Dan Wampler digital art: Blog https://www.danwampler.com/blog en-us Dan Wampler [email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) Thu, 30 Nov 2023 17:31:00 GMT Thu, 30 Nov 2023 17:31:00 GMT https://www.danwampler.com/img/s/v-12/u224924568-o674104033-50.jpg Dan Wampler digital art: Blog https://www.danwampler.com/blog 120 120 This Filter has forever changed the way I will shoot. https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/11/Iridium-filter I have found something that will forever change the way I shoot.  Now I realize that’s a bold statement, but it is true. 

What I am talking about is the Iridium filter by Kolari Vision.

The proof is in the pictures

What do all these images have in common?


The answer? 

They are all straight out of the camera, a camera with an Iridium filter in it. 

For the record, I didn't adjust the levels & curves, I didn't increase the saturation, or make adjustments in Selective Color.

And finally, I didn't do a red/blue color channel swap on the second image. 

I admit it felt quite strange to not work on these images in Photoshop, but they didn't need anything.

Look at the intense greens, reds, & yellows in the color image of the turtles. 

How about the incredibly blue sky in the second Infrared image?

And finally, check out the deep blues, yellows, and reds in the pelican image.  


So what is an Iridium filter, and what does it do?

Simply put, the Iridium filter is a color-enhancing filter.

As Kolari puts it:


"This new Kolari filter works by blocking the in-between, ambiguous colors, allowing true reds, greens, and blues to shine through.  By doing this, the Iridium filter can be used for both scientific images and artistic applications"


So, how do you use an Iridium filter?


They are currently available as a drop-in or clip-in filter.

Used on an unconverted camera, it gives me images straight out of the camera that remind me of the old Kodak Kodachrome, or the old Panavision movies. 

This image was made after sunset when you usually cannot capture the subtle colors you see with your eyes.

Here's another one, an after-sunset image

I have shot in the very same spot many times, but have never been able to so easily capture what my eyes and mind see.

For Monochrome photography, the Iridium filter is also great.  If you are going for a Chiaroscuro effect, this is the filter you want.


For me, the Iridium Filter by Kolari has been like magic. 

The images have a sharp, crisp feel to them, and the color tones and intensity are exciting.

Now on a Full spectrum camera, it also does some interesting things.  For those of you not familiar with a full-spectrum conversion, it is a camera that has had its IR-blocking filter or hot mirror removed and a clear piece of glass put in its place.  This allows you to capture (with no filter) the visible light spectrum, the IR spectrum, and the UV spectrums of light.  With a full spectrum camera, you decide what you want to shoot by what filter you place in front of the sensor but a clip-in filter, drop-in filter, or screw filer.

In the case of the Iridium filter, a full-spectrum camera will produce images that are very similar to a 720nm image, in that the image comes out with white, or near white foliage, and blue in the sky.  All with no post-production.

In some circumstances, you will get a touch of pale red in some of the foliage.

Next, I took the Iridium filter for a spin with one of my favorite shooting exercises, photographing butterflies. It may sound silly, but photographing butterflies is a great way to hone your skills as a photographer.  To be effective, you must be able to shoot quickly.  Blink and you could miss the entire shooting opportunity. So I shot with a Canon R5 and the RF 100-400 f5.6/8 IS USM lens.

Once again, these are straight out of the camera. Look at the amazing color tones! And with no post-production.  

I want to leave this filter clipped permanently in my camera. 

But can I ???

My initial testing was exciting, but I had to determine whether or not it had any effect on an image when shooting other types of Infrared. 

In all, I tested 590nm, 665nm, 720nm, 850nm, and the IR Chrome lite filters.


The outcome? 


There is minimal change when shooting a full-spectrum camera with the Iridium filter. If you weren't looking at them side by side, you probably wouldn't even notice.

Here's an example with the IR Chrome filter.


Here's the 720nm filter

And finally the ever-popular 590nm filter

So, I'm sold on the Iridium filter and intend to leave it in my camera full-time.

If you want one, head over to Kolari Vision and get one before they run out. 

My suggestion to Kolari, if possible, develop a full-spectrum conversion with the Iridium filter built. 

Then call me, I want one.


Here's a list of everything I used and spoke about.

Canon R5

RF 100-400mm lens 

IR Chrome Filter

Full-Spectrum conversion

Kolari Vision 









[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/11/Iridium-filter Thu, 30 Nov 2023 17:30:47 GMT
The Most Versatile, easy to use, Infrared Filter https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/11/IRChrome I love digital Infrared photography.  I've shooting it for nearly 20 years and teaching it for over 10 years.  The look is interesting, and the idea that you are creating images using a portion of the light spectrum we can't see is very exciting.  One constant in the world of digital IR has been the fact that post-production on Infrared takes more than a little bit longer than natural color photography does.   If you are shooting Infrared in the range of 590nm to 720nm there is the famous Red/Blue color channel swap that is necessary to give your images a blue sky. 

Many of my students want to know how to shoot IR without having to spend too much time on post-production.  I then try to show them the quickest techniques and help them accept the reality of Digital Infrared post-production.

It takes time.

Well, that has changed. Thanks to the  Kolari Vision IR Chrome Lite filter.  


Now if you're not familiar with the IR Chrome filter, it is the digital answer to the now-defunct Aerchrome Film.  Aerchrome film was an Infrared film made by Kodak from 1942 to 2009.  To say it was challenging to use is being very polite, but it produced images with a bright Blue or Cyan sky and the foliage was in the color tones of Red, Pink, or Orange.

Kolari brought out the IR Chrome filter a few years ago, and the IR Chrome Lite is the latest iteration of this filter.

Now it is important to note that the Kolari IR Chrome Lite filter can only be used on a Full-Spectrum Camera.  For those of you not familiar with a Full-Spectrum conversion, this is a process where the Hot Mirror, or IR-blocking filter is removed allowing the camera to capture images in the light spectrum range of Natural Color, Infrared, and Ultra Violet.  The way you determine what you are going to capture is by what filter you place on your lens, clip-in front of the sensor, or drop-in behind the lens. It's a great way to shoot as you need only one camera body to shoot everything.  If you'd like more information about a Full-Spectrum conversion, I suggest checking out Kolar Vision here  They are the number one in the industry.

Now as for the images made with an IR Chrome lite filter, they will need to be properly white-balanced.  In my opinion, the best White Balance can be achieved by using the RAW editor made for your camera.  Each camera manufacturer has a free RAW editor that will allow you to properly White Balance your images.  If you are not familiar with the RAW editor for your camera, you can contact me and I will point you in the right direction. 

So, here is an example of an IR Chrome RAW image.  An in-camera White Balance was set, but as I know the in-camera WB doesn't actually alter the RAW file, but rather the way I preview it,  I don't give it any concern.  This however can be a shock to some people as this is how my IR Chrome Lite image initially looks.

Not to worry though. I use my RAW editor, in this case, the Digital Photo Professional software to White Balance, and convert my RAW files to a Jpg or Tiff.   

Once the White Balance is set, the image immediately pops.  You will also notice I cropped the image slightly.


Just like that, I have a stunning Infrared image!

And without the need for a channel swap. 

This is where the versatility comes in. 

Let's say I like this image, but I want the look of a 590nm IR image.  

Well, that's simple. I'm going to open my image in Photoshop and then select Image>Adjustmenst>Hue/Saturation

Then you see this dialog box.

All you need to do is select REDS and then move the Hue slider to the right.  That will give you this.

If you want to adjust the sky from Cyan to Blue, Select CYANS, and then adjust the Hue slider to the right once again, to get this.

Want the look of a 720nm IR image?  Simply lower the saturation on the REDS and then adjust the lightness to make it look like this. 


Very Easy. 

Now how about an intense Monochrome Black and white?  Simply follow the 3 easy steps I outlined in this piece here and you can get this.

Four different looks form one image, and all are done in less than 5 minutes total.

So you can see why I say the IR Chrome Lite filter is so versatile.  


Let's not lose sight of how interesting the IR Chrome Lite filter looks without the changes.

The way the color tones come through with the IR Chrome Lite filter can make for some very surreal images.

Here is a long-exposure image image made using a 10-stop ND filter with the IR Chrome Lite.   

Canon R5, IRIX 15mm f2.4, 10-stop ND, f13, ISO 50, 10 seconds


Here's an of a tree by the ocean, out for a walk.

