Road in Australia, one of the most photographed places in the world. I started wondering where the least visited places in the world were and found Tuvalu. Further reading told me of their plight. Since I work a lot in Infrared photography I decided to look it up and found there are no IR photographs of Tuvalu. That’s when I decided I need to go there and photograph Tuvalu in Infrared. Rather than make this just a travel and photoshoot situation, I want to draw attention to Tuvalu. I want people to learn about this little-known country. To that end, I want this to be a journey that people can take with me; either physically or virtually. So, I set up a Gofundme page to start this journey https://gofund.me/8d3f55e0
What is Tuvalu?
Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country, and the most remote country on Earth. The archipelago of six coral atolls and three islands covers an area of just 26 km or 10 square miles. It is located about midway between Hawaii and Australia. It is home to about 11K people.
Tuvalu has the honor of being the least visited country in the world. It is also, unfortunately, a country that will be gone in less than 20 years.
Why is Tuvalu disappearing?
To the inhabitants of Tuvalu, Global warming is not a pseudoscience or political theory, but rather a reality. Two of the nine islands of Tuvalu have already largely disappeared. Scientists say that if the Earth's temperature raises by just 2 degrees Tuvalu will disappear completely. Many experts predict that the Island chain of Tuvalu will be gone forever within 20 years.
Who am I?
My name is Dan Wampler. I am a photographer and a traveler. I am an internationally published digital artist who works with Natural color photography and Infrared photography. I teach photography online and in workshops, and operate as a lead for African photo safaris.
What is Infrared photography?
Infrared photography is an art form of creating images using a portion of the light spectrum that we cannot see. This involves using a camera that has been modified to capture light in the Infrared spectrum.
What do I want to do?
I want to acquire the funding to travel to Tuvalu, with a small group and capture the beauty of this disappearing land and its people. I would like a group of photographers and hopefully, a videographer to accompany me on this journey. If you are someone in that category and are interested, please contact me. Since Tuvalu has not been photographed in Digital Infrared, I will get to be the first person to do so. Upon my return, I will have a book based on my journey, as well as a photographic series of the country for everyone to see. With a little luck, future generations will know what Tuvalu looked like long after it is gone. Hopefully, we can draw a little more attention towards saving areas like this. After costs are covered, a donation will be made to try and help the country and people of Tuvalu. The target for the journey is September 2025
I need your help. Use the link https://gofund.me/8d3f55e0
As a photographer and a digital artist, you always have to be mindful of protecting your intellectual property. You put your heart and soul into creating a piece and the idea of someone stealing your work and then making money off of that work can be irritating and demotivating.
What I am about to tell you about is both.
I periodically do a Google search on my work to see what comes up. I know you could say that's self-absorbed, but quite often I find things that are positive. Last year I found several situations where someone had used an image of mine for a Blog piece they did on Infrared photography and said some very flattering things about my work. Things like that don't bother me. I just assume they forgot to ask to use the image or didn't even realize they should ask to use an image.
No harm, no foul.
Last evening, I did a quick search and the title below one image caught my eye and bothered me.
It said "Infrared Porn"
That is not the way I would describe my work. The image was linked to a site, Scrolller.com
So, I clicked the link and found this.
I immediately noticed there was a button to download the image, so I clicked it, and it ask me to log in. I don't have an account, so I clicked register. Then this came up.
So I created an account and then tried to download my image, and got this.
One more click and I got this.
So, Scrolller.com is charging a fee for people to download my, and other artists' images without our knowledge or consent.
Not good. My work is being labeled "Porn" and Scrolller.com is making money off of it. All without me being aware.
I did find an about page on their site.
I decided to contact Scrolller.com to see what I could get done. I sent an email informing them that they have my images on their site without my consent.
The following is the email chain, starting with the response.
It was at this point that the communication stopped.
So, to recap, Scrolller.com is charging is making money off of artists' work, without their knowledge. And it is next to impossible to keep your work off of there as their site is "updated constantly"
As I looked thru their site and checked out the large number of images under "Infrared Porn" I learned there are also real porn images in the same folder as our Infrared work. In fact, there is a large area on their site just for real porn.
This is frustrating!
I did a little checking to see who owns Scrolller.com and found out that Twitter bought Scrolller in 2021.
I did one final thing; I posted a Tweet to @elonmusk asking him if he is aware of what Scrolller.com is doing. As of this writing, I have not received a response.
I suggest you check out Scrolller.com to see if any of your work is on their site, and maybe you should also contact Mr. Musk and ask him the same questions I did.
