This Filter has forever changed the way I will shoot.

November 30, 2023

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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