Canon R5, IRIX 15mm f2.4, f11, ISO 100, 1/320 sec


And one of my favorites.

Canon R5, IRIX 15mm f2.4, f11, ISO 100, 15 seconds

You'll notice in this long exposure image that the subject retains a natural-looking skin tone, as opposed to the ghostly white look you normally get from an IR image.


This one really has an other-worldly feel to it.

Canon R5, IRIX 15mm f2.4, f18, ISO 100, 30 seconds


In conclusion

Shooting with the  IR Chrome Lite filter from Kolari has been like discovering a totally new type of Infrared photography.  The ease of use and the versatility of the images make for great shoots.  It is now my first go-to filter.

So, what do you think?

Here's a list of everything I used and spoke about.

Canon R5

IRIX 15mm f2.4 

IR Chrome Filter

Neutral Density Filter

Full-Spectrum conversion

Kolari Vision 






[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/11/IRChrome Thu, 02 Nov 2023 20:17:37 GMT
Kolarivision Drop-in Filter system for Infrared photography - A Long overdue review https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/9/kolarivision-drop-in-filter-system-for-infrared-photography---a-long-overdue-review 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.

Filter Options:

  • 2-10 Stop VND**
  • 6-15 Stop Dark VND**
  • Swirl Bokeh 1X
  • Swirl Bokeh 2X
  • CPL
  • 1-Stop IRND
  • 2-stop IRND
  • 3-Stop IRND
  • 4-stop IRND
  • 5-stop IRND
  • 6-Stop IRND
  • 7-Stop IRND
  • 8-Stop IRND
  • 10-stop IRND
  • 15-stop IRND
  • 20-stop IRND
  • 550nm Infrared
  • 590nm Infrared
  • 665nm Infrared
  • 720nm Infrared
  • 850nm Infrared
  • IR Chrome
  • UV Bandpass
  • UV/IR Cut Hot-Mirror
  • UV/IR Cut Filter (H-Alpha Pass)
  • Clear
  • Blue IR/NDVI
  • Iridium – Color Enhancing
  • IR Chrome
  • IR Chrome Lite
  • Rotating Flare
  • Rotating Streak
  • Dual Streak
  • Streak + Rotating Flare
  • Flare + Rotating Streak
  • Dual Flare
  • Drop-In Frame Only (No Glass)

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.


The drop-in filter adapter 

The drop-in Filters


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/9/kolarivision-drop-in-filter-system-for-infrared-photography---a-long-overdue-review Thu, 28 Sep 2023 16:03:29 GMT
A journey to photograph the least visited Country in the World - Tuvalu https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/8/a-journey-to-photograph-the-least-visited-country-in-the-world---tuvalu 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

Thank you.


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/8/a-journey-to-photograph-the-least-visited-country-in-the-world---tuvalu Fri, 18 Aug 2023 19:05:45 GMT
Major Copyright Infringement site Scroller.com https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/3/major-copyright-infringement-site-scroller-com 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.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2023/3/major-copyright-infringement-site-scroller-com Mon, 06 Mar 2023 17:29:07 GMT
Long Exposure Infrared Photography with Kase Clip in filters https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/12/long-exposure-infrared-photography-with-kase-clip-in-filters 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. 

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#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



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/12/long-exposure-infrared-photography-with-kase-clip-in-filters Wed, 28 Dec 2022 01:29:53 GMT
Kase Wolverine Series Magnetic 720nm Infrared Filter https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/10/kase-wolverine-series-magnetic-720nm-infrared-filter 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.







[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/10/kase-wolverine-series-magnetic-720nm-infrared-filter Wed, 26 Oct 2022 16:47:11 GMT
Easy Steps to Create a Dramatic IR Image https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/9/easy-steps-to-create-a-dramatic-ir-image I love dramatic-looking Infrared images, and I have found that quite often I can take an otherwise unimpressive image and make it pop by simply working with Selective Color and Hue/Saturation in Photoshop.  

Here’s an example below

This is a Standard Infrared image at 720 nm.  I shot this in St. Louis during my workshop last month. 

The image is nice, but that’s the best I can say about it. 

There wasn’t anything in the sky going on to help this image.  

We can do more with this image with a little post-production.

Here’s what I ended up with after working with the image for just a few minutes.

So, would you like to know how I did it?  

Rather than walk you thru the steps written out, I have a video that explains it better

So, how was that?  Not too tough didn’t take too long and gave good results. 


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/9/easy-steps-to-create-a-dramatic-ir-image Wed, 14 Sep 2022 15:56:54 GMT
Moving Through Fear https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/8/moving-through-fear

As an artist, what are you afraid of?

One thing I have learned over the years is that most artists are their own worst critics.  Many times artists are slowed, or even stopped by their own insecurities.  Often though, by moving from a place of comfort to the unknown they find they can do amazing things.

Craig Strong, the inventor, and genius behind the Lens baby lenses decided to explore this aspect of artistic life thru a new podcast series, called Moving Through Fear.

As Craig put it:

“The Moving Through Fear Podcast presented by Lensbaby is a space for photographers and creatives to come together to talk about their journey of stepping out of their comfort zone and into their extraordinary greatness. Hosted by Lensbaby Co-Founder Craig Strong, the Moving Through Fear Podcast is for those looking to be connected through the journey of struggle, success, and discovering self. “

If you’ve read much of our Blogs, you know I am a big fan of Lensbaby lenses.  The Velvet series lenses will always have a spot in my camera bag.  One of the best things about Lensbaby is their philosophy as a company as they not only want to make quality art lenses, but they also want to encourage and inspire people.  Everything they do is about stepping out of the box and expressing your unique artistic views.  

This podcast was a natural next step.  Craig Strong got together with artists and said, “Hey, let’s talk” and these podcasts are that conversation.  These podcasts are relaxed and have the feeling of two people chatting over coffee.  I encourage you to give them a listen.  I love the insight into how other artists see things.  I was also thrilled to be a part of this podcast in episode 11.  I felt very nervous at the start, but Craig is a great personality and puts you at ease. 

You can hear the podcast series here 

If you like the series, be sure to leave a review on iTunes.


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/8/moving-through-fear Wed, 17 Aug 2022 16:04:00 GMT
Shooting IR in the DR https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/8/shooting-ir-in-the-dr In the Caribbean Sea just south of Cuba is the island of Hispaniola. The island contains the nation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While I can’t suggest visiting Haiti, the Dominican Republic is a tropical paradise.

For a photographer, it’s a dream come true. For an infrared photographer even more so.

 Super Color Infrared at 590nm, Canon R5, RF 16mm lens

I’ve made several trips to “The D.R.” and in case you’d like to consider a visit and photo shoot, I’d like to pass on a few suggestions.  

#1. Do some research and plan your trip to meet your expectations.

The DR is larger than you probably think. At roughly 18,704 square miles, it’s the equivalent of the US states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. To drive around the island would take you about 35 hours, non-stop. Most tourists tend to go to Santo Domingo, or Punta Cana. These are both resort areas, which is great if you want breakfast buffets and unlimited drink options, but not so great if you want great shots of empty beaches. It is for that reason that I fly in, get a car and get far away from the resorts. In my case, I developed an affinity for Las Terrenas. Located 225 km from Santo Domingo, it is an easy drive to get there. Once there, you will find everything from small, out-of-way places to several large resort hotels. 

#2 Don’t overthink your shooting, don’t overpack when out for the day.

There are a few obvious things; it’s a tropical climate, have plenty of bottled water, wear a good sunscreen. 

When I did my first day-shoot in the DR I wore myself out because I had so much to carry.  I had a large backpack full of lenses and a full-size tripod.

That was a mistake.

Since the majority of what you’ll be shooting is landscape-type images, I use an ultra-wide lens the most.  In my case, as a Canon shooter, I went with a full-spectrum converted Canon R5 with the Canon RF 16mm f2.8 lens or the IRIX EF 15mm f 2.4 lens with the EF-RF converter ring. Both of these lenses work well for Infrared, posing no problems with hotspots.  The IRIX lens is a personal favorite of mine, but the RF16mm is very small and easy to travel with. About 95% of what I shot was done with an ultra-wide lens, the rest was with a 24-105mm.  Because I am shooting Infrared, I prefer the EF 24-105mm f4 L as it has no hotspots.  The RF 24-105mm f4 L can be prone to hotspot issues.  If you want to be certain you don’t miss any shot, consider a lightweight telephoto.  In my case that was the Canon RF 100-400 f/5.6-8 is usm lens.  This lens is very light, moderately priced, and has no hotspot issues. 