I love the look of long-exposure photography. You can create a different look and feel to a scene. Long-exposure Infrared images are possible, with the right preparation and gear.
Let’s go through some simple steps to getting a great long-exposure Infrared image.
For reference, I utilized a Canon R5, converted to Full Spectrum. For anyone not familiar with Full Spectrum, the camera is altered, removing the IR blocking filter or hot mirror, and a clear piece of glass is inserted in its place. Once converted, you place a filter on the lens to select what type of photography you want to capture. In this instance, I used a Kase 720nm filter. You can accomplish the same effect with an unconverted camera by placing the Kase 720nm filter on your natural color camera.
#1. Get a good tripod.
Over the past few years, the quality of tripods has improved and the prices are reasonable. Carbon fiber tripods are usually best as they are very light and easy to carry.
#2 Get good quality, Infrared neutral density filters
If you’ve shot long exposure images before, you know that not all ND filters are the same. Many will add a color cast to the images that you then have to deal with in post-production. When it comes to Infrared photography, some ND filters have little to no effect or only offer half the number of stops they are marked for when used for natural color photography. I tested the Kase clip-in filters and I can tell you that they truly offer both 4-stop (ND16) and 10-stop (ND64) reduction for both Infrared and natural color images. That’s great because you only need to carry one set of ND filters for all your photography.
The Kase clip-in filters are very easy to use. You remove your lens and place the clip-in filter above your sensor. It literally clips in. Once in place, you put your lens back on and shoot like normal. The filter comes with a triangular piece that looks very similar to a guitar pick that works perfectly to remove the clip-in filters.
The question that often comes up is, “Do I need a 4-stop or 10-stop, or both?” I carry both as it allows me to adapt to every shooting scenario. Depending on shooting conditions and the amount of available light, On seriously sunny shoots, I will use a 4-stop ND filter and still be able to shoot hand-held to maximize my contrast in the images.
#3 Pick your scene to fit a long exposure.
The idea with long exposures is to capitalize on the effect of keeping your shutter open longer. There are things that will help make these images look better, and a few things to consider not doing as well. If you are shooting a scene with water, especially running water, a long exposure will blur the water.
This is a 30-second exposure with a 4-stop ND, at ISO 100, f22, shot right after sunset. I then increased the color saturation to give the image more of a reddish, sepia tone.
This is a 2-minute exposure with a 10-stop ND at ISO50, f22
Even a pond will take on a different look as the surface will get smooth and mirror-like.
Now, see what happened to the clouds in this image? Often times I will try long exposures on cloudy days as it adds a little to the images when the clouds show movement.
However, if it’s windy, that can blur your trees, which may or may not be the look you are going for. You will want to experiment with different conditions to see what type of Long exposure Infrared you like. Don’t be afraid to try everything; if the image doesn’t work out, just don’t share it.
#4 Set your camera properly
Make it easier on yourself by setting your camera right. Start with the lowest ISO setting you have available. Many new mirrorless cameras have a “Low” ISO setting which is the equivalent of ISO 50. By setting your ISO you now need more light. Next, take your f-stop to a higher number. The higher-numbered f-stop requires more light.
#5 Use a remote or delayed shutter
When you are capturing a long exposure, the last thing you want is anything that negatively affects the image. No matter how careful you are, pressing the shutter button can jar the camera slightly, affecting the image. Most cameras allow for some sort of remote shutter activation by a wireless remote or a cellphone app. If you don’t want to do this, instead consider setting your camera for a delay. Then when you press the shutter button you can move your hand away before the shutter actually opens.
#6 Budget more time for long exposures
One thing that always amuses me is how long it takes to capture such a small number of long exposures. I have had a one-hour shoot time generate only 6 or 7 images. Give yourself enough time to try different things and to shoot different exposure times. If possible, try a location at different times of the day for a different look.
#7 (Most Important) Enjoy the process!
I watch some people shoot and they get so serious I wonder if they are actually enjoying themselves? This is your art form, and for many, your hobby…. it should be fun. Enjoy the process! Try different things, different exposure times, camera heights, and camera angles. Don’t stress over the results, focus your energy on enjoying the image-capture experience. If the images don’t turn out the way you want, ……… don’t show them to anyone and go back and try again.
Below are a few more examples of Infrared long exposures.
I have a portfolio of IR long exposures you can see here.