Now I’ve gone from a big bulky backpack to the ThinkTank Photo Retrospective 15 backpack that is small and manageable and doesn’t look like a camera bag.


Because I trimmed down my gear to just what I really needed, I had space for other things like a poncho.  

Which is a good idea. Like most tropical locales it’s not unusual for there to be s sudden, quick burst of rain.  

I also brought extra batteries and memory cards.  Nothing is worse than being in the perfect spot and then running out of battery or storage.  This brings us to the next point.

#3 Don’t underthink it . . . . .  Shoot everything!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying the best time to shoot a vertical shot is right after a horizontal one.

Do it.  You won’t regret it.  There is no such thing as overshooting with digital photography.  End up with images you don’t need?  There’s a delete key for that.

Here we have a Standard IR image at 720nm and a Hyper Color image at 470nm

#4 If possible, try different types of Infrared

Along the same line as the previous one, try the same scene in Color and Infrared.  Or, if you have the capability, try different wavelengths of IR. You will see a difference in the images.  If you have a full-spectrum camera you just change the filters on the lens.  If you have a dedicated conversion you can go up the spectrum.  For example, if you are shooting Super Color Infrared at 590nm you can add a 665nm, or 720nm filter to capture IR images.

Here is the same scene in Super Color IR at 590nm, and Hyper Color IR at 470nm

Super Color IR at 590nm, and Standard IR at 720nm

The same scene can have a different feel depending on the nanometer of Infrared you capture the image in.

#5 Budget yourself sufficient time to shoot

I often hear photographers say they wish they’d more time at a location.  Plan for that. 

Don’t pull up to a spot and say, “I’ll only be a minute”. 

You are either going to miss some great shooting opportunities or irritate the person you are traveling with.  I have found that the location I can park is often far away from the best image locations.  Wander a bit, it will pay off.

This next part goes with this idea

#6 Get off the beaten path and explore

Ever drive along and think, “I wonder where that road goes?”  Find out!  Some of the best images I’ve made where taken in such locations. One of my favorite images from this year’s trip to DR is a spot I found by following a road until it ended and I was faced with this.  Just a few horses among the palm trees.

Super Color Infrared at 590nm

I never would have found this if I didn’t get off the beaten path.

and finally,

#7 Try something new

Don’t be afraid to experiment while you are shooting.  I always carry a 5-stop ND filter whenever I go out to shoot.  In bright conditions, it will often improve the contrast.

Since I had it, why not try some longer exposures?  

So I did.  And it worked out. 

This is a Super Color IR image at 720nm, ISO 50, f11, 15 seconds

And without a tripod!  

How? I used a fallen tree to balance the camera.  The image was slightly unlevel, but that was easily corrected.  I liked the blurred water and the movement of the palm fronds helped created the feeling of movement.

So, what do you think?  If you are looking for a great place to shoot Infrared, consider the Dominican Republic.

If you’d like to see the entire series I made on the D.R.  click here


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/8/shooting-ir-in-the-dr Mon, 01 Aug 2022 16:06:00 GMT
Long Exposure Infrared Photography https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/7/long-exposure-infrared-photography

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.

#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.  I use a tripod made by Sirui, The Traveler, and it weighs under 2 pounds.

#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.  Prior to their release, I tested the Life Pixel IR ND filters and I can tell you that they truly offer both 5-stop and 10-stop 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 question that often comes up is, “Do I need a 5-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, I’ve even had circumstances where I’ve stacked a 5-stop on a 10-stop because I needed it.  On seriously sunny shoots, I will use a 5-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 a long exposure 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 Super Color 9-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.

This is a Super Color 4-minute exposure with a 5-stop ND at ISO 50, f22

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.

#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. 

Here’s a little trick; in a pinch when I didn’t have an ND filter I have dropped my ISO to 50, upped my f-stop to f22, and have been able to lengthen my shutter speed sufficiently to capture a long exposure.

#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





[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/7/long-exposure-infrared-photography Fri, 01 Jul 2022 16:09:00 GMT
3 Steps to a Black & White Infrared Image https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/6/3-steps-to-a-black-white-infrared-image


Like most photographers, I love black-and-white infrared images. There is a purity and intensity to a well-crafted monochrome image, and there are many software options out there to help convert an image to black-and-white. In my experience, the best way to convert an infrared image to monochrome is a method that gives me the most control over how each color is translated. Filters that automate the conversion  process often don’t allow for fine control, or end up creating images that are noisy, grainy, or just look too “cookie cutter.”  I don’t want someone to see my monochrome infrared images and respond, “Oh, you used that ‘insert name’ filter.”

I prefer to convert each image manually, taking into consideration the unique characteristics of the image. 

I’ve developed an easy, three-step process that works well with infrared images.

Let’s start with this image.

This is a Super Color image at 590nm.  

Step One: Balance Your Image

We want to start with an infrared image that’s been corrected for exposure and color, so begin by making these basic adjustments. If you are not proficient with levels and curves, consider using Photoshop’s auto-corrections under the Image menu: Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color

Then complete a red/blue channel swap. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, watch this YouTube video of mine.

Now you have an image that looks like this.

This completes step one.

Step Two: B&W Conversion

Once you have an infrared image that looks natural and properly exposed, select Image / Adjustments / Black & White. 


This opens the Black and White dialogue with six color channel sliders: Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, and Magentas 

These sliders control how each color will be rendered in your black-and-white conversion. By moving a slider to the left, you darken that color, and by moving the slider to the right, you lighten that color. Here you’ll begin to create a unique interpretation of your image based on your personal artistic preferences. Take your time with this step and remember that each color will become a different shade or tone. 

As is the case with Super Color Infrared, we have four color tones, Red, Yellow, Blue & Cyan.  I chose to darken the Blue and Cyan tones to add intensity to the sky. I then proceeded to lighten the Red and Yellow tones in the foliage to make it pop out against the darker sky. There’s no right or wrong amount of adjustment here—you’re simply experimenting to find the look that you want. When you’re done, click “OK”.  Now the image looks like this.

Now for the last step.

Step Three: Fine Tune With Selective Color

The last step is to fine-tune your monochrome Infrared image for even more control over the tonality.

For this, we’ll use Selective Color: Image / Adjustments / Selective Color 

This step really makes a big difference in the final look of your image.

In the Selective Color dialogue, you’ll see four sliders: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. We’re going to use the Black slider exclusively.


You’ll also see a Colors drop-down menu. This menu allows you to select the colors and tonal ranges in your image and adjust them individually (Figure 8). Since we’re adjusting a monochrome image, we’ll only be working with Whites, Neutrals, and Blacks.

Select these from the drop-down one at a time and then move the Black slider to make your adjustments. Moving the slider to the right adds more black and moving it to the left reduces the amount of black.

When adjusting your Whites, reducing black will make the whites pop, but you lose detail. If you add black, you’ll see more detail in the highlights. Adjusting your Neutrals will have more of a global effect, lightening or darkening the image overall. Finally, increasing the Black in your Black channel will produce intense, deep shadows which is what creates the drama in a black-and-white image that most people look for, especially with infrared images.

In my example image, I chose to increase the Black in the White channel to bring more detail into the palm fronds. Next, I increased the Black in the Neutral channel to slightly darken the image overall. Then, I increased the Black in the Black channel just a bit to add a touch more contrast. 

Here’s the finished image.

And here is a side-by-side comparison, before and after.

Now, wasn’t this easy?

Creating dramatic black-and-white images doesn’t require a difficult process. Examine the colors and tones present in your original image, decide on what elements you want to emphasize, and then use these quick steps to create images with visual impact.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/6/3-steps-to-a-black-white-infrared-image Wed, 01 Jun 2022 16:09:00 GMT
Shooting a Canon R5 with a 40 year Old Lens https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/5/shooting-a-canon-r5-with-a-40-year-old-lens


Recently while online I came across a device that really caught my eye.  It is an adapter ring allowing an old Canon FD film lens to be connected to a Canon RF mount.  For some people that may seem strange, but I immediately knew I had to have it, and the best part is the cost is very low, less than $20 on Amazon.  

So, I ordered the adapter and then had to wait the whole two days to get it. 

While I was waiting, I went to the curio cabinet I have my “old” cameras in and got out my last film camera, my Canon AE-1.

Still mounted on it was my favorite lens, the Sigma 28-85mm 3.5- 4.5  This was when Sigma still made great lenses.  I can still remember the thrill when I purchased this lens is in the summer of 1979.  It was my favorite lens until I switched to digital.  

Since I hadn’t really touched it for almost two decades, I thought it a good idea to clean it.

That was a good idea.  Just a “bit” of dust.  Everything on the lens seemed to be in working order, but would it work with the adapter?   A 40+-year-old lens on a state of art digital camera?

I would know soon enough.

Once the adapter arrived, I immediately strapped it on my Full Spectrum Canon R5 and stepped outside to see if it worked. 


And it did! 

Now, you have to manually set the f-stop and manually focus the lens, but it did work.  

So, how about Infrared?  


My R5 is full-spectrum, the Sigma lens is 67mm, my filters are 77mm, …… and I don’t have a step-down ring. 

I really don’t want to wait another 2 days to test this.

This is when luck kicked in. 

The lens has been sitting for all this time with a Cokin “P” series filter holder on it and, amazingly enough, it holds (with a bit of work) a 77mm filter.

So, I can now shoot Infrared with my new/old lens.

20th century, meet the 21st.

So now I have a full spectrum Canon R5 with a 40-year-old film lens attached.

I’m ready to go out and shoot. 

And then it rains for the next 3 days.  


Finally, a nice sunny day to test out my old/new combination.

I picked a sunflower field.  Sunflowers always look good in infrared and are fun to shoot. 

I am used to manually focusing a lens since I am a brand ambassador for Lensbaby and love their lenses, so I felt fairly certain I could use this old lens.

The first thing I learned was that the infinity setting on the lens wasn’t quite accurate.  When attempting to focus at infinity it felt a bit soft.  I tried a few landscape images and the image above was the best of the lot. Not bad, but also not great.  

So next I tried the sunflowers for some close-up shots.

This is where the lens really seemed to perform the best. 

because of the difficulty of fitting the IR filter on the lens, I stuck to shooting Super Color at 590nm.

The more I worked with the lens, the better my results, but it was a little tedious.


My final decision was mixed.

Yes, it works and it was fun to use a very old lens on a new camera, . . .


If I wanted to go out again I would just grab one of my Lensbaby lenses and use it because the focus is sharper and the lens, in general, is easier to use.  

So, if you want to try something like an art lens for a very little bit of money, consider ordering this convertor.

By the way, I found this on Amazon  here .



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/5/shooting-a-canon-r5-with-a-40-year-old-lens Tue, 10 May 2022 16:09:00 GMT
A simple adjustment to Super Color Images https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/4/a-simple-adjustment-to-super-color-images


Super color Infrared is by far our most popular Infrared conversion because it offers such a wide range of options in post-production.  When properly white balanced, you have 4 color tones, Red and Yellow in the sky and Blue and Cyan in the foliage.  When channel swapped, it has a great faux color look.

The problem though is this isn’t the way a Super Color often looks.  Here’s an example

Here’s our properly White Balanced Super Color image. 

Now let’s channel swap it.

Not exactly the same as the others.

The image above has all four color tones, these below do not, they are mostly Blue and Yellow.

To get this look is very simple.

Step 1.

In Photoshop, open Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation

Step 2.

In Hue/Saturation change the color from Master to Cyans.

Step 3. 

Move the Hue slider on the Cyans to the right, into the blue, effectively changing the Cyan to Blue. 

Step 4.

Next, change the color to Red.

Step 5.

Move the Hue Slider on the Reds to the right, effectively changing the Reds to Yellow.

Step 6.

See how your new image looks now.

Now depending on each image, you may need to adjust the sliders differently to get the desired results.

But that’s all there is to it.

Now it’s your turn, give it a try.


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/4/a-simple-adjustment-to-super-color-images Fri, 08 Apr 2022 16:09:00 GMT
The Lensbaby Obscura Pinhole Lens https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/3/the-lensbaby-obscura-pinhole-lens


If you are someone who likes the status quo, never wants to take a chance, and hates a challenge, this next part and this next lens are not for you. 

However, if you like new things, want something interesting and exciting, or have ever been interested in pinhole photography and you are going to love the Lensbaby Obscura.   

Pinhole photography or the Obscura camera effect has been around forever. There is information about the camera obscura effect dating back to 300 to 600 BCE.

As a child, I played with the effect by taking a cardboard box poking a pinhole in it, and then observing the inverted image on the opposite side of the box. 

The new Lensbaby Obscura is the furthest thing from that cardboard box. Lensbaby has taken a type of photography that’s always been crude at best and refined it.  Their finished product is a very impressive high tech-looking device. It is the most innovative design for a pinhole lens ever.   

Just for clarification, all the testing I did with the obscurest 16 was on a full spectrum converted Canon EOS-R and a natural Color, unconverted Canon EOS-R.  The lens has an RF mount. 

Here take a look. 

The lens is so small that you will never have trouble finding space for it in your bag.  On your camera, it almost looks like you forgot to put a lens on.

So, how does it work? 

You simply mount the lens on your camera and any adjustments that you want to make you do so on the front of the lens. There are three settings on the Obscura 16 f/90, f/45, and f/22. 

You change the f-stop by rotating the ring inside the front of the lens.  It’s very easy to do and only takes a second. 


Now the first thing that everyone always asked me about a lens for infrared is “does it have a hot spot?”  

The short answer is, no it has no hotspots.   If you think about it though it really shouldn’t. Hot spots are caused by the coating on the inside barrel of a lens reflecting infrared light into the center of the sensor. This lens doesn’t have a barrel and is so close to your sensor I don’t see how it could possibly have the ability to create a hotspot.

So that’s good news for us infrared photographers 

Now let’s discuss the most important thing about using the Lensbaby Obscura 16. 

 Your sensor needs to be completely clean.

I cannot stress this enough. 

This is embarrassing, but I’m going to show you how my first outing with the Obscura 16 went. 

I took a series of shots and then sat down and reviewed them.

I stopped counting at about 15 spots.  This is NOT the fault of the lens, but completely my fault. 

Luckily I had equipment with me to clean the sensor in my car and was able to correct the situation. 

Anything on your sensor will be seen. 

Once you realize that you will have no issues. 

The process of image capture was exciting to me.  The best way I can explain it is shooting with the Obscura 16 is more of an analog experience than digital.  I love digital photography and hope I never shoot film again.  Sticking a card in my camera and having thousands of frames to use still thrills me. 

With that said, there are many aspects of film photography that I did enjoy. Shooting with the Obscura 16 is similar to that.  Some aspects of digital photography have become so technical that sometimes I think the artistic aspects of image capture can be lost or diluted.  This lens was very different from everything else that I’ve shot with, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone which was great! I didn’t feel at all proficient with this lens when I started shooting with it and even after shooting with it for a while now I still realize I have more to learn. So, if you’re someone who’s getting a little bored with your photography I would recommend this lens. It’s probably the artsiest lens out there right now.  

So, what did I make with it? 

Glad you ask.

With regards to post-production, I was once again a bit out of my comfort zone a bit, but I enjoyed where the images took me.

This image

Became this, by using NIK Analog Efex and adding a sepia tone to it. 

I also found myself drawn to monochrome a lot.

But, color Infrared also works.





So, what do you think?  

Want to know about this lens?  Click Here



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/3/the-lensbaby-obscura-pinhole-lens Fri, 11 Mar 2022 17:09:00 GMT
Re-size your Images to Protect your Intellectual Property https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/1/re-size-your-images-to-protect-your-intellectual-property


They say you haven’t arrived as an artist until someone steals your image.  If you’ve ever had it happen, you know what a disheartening thing it is, you feel violated and very angry.  There are even websites where you can take an image directly from social media and order a print of the image.

So, what can you do?

Well, you can try what lots of photographers do and put the copyright logo on your images.    If you put it in the corner, that area can be cropped out and then printed. Putting it in the middle is an option.

That though can really distract from the image.

I have seen a photographer who does the example below, but I have to wonder why they even bother posting.