When you look at Infrared photography, 720nm Infrared is a standard in the art form because it will work with both unconverted natural color cameras, as well as full-spectrum converted. When shooting 720nm IR with an unconverted, natural color camera you will need to shoot with a tripod, as longer exposures will be required. The length of exposure will depend on the camera you are using. An unconverted camera has an IR-blocking filter in it, and depending on how strong it is will affect the length of exposure needed. For this piece, I am reviewing the Kase magnetic filter. Full disclosure, Kase did approach me for this review and supplied the product. For this review, I used a full-spectrum Canon R5, with the Canon RF 16mm, Canon RF 100-500L, Canon EF 24-105L with EF-RF converter ring, and the Lensbaby Velvet 28.
They say in writing to never bury the lead so I will start by telling you the Kase Wolverine 720nm filter performed flawlessly. This filter is a magnetic filter utilizing a lens adaptor ring for the lens that allows you to simply touch the filter to the lens and then the filter is attached.
As someone who likes to utilize different lenses, I do hope Kase is going to sell the lens adaptor rings separately to make using their filter easier on multiple lenses. As I said, the filter worked great there were no issues with it or the magnetic connection. I tried to deliberately shake the filter loose and it didn’t come off once.
I did my testing with a full-spectrum converted camera. For those of you not familiar with a full spectrum conversion, the IR blocking filter, which is referred to as the IR cut filter is removed from the sensor and replaced by a clear piece of glass. My conversion was done by Life Pixel. Once converted, a full-spectrum camera is now able to capture the entire spectrum, including visible light, ultraviolet, and Infrared. To select what you want to capture, you just place a filter on the lens. By using the Kase 720nm filter I am then able to capture Infrared images. Now let's take a look at what you can make with a 720nm filter.
There is often a misconception about 720nm IR that it is Black and White; that is not true. Properly captured and white balanced, a 720nm IR image will have 4 color tones, Red, Yellow, Blue, and Cyan. The color tones will often be subdued or lower saturated, but they are there. These colors can be used to create some interesting false-color IR images. You can even pump up the color by following these steps.
Here's an example of a 720nm IR image.
This is a 720nm IR image, that was White Balanced using the RAW editor made for my camera, Digital Photo Professional.
You'll see the four colors I mentioned, are very subdued. What most digital artists like to do is a Red/Blue color channel swap. If you are not familiar with this technique I have a Youtube video you can watch to walk you thru it. You can watch it here.
Here it is with the channel swap.
Once channel swapped, you have red and yellow in the foliage, Blue and Cyan in the sky at very low saturation.
From here it is easy to make a dynamic B&W image like this.
If you'd like to learn an easy 3-step process for making B&W infrared images, you can read that here.
One of the things I like about 720nm IR is you can shoot it at any time of day. Yes, it's easier when you have bright light, but if you properly expose the image you shoot all day long. Depending on the time of day, you can get a slight glow on your foliage as I did with this image of lily pads in this fountain.
This was accomplished by slightly over-exposing the image.
Another nice part of being able to shoot all day is the ability to use shadows in your images.
When I shoot, I always shoot bracketed exposures to ensure I get the image I want, and in some cases, I will combine multiple exposures using layers and layer masks.
Shortly after receiving the Kase 720nm IR filter, I took a trip to Dauphin Island Alabama to scout out locations for a workshop I will be conducting in 2023. Dauphin Island offered quite a few great locations for Infrared.
If you are someone who likes to make long-exposure images, IR will work well for that too.
Whenever I shoot long-exposure IR I start with a clip-in neutral-density filter and then place the 720nm filter on my lens.
The rest is just like shooting any long-exposure image. This image was made at f11, ISO100. for 10 seconds. In post, I punched up the naturally occurring red tones and didn't feel the image needed to be channel swapped.
This next image was shot at f8, ISO50, for 10 seconds.
While walking through the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, I made this 720nm IR image and then finished it up with Glamour Glow in the NIK Collection.
In the evening, I made this image and converted it to B&W
This image of a squadron of Pelicans ended up making a nice B&W
And this may be my favorite image from the shoot, an interior room in Fort Gaines, a Civil War-era military fort, made first thing in the morning.
For this one, I made use of the yellow tones coming thru the window.
So, as I said at the beginning, the Kase 720nm IR filter performed flawlessly. The filter is well-made.
This is worth mentioning, during the day while I was shooting on the dock I accidentally drop the filter. It bounced on the deck and then fell into the ocean. I recovered it and it looked like nothing had happened to it. Not the way I intended to test the filter, but it did pass with flying colors.
So, if you are considering Infrared at 720nm, I think you'll like this filter.