So, once again, what can you do?

Well, you can make it so if they steal your image it is of little to no use.  The way you do that is by re-sizing your images, or if you want to take it a step further, web optimize your image.

It’s very easy, lets take a look.

Her’s my image.

 If I select properies of this image, we see that this image is it is currently 9MB.

To resize the image in Photoshop, go to Image, then Image Size.

When the dialog box appears, make certain the aspect ratio is locked.  When it’s locked, there will be a line from the top and botom of the lock icon as you see in the picture below.

You will also want to have your width and height set to Pixels.  Just click the drop down box and select pixels.

Now you will change the size of your image by selecting the widest part of the image, the width or height with the largest number, and change that number to 1200. 

 The smaller number will automatically adjust. In this example image we took the image from 3726 by 2484 pixels down to 1200 by 800 pixels.  At 1200by 800 pixels your image will now look great on any computer screen, tablet or mobile device.

Next click OK and then sleect Save As 

Now this important, you want to change the name of the file so that you don’t overwrite the original file.

So, we’ve resized our image and it still looks the same, but let’s check out the new properties.  When we started, the image file was 9MB.

Now it’s only 562KB.  To take it a setp further, consider Web optimizing your image.

To Web Optimze it, there is an additional step.

Go to File, then Export, then select Save for Web (legacy)

When the dialog box appears, I usually go with the auto settings, (Jpg High) but you can change anything as you prefer.

And then select Save. 

Now, Our image that started off as a 9MB file is now just 172KB. 

Your image will look great on a screen, but if someone steals this file, it will be of little to no use as it is too small to do anything with. 

There’s how to protect your images by resizing and web optimizing. 




[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2022/1/re-size-your-images-to-protect-your-intellectual-property Wed, 26 Jan 2022 17:09:00 GMT
Working with textures https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2021/11/working-with-textures  

Let’s start with an image.  How about this?

I’ve got the image open in Photoshop, now let’s get a texture file.  I choose 2LO Spirt29

Now let’s put them together.  To do that. I just have to drop the texture file onto the orchid image.

Then move the texture file to fill the image area of the orchid.

You’ll now see two layers displayed on your Layers Tab, one for the orchid image and one for the Texture file.


Now we are going to blend them.

First, make sure you have the top Layer, the Texture Layer highlighted.  

Now we are going to adjust the blending of the two Layers.  To do that, select the drop-down box marked Normal and all the possible Blending Options appear.

This next part is where you make the artistic decision on which Layer Blending option to use.

In this case, I choose Screen.  Then I adjusted the opacity on the Texture Layer until it looked the way I wanted.

 And here’s what I got.

The Texture and Orchid blended together well.


I want to add one more step. I want to remove some of the Texture from the Orchid petals.  So, I’m going to use the eraser tool.  The hardness is set to zero. 

Then I just erase away the parts of the Texture I don’t want.   

And here’s what I ended up with.

One other option would be to use the Texture Layer as a Layer mask and paint the Texture in where ever you want it.




[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2021/11/working-with-textures Wed, 17 Nov 2021 17:09:00 GMT
Can I clean the sensor on my Infrared converted camera? https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2021/9/can-i-clean-the-sensor-on-my-infrared-converted-camera



One of the common questions I’m asked during a training session is, “Now that my camera has been converted, can I clean my sensor?” What concerns most people they know that something was done to their camera’s sensor, but they are not entirely sure what. 

Yes, the self-cleaning function has been disabled, but the short answer is Yes, you can still clean your sensor. 

Will you need to clean your Infrared converted camera more often?  That really depends on your shooting conditions.  In extreme conditions, like on an African Safari where there is a large number of airborne particulates (dust), yes it will get affected sooner.  In other conditions, I can go for much longer periods before I need to clean.

Now if you’re not familiar with how to tell if you need to clean your sensor, let’s take a look at this image. 

This is a Super Color image at 590nm.  The image itself is nice, but man is this sensor in need of cleaning.  Just look at all the … stuff on it.  There are dust spots and hair.  Remember what I said earlier about Africa?  Here’s what I was talking about.

Even after the image is channel swapped they still show.

With a little work in Photoshop, we could hide those dust spots and hair, but this sensor needs to be cleaned. 

The thing about sensor cleaning on an Infrared camera is it is just the same as before it was converted.  So, if you are comfortable cleaning your sensor, go right ahead.

However, if you are not comfortable cleaning your sensor, I am not suggesting you should undertake this job yourself.   There are plenty of places you can take your camera to have the sensor cleaned.

If you are comfortable cleaning your sensor, this next part is for you. 

There are several different ways to clean your sensor, and I am not going to go into each method or endorse using a particular product, but I do want to make a couple of suggestions.


1. Only clean your sensor when you have enough time to take your time.  This is not something you want to rush through.


2.Invest in a decent sensor scope.  This will give you the ability to actually see the spots and other debris on the surface of your sensor.


3.Be gentle.  I cannot stress this enough.  Brute force is NOT the way to clean a sensor.


Now I want to address this last part head-on.  There’s a suggestion floating around that the solution to cleaning your sensor is to just put one lens on your camera and never remove it.  From an artistic standpoint that is just dumb.  You want to have the ability to use all your lenses with your Infrared converted camera.  



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2021/9/can-i-clean-the-sensor-on-my-infrared-converted-camera Thu, 16 Sep 2021 16:09:00 GMT
Water Lilies in Infrared https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2019/8/water-lilies-in-infrared


Summer is still upon us but is starting to wind down.   While it is still warm I like to make the most of shooting opportunities, and one thing I love to shoot is Water Lilies.  In most areas where you find Water Lilies they have a fairly long season.  The thing to remember about Water Lilies is they bloom and tend to stay in bloom as long as the water temperature stays above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only are they beautiful to see and photograph, but they tend to draw dragonflies, which makes for a great addition to your image. 

In Infrared, Water Lilies are quite stunning and you can capture some textures and details you wouldn’t see in natural color.  Whether you are shooting Deep B&W IR or our new Hyper Color you can get some eye-catching images. 

I’ve got a few suggestions if you want to try and shoot Water Lilies for the first time.  

White Balance

In a shooting situation like this, I usually set my in-camera White Balance by capturing an image of the grass nearby and using that image as a WB reference image.  

Timing and Light

As you know with Infrared, you can shoot at any time of day. However, you want to mindful of your shadows and you may want to shoot from a different angle depending on the situation.  In the image below you’ll notice my shadows are almost straight down because I was shooting shortly after noon.  

If you don’t like the shadowing you are getting, find yourself a comfortable place to sit and wait a bit, or come back later.    Also, watch for sun flares reflecting off the water.

Come Prepared with Lenses

I always like to have two options when I go out to shoot Water Lilies.  First,  is a good telephoto lens.  That 70-200mm you like to use for Portraits will work great here.  Got a 300mm or higher?  Bring it.  That Water Lilly that is towards the middle of the pond and not easy to get to is now a breeze for you.  

Second, I always bring along my Lensbaby Velvet 85.  If there is a Water Lily close to the edge, the Lensbaby Velvet 85 is perfect and I can make use of that great sharp and softness you can only get with the Velvet lens.

Try Low Angles

Most people walk up to a pond with Water Lilies and then shoot down on them.  The image can look good that way, but also try going low and shooting slightly above water level to give you a different perspective. 

Be Patient and Enjoy

Take your time while you are there and enjoy the beauty you are shooting.  If possible, stay relatively still and you may get the opportunity to catch a Dragonfly visiting the Lily you are shooting.

Shoot Brackets and in Continous Shooting Mode  

In the image above the Dragonfly was only there for a split second before moving on.  By having my camera set to auto exposure bracketing, I press and hold the shutter and my camera catches multiple images.  In Continous Shooting Mode, my camera will capture exposures as fast as it can.  Later I can pick the one or two that are good and delete the others.  

In Post Production

Just like always, you will want to use the RAW editor made for your camera to convert your RAW files.  With IR types like Super Color, Enhanced, Standard, or Deep B&W use the petal of the Lily for your White Balance, and you will see your image pop.  With Hyper Color, simply select any area in the image that has a green tint and use that for the WB and you will get the results you expect from a Hyper Color image. 

With all types of IR, except Hyper Color consider removing any blue tones you see as they tend to distract from the image.  With all types of IR, consider using Selective Color in Photoshop to darken and define the color tones.  

That’s about it.  

Now here are a few images to encourage you to go out and make some IR Water Lilies of your own.

Now it’s your turn, but don’t wait, it’s 3 1/2 weeks until Fall and then the Water Lilies will be gone until next year.  



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2019/8/water-lilies-in-infrared Thu, 29 Aug 2019 14:52:00 GMT
Sun-mer Flowers https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2018/7/sun-mer-flowers


Nothing says summer quite sunflowers.  The image of a sunflower reminds me of long warm days, the smell of cocoa butter suntan lotion, and ice cold lemonade.  As a photographer, sunflowers are great to shoot. 

In infrared they are even better

I do love the way they look.  Here’s a Super Color sunflower.

Here’s one making the most of the Lensbaby Velvet 85.   The narrow depth of field and softness really work well.  

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll remember I did a piece a couple of years ago on sunflowers. 

This year I have a new reason to be excited about sunflowers . . . Hyper Color is here. 

Hyper Color is so different from the other types of Infrared that I had to see what I could make.   

I wasn’t disappointed.

This is probably one of my favorites from shooting that day.

This was made with a Canon 6D, converted to Hyper Color, and the Lensbaby Velvet85 at f8.0 1/2000 sec.  The camera was set to shoot 7 bracketed images, each a 1/4 stop apart.  The next time someone asks me why I always shoot bracketed, I’ll show them this image.

The intense color pallet of Hyper color just makes everything pop.

And once again pairing it with the Lensbaby Velvet85 is the perfect combination.  

Now, if you are thinking about shooting sunflowers for the first time, let me share a couple of things with you.

  • Go in the morning.  The light is pure and the flowers are very alive, and there are lots of insects to add to the images.

  • Bees like sunflowers, ….. but they aren’t crazy about you getting in their way.  Keep that in mind.
  • Pack light on the gear.  I shot 99.9% of the time with the Velvet85, and then used a fisheye just a couple of other times.  
  • Consider bug spray.  Remember the bees?  
  • Bring water, wear sunscreen, and keep track of time.  You will be amazed at how fast an hour can go once you get started.  

And Finally, 

  • Try different things.  Most people only shoot the big open sunflowers.  I love the look sunflowers before they open.  They can even look a little sinister.

If you want to learn more about the lensbaby lenses, check out my reviews on our blog here and here   

Then if you want one, click here.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2018/7/sun-mer-flowers Tue, 03 Jul 2018 16:09:00 GMT
The 2018 Orchid Show … with Lensbaby https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2018/2/the-2018-orchid-show-with-lensbaby


Every year at this time, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, in St. Louis puts together an Orchid display unlike you will see anywhere else in the United States.  I’ve been lucky enough each year to have the opportunity to shoot the exhibit before it opens to share the images as a way of encouraging people to visit the show.  Each year the exhibit fills a large room with nearly every type of Orchid you could think of.  The end product is an immersive experience that will delight your senses.

The title of this years show is “Orchid Mania” and the name fits.  Everywhere you look is a new, different type of orchid.    Each year the wonderful people at the Missouri Botanical Gardens give me early access to shoot the exhibit by myself. It’s the photographic equivalent of being a kid in a candy store.

After shooting it for a few years, I realized this year I only needed two lenses, both by Lensbaby.  I completed the entire shoot using the Lensbaby Velvet56 and Velver85.

They were all I needed.

If you are not familiar with Lensbaby lenses, you get acquainted with them.  They are quite simply the best manual focus art lens on the market.  Their optics are crisp and pure and the bokeh is wonderfully smooth.   I have shot Infrared for years with Lensbaby lenses, and now we even carry them on our website

For this shoot, I used a Canon 7DMKII converted to Super Color and a Canon 5DMKIV.  Everything was shot with natural light as the ceiling is one big skylight.  I White Balanced the IR camera with foliage in the room and shot a gray card for the color camera.

In total I had about two hours to shoot the exhibit and could have easily spent another two hours and not been bored.

So, if you are in the St. Louis area, the Missouri Botanical Gardens Orchid show is on now thru March 25th.

To see more images from this shoot, you can visit the Riverfront Times here or check out the entire series on my website here



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2018/2/the-2018-orchid-show-with-lensbaby Thu, 08 Feb 2018 17:09:00 GMT
4 Things About Infrared to NOT Believe. https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2018/1/4-things-about-infrared-to-not-believe


As I look back on 2017, between online training and our workshops, I’ve had the pleasure to interact with a few hundred photographers, most new to Infrared photography.  I love the enthusiasm people have when they start off with Infrared, but unfortunately too often when they search online they receive information about Infrared photography that is not only incorrect, but some of it borders on ridiculous.   

I’ve put together my list of the top 4 things people have told me they’ve heard or read.

So here we go in no particular order.

“Once you set a MASTER WHITE BALANCE, you never have to set a WB ever again”


Umm, ….. no. That would be nice, but it’s just not the case.  And along with that, No, Life Pixel did NOT set a Master White Balance when they converted your camera.  The technician may have tested your camera by setting a Custom White Balance, but that is not something we intended you to shoot with.  And if you have a camera that does not accept a White Balance, I am not talking about you.  I am talking about cameras that have the ability to be white-balanced.    Now if you are someone who says “I’ve never needed to set a White Balance”, then you are lucky.

A Custom White Balance is something you want to set regularly to help you capture the correct exposure.

And, since we are on the subject of White Balance, ……NEXT

“You can use a piece of Green Fabric to set a Custom White Balance”

Apparently, someone online decided that rather than using grass or foliage for a White Balance reference, they would use a piece of green fabric, because Hey!, the grass is Green and so is this rag.   That will work, right??

Uhh, … No.  What you are doing when you use foliage for a White Balance reference image is you are capturing the Infrared light reflected off the organic material.  You can set a Custom White Balance off of dormant grass, dried brown or yellow grass, or even fallen leaves in the Fall.    Depending on what type of fabric you use, the light will reflect differently.  I did a piece on this a while back that demonstrates this point. 

Moving on

” Every Infrared Camera has Hot Spots “

The story going around is that every Infrared converted camera has hot spots, it’s just something with Infrared you have to accept.  

Once again, this is Very Not True.  Some Lenses do produce hotspots, but not all.  

Now, I saved my favorite for last.

“You should put one lens on your IR camera, and never change it so you don’t get dust on your sensor” 

I can’t believe anyone would listen to this, but this so-called “rule” is making the rounds.  This is ridiculous.  You are going to have a camera that allows you to change lenses, but you are not going to change them so you don’t have to clean your sensor?!?  If you are going to take that approach, then,……. if you buy a new car, and you keep in your garage, and never drive it, you’ll never have to fill it up and it will never get dinged or dented.  

Camera sensors get dusty or dirty over time.  That’s just a reality.  

So here’s my list of things I heard multiple times last year.  If you’ve heard one of these or read one of these, or someone tries to tell you one, think about it a bit and realize that not everything is true because it is online or on Youtube.   

With the exception of that video of the Mermaid riding the Unicorn.  I’m pretty sure that’s real.   



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2018/1/4-things-about-infrared-to-not-believe Thu, 04 Jan 2018 15:52:00 GMT
How to Emulate the look of Aerochrome Film https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2017/1/how-to-emulate-the-look-of-aerochrome-film

Aerochrome 1443 Film was a color Infrared film made and sold by Kodak, that has been long discontinued.  It is well known for its look; foliage is bright red and magenta, and the sky has a strong Blue saturation.   It was used by the military in the 1940s  to detect camouflaged areas by plane.  Then in the 1960s, it became quite popular to capture the psychedelic look of the times.

Recently the look of Aerochrome 1443 film has become a stylish way to post-produce Infrared digital images.   It’s an interesting alternative to standard IR false color processing, and it’s not really that difficult to do. 

Let’s take a look.

We will start with a Super Color image.   First, get the basics out of the way; adjust the levels, contrast, and tones, and swap the Red and Blue channels.



Now we will start to adjust the color tones.  To do that we’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation.

The first thing we want to do is adjust the sky because that is a quick fix.  A Super Color image has both Blue and Cyan in the sky after a channel swap, but we want just Blue.  So, we will select the Cyan channel and move the Hue slider to the right to make the Cyan appear as Blue.

Now we have a sky that is all Blue

Now let’s work on getting that bright Red tone like an Aerochrome.  Once again we will use the Hue/Saturation sliders, this time selecting the Red and taking the slider to the left.  You will see the red tones become more pronounced.

Now our image looks like this.

Now we need to change the Yellow to Red.  Once again using the Hue/Saturation slider, we adjust the Yellow to Red by moving the slider to the left.

Finally, we will adjust the Red further by using Selective Color.  We will do that by selecting Image, Adjustments, Selective Color

From here we will select Red and then adjust the Black within the Red tones.  

Now our image is starting to look more like an Areochrome   Infrared.

As a side note, I did decide to selectively desaturate the Arch and stone wall to give it less color.  

Here are a few more examples of this effect.

Once you work with the color tones to emulate the Aerochrome look, you can also create different variations.

Here’s one adjusted, only with less Red saturation.

Now I realize that this is an eclectic look that won’t appeal to everyone.  It also won’t work with every image, and each image will require different adjustments, but it is an interesting alternative to the standard channel swapped False Color.


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2017/1/how-to-emulate-the-look-of-aerochrome-film Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:52:00 GMT
How to Take Better Group Portraits https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2016/11/how-to-take-better-group-portraits


We are now into that time of year when you will be getting together with groups of people who, because you are a photographer, will want you to take “TAKE OUR PICTURE!”  Good group portraits are more than just getting everybody to stand still long enough for you to push the shutter button.  Remember, photographs become memories.  Something you shoot today may be looked at for a long time; make it look good.   There are tricks and skills to getting good group photos.  I spent a few years, . . . okay 20,  in the portrait photography industry teaching photographers how to quickly set up group poses. It’s not tough once you get the basics down.

Here are  a few suggestions:

#1.  Take control of the situation. 

In order for you to pose the group, you need to have everyone listen to you, even if it’s just for a second.  You don’t have to be forceful, but keep in mind they know you are a photographer, which means to some extent they also think you know what you are doing.  I have found an easy way to do it is to say something like this; “Okay, I want everybody to look good, so I’m going to move you around a bit. “

One of the main problems photographers get into is having the group pose itself.  Remember you will get the credit (or blame) for how the photo looks.

#2 Establish how many people you are going to photograph in your group. 

A good posing scenario for a group of 2 or 3 is not going to work for a group of 12.  You are “building” a shape to your group.

#3 Pose people so they are size balanced.

Avoid putting smaller people behind full size people.  When you pose a child behind an adult it makes the child look smaller, and the adult look bigger and wider.  Very few people will thank you for that.  Children work great at the base of the image to fill empty space and by putting them in front your image looks better proportioned.  When possible, never pose people square to the camera, as that will also make them look wider.   By turning you subjects at a slight angle to the camera they will not only tend to look better but the overall width of your grouping is less.


#4  Avoid “Stacking Heads”

We’ve all seen those group photos where the people look like they are a totem pole.  Never stack people; it’s unflattering.  Stagger people so that everyone looks like they belong in the image and the shot was planned.



#5  Use some standard ideas when setting up a group. 

There’s a couple of old rules of thumb when it comes to posing group.

They are   “Head to Ear, Head to Chin, or Head to Shoulder”  Let me explain that.  When you start putting small groups together, having people close to each other makes sense to create a more personal feel to the image.  In that case, you would pose your second subject so that their ear is no higher than the top of first subjects head.

Like this.


This is “Head to Ear

Start with your first two people and have them slant towards each other and then if you add additional people, have them slant that same way, left and right.  This bring the viewers eyes into towards the middle of the image and make your image look much better organized.

Now if you want to add a third person,  set them behind so that their chin is no higher than the top of the second persons head.  That is  “Head to chin”  Be sure to move the first two people slightly apart to allow the third person to fit into the group.

Like this


Now for the last rule, “Head to shoulder”  To add the fourth person. place them so their shoulder is no higher than the top of the head of the person in the row in front of them.

Like this


From here, it’s simply a matter of adding people to build shapes.  Oval and triangle shapes tend to look best.


As you add people, the tendency is to just start building out.  For your image to have balance and look good if framed, you don’t want to have empty space at the bottom and a grouping that looks like an inverted triangle.


One great thing to ask when posing a group is “Can everybody see me? If you can’t see me, the camera won’t see you.”

Finally, don’t make your image “Too Deep”  Remember that you have get everyone in focus and have enough light to fill the image.  Try and keep your group to no more that 3 layers deep.

Once you get the basic ideas down, it’s really easy to quickly build a nice looking group pose.

Oh, and one more thing, if you are going to be in the shot, leave yourself a spot on one end so that you can easily step into the group once your timer starts.  Take quite a few shots of your group, because each time you add a person the chance some one in the group will blink increases almost exponentially.  And don’t forget to smile; you’ve worked hard to make a good image, you want to look good in it.




[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2016/11/how-to-take-better-group-portraits Wed, 09 Nov 2016 17:09:00 GMT
MIRROR – RORRIM https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2016/1/mirror-rorrim




Now is the time . . . 

If you are like me, and you live somewhere that experiences seasons, you know now is the Winter of our discontent.   I do not enjoy Winter as I don’t have the opportunities to shoot Infrared like I do the rest of the year.  That, and I am not real fond of the cold, …but let’s not go there.   Winter is my time to reflect back on what I’ve shot and then try and get a little artsy.

Mirror images are a great way to create something new based on old work.   The technique has been around for a long time and it is not really difficult to set up.  You simply take an image, copy it, and then flip it and attach it to the original image.

The trick is starting with the right image and then picking the right spot to crop for the mirror effect.

Here are some examples of mirrored images.


The original image was made at last year's Great Smoky Mountains Workshop, in Super Color Infrared.

Here’s a moody house by a lake.


It’s really just a small boat house in a park.

The interesting thing is when you mirror an image, often you will see shapes take form.  For example, in the image above; do you see the face in the center in the clouds?  I did not create that one, it just became visible when I made the mirror image.

How about this one?  775039_520246977996383_707598023_o

Do you see the Heart?  The face?  Angel wings?

I will admit, I saw some of this before I started and that’s why I cropped it where I did.

One more.


I see a lion's face in the center of the image.  Do you see it?

So, let’s make a mirror image.

I’m going to start with this.


This was also made at last year's Great Smoky Mountains Workshop.  It’s a Super Color Infrared image that has been color channel swapped.

Once I have my image open in Photoshop, I need to create a new canvas for my mirror image.

I’ll click File, then New.



Since I know that my original is 8×10, I’m going to create a larger canvas that is more than twice the width of my original.  In this case  22 inches wide and 9 inches high.  This gives me some wiggle room, and I’m going to just crop it out when I get done.  Here’s my new canvas.


Now I need to decide where to crop my original image.  Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool I’m going to decide what part of this image to use.


In this case, I’m going to mark this image cropping off the area to the left.


Then I will select Image, and Crop.


Now I’ve got the image I’m going to mirror. mir7

I will drag this image into the new white canvas I created, putting it all the way to the right



Next, I’m going to flip the image.  To do this I click Image, Image Rotation, Flip Canvas Horizontal.


Then I am going to drag the same image into the canvas again, line the two up, and crop out the unneeded canvas.

And here’s my mirror image.


Now . . . Do you see it?  I honestly didn’t until I pieced the two images together.  We have faces in the image.  I didn’t realize it was there when I cropped the image.


I’m an animal person, so I see a monkey and a dog.  What do you see?

That’s all there is to make a mirror image.  Once you try it, it’s not that hard, and it is interesting to see what you find.  It’s definitely better than going out in the cold.

I hope you found this useful and will try and make your own mirror images.  If you do and create something you like, consider sharing it on our Facebook page.  You can find us here 

If you want to see more mirror images, click here.


[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2016/1/mirror-rorrim Wed, 20 Jan 2016 15:52:00 GMT
Make Your Infrared Portraits Look Better https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2015/12/make-your-infrared-portraits-look-better




Here’s a few steps to help improve your work

Portraits in Infrared can produce some stunning results but often need adjusting in post production.

Often a few short steps can make a big difference.

Today I’m going to show a series of quick steps to help improve your finished product.

The image I am working with was shot inside with a white background and a set of hot lights.

The camera was a Super Color converted Canon SL1, The lens a Canon 40mm f2.8 STM.  meta3

A White Balance was set using the white background as a reference image.

The fstop 8.0, the shutter speed was 1/60, the ISO 100.



This is the RAW image file opened in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional.



It needs some help.  dpp



The first thing I did was a second White Balance using the background as a reference,

then I adjusted the Brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, color saturation, and sharpening.



Then I converted the image and opened it in Photoshop. example-a


It’s a little bit better but needs more.





So, Since I want to process this quickly, I’m going to see what Photoshop can do with Auto Tones.

I clicked Image, Auto Tone.

And I got this.



My lighting looks better, but Red color tones are distracting.


Let’s remove that Red tone.  I’ll click Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation.



In Hue/Saturation, I’ll select RED from the drop box and then

Slide the Lightness bar all the way to the right.


With some images, you may find other color tones that do not add to the image quality.  Often there can be Magenta or even Green tones.  You can desaturate them this way.  First, try adjusting the lightness.  If that does not look right to you, consider adjusting the Saturation level slider.


This is also how to make the foliage white in an Infrared landscape image where you have color in your trees or grass.

Now, this is starting to look better.


But, I want the eyes to pop more, really draw attention.


So, I am going to lighten just the eyes.

To do that I will want to use a layer mask.

What I am going to do is create a duplicate copy of this image, adjust the eyes the way I want, and then using a layer mask, paint in what I want from that adjusted layer. It is not difficult once you learn the steps.   To create a new layer, click Layer, then Duplicate layer.


When the Duplicate Layer box comes up, rename the Layer Eye Adjustments




You will now see the Eye Adjustment layer in your list of layers.



Now I am going to adjust this layer, with my attention just on the eyes.



I’ll open Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast


And adjust the sliders until I like the way the eyes look.


You can also adjust the color tone of the eyes by adjusting the Hue/Saturation levels.



I am not concerned with the rest of the image because I’m only going to use the eyes from this layer.

Now, I need a Layer Mask.





For a Layer Mask, click Layer, Layer Mask, Hide All


Now only what we want from the Eye Adjustment layer will show when we paint it into the original image.



Next, select the Brush tool.




Then select brush size and hardness.



for something like this, I would use a small brush with a soft edge.

Then carefully paint in the eyes.  If you make a mistake, and I often do, just grab the eraser tool and remove what you don’t want.


If the Eye Adjustment Layer Mask seems too intense, simply lessen it by lowering the Opacity level.


Here is the image, side by side.  The right image is with the Layer Mask






It is at this point you will want to save the layered versions of this image as a Photoshop PSD file.  Then click Layer, Merge Visible.



Now let’s adjust the colors in this image.


Click Image, Adjustments, Selective Color.



Then I am going to adjust the color tones with the color.


I have Blue and Cyan in this image, and I think I’ll adjust both a little.

Now let’s see, side by side, what we started and ended with.


So, what do you think?  Once you learn the steps the process does not take very long.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2015/12/make-your-infrared-portraits-look-better Tue, 29 Dec 2015 15:52:00 GMT
Atypical Realisms https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2015/12/atypical-realisms





The world in one image

I want to show you how to do something a little different with your Infrared images.


Some people call them Planets, Round pics, or Polar Planets.


I came up with the phrase Atypical Realsims for a series I did a few years back.

Done right, they have an artsy look to them.

The steps involved in making one is not difficult, so let’s try it.

I’m going to start with image.


I made this infrared image in  the Great Smoky Mountains with a Super Color converted Canon 7DMKII.  I balanced the levels, and swapped the Red and Blue color channels.

It’s nice, kinda basic,  . . .  kinda boring.

To start, I’m going to create a blank image in Photoshop

I’m going to create a blank image that is 10 inches by 10 inches at a resolution of  300 pixels/inch with a white background.

It is important that your new image is square, so that your finished  image will be completely round.



Then I will decide how much of the IR image I want to use for my finished image.  This is something you will want to try out on your image and adjust for your personal taste.  A panorama format tends to look best in the finished image. In this case I have an image that is about 10 inches by 2 inches and the resolution is 300 pixels/inch.


Next drag the image into the New, White Canvas.


Then select Image, Image rotation, Flip Canvas Vertical


Now that the image is upside down, drag it to the top of the canvas.

8Win a FREE Camera Conversion! This is important; the image must be at the very top of the canvas.  You will also need to extend the image slightly off the sides on the left and right.

Select Filter, Distort, then Polar Coordinates

9Make certain that Rectangular to Polar is selected.

Then click OK.

If all the steps are followed, you should see your new Planet!

It may be small on the canvas.

If so, press ctrl +T, hold the shift key and drag the side of the image to make it larger.


Finally, clean up the line in the image, using either the Healing Brush Tool  (bandaid) or the Clone Tool.  I also rotated the image.  Then to give it a slight 3D look, I added a beveled edge and shadow.


Here it is.


So, what do you think?

Now it’s your turn.

There are more examples here.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2015/12/atypical-realisms Sat, 05 Dec 2015 17:09:00 GMT
Making Images With Light You Cannot See --- An Introduction to Infrared Photography. https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2015/4/introduction-to-infrared-photography Imagine taking pictures using the light that your eyes cannot even see.  That's exactly what Infrared Photography is all about.  When you pick up a digital camera, chances are it has a filter built in to block out the Infrared light spectrum.  An Infrared converted digital camera does pretty much the opposite; it allows the IR light in, and keeps out most of the visible light.  The end product can be quite stunning.  Grass and most foliage turns white or cyan, depending on the IR conversion.  The sky is a deep red, and clouds have a solid, chunky texture to them.

Architecture in Infrared can be equally impressive as the textures of the materials tend be more pronounced.


People in Infrared have a very different look.  Infrared light penetrates the top layer of skin and then reflects back, so people have an almost porcelain quality to their skin, with very few lines or wrinkles.  Hair and eyes generally have a blue or cyan color tone.  

Here's an example of a Tulip in the rain, shot in natural color and in Infrared at 590nm.  



So, as you see, or actually cannot see, there is an entire world of art ready to be discovered thru Infrared Photography.  Here are some more examples.

IR HDR ArchIR HDR ArchImage of the St. Louis Gateway Arch shot in Infrared.
The sky was just perfect, and the reflection in the pond made the image.Shot at ISO100 f11 with 3 exposures 1/60sec, 1/125sec, 1/250sec.
The camera used is a Canon 50D converted to IR at 590nm
using a Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 SP Di II LD Aspherical lens
The red and blue channels were swapped.

These images were all made by Digital Artist, Dan Wampler , the Creative Director for Life Pixel Infrared, using a camera converted to Infrared by Life Pixel Infrared, the World Leader in Infrared camera conversions.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2015/4/introduction-to-infrared-photography Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:37:16 GMT
Photography on the Fly https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2014/6/photography-on-the-fly


How many times have you had a quick opportunity for that great shot, but when you grab your camera something just isn’t right?


Here’s a couple of simple ideas

1. Finish with a preset

I always preset my camera before putting it away. I pick what I think is an average setting and then I shut it off. If I grab the camera quickly I have a better likelihood of getting the shot. For me, I select an f-stop of f8.0, that seems to be a mid point . The shutter speed I select is related to point number two.


2. Use A.E.B. (auto exposure bracketing)

A.E.B. is a setting most DSLRs have that allows the camera to capture 3 exposures within a selected exposure range. I my case, I select 1 stop + and 1 stop -. I then set my shutter speed of 1/125sec. When I press my shutter button, I get 1/60, 1/125, 1/250sec exposures. I know from experience that I can hold a camera steady to 1/60th; below that I tend to get blur. This increases my chance of getting that shot.


3. Lens Win a FREE Camera Conversion! Select the lens you use most, and put it on. For some that may be a 50mm, for others a 70-200m In my case, I select a wide angle lens. There is no wrong answer to this one.


4. Batteries/Memory

This seems so simple, but everyone has it happen. Sure you have an extra battery in your bag, and plenty of memory cards, but are they in the camera? When I finish shooting, I always change my battery for a fresh charged one, and make certain there is a card in.


Try these suggestions and the next time you need to shoot on the fly you may end up with a better quick shot.



[email protected] (Dan Wampler digital art) https://www.danwampler.com/blog/2014/6/photography-on-the-fly Wed, 04 Jun 2014 14:52:00 GMT