To soften or not to soften? That is the question

So the age old photography mantra is to capture sharp images. But since I have started taking infrared shots I have found myself experimenting with post processing like never before. Some new effects which are gradually introducing themselves to my processing regime include boosting contrast to crazy levels, softness, graining and vignetting. (!) I know, I know… I said I would never post process to this extent, but I do love the way that infrared light challenges preconceptions about sharpness and detail. All of a sudden the detail almost does not matter – the light is the star of the picture, not the subject. And as long as I disclose how I post process, then surely there is no harm in a little creative experimentation? That’s how I see my infrared photography… it’s more of an art form, a creative experiment, a play on expectations and the norm, it’s painting with monochrome – for grown ups :)Take for example the image to the left. ¬†This is a very soft image, purposefully created in this way to accentuate the light and concentrate the focus on the bands of lights that help to illuminate the single tree.¬†I have purposefully framed the shot

Frolicking Friday

One¬†Friday¬†afternoon as we were heading back to camp (in Kruger National Park, South Africa), we came across an incredibly playful group of Impala. They were bouncing, chasing each other, mock fighting, charging and seemingly just really enjoying a rare cool afternoon. We stopped to watch them for a while and it became apparent that there was a ‘path’ that they were all ‘racing’ on, which took them through a tunnel of trees. I decided to set my infrared camera up to try and capture a shot of them running through the trees – but the light was not right. For once, the sun was hidden and the impala were in too much shadow. However, after 10 minutes the sun broke through through the clouds for a brief moment and cast a shard of light into the trees – just as the impala ran through. Heart¬†pounding¬†I took the opportunity to capture a shot (and hoped for the best). This is the image that resulted. For the majority of my infread photography I use an infrared modified Canon 550D and favour the prime 50mm lens.

Lessons in infrared photography – just when you think you have cracked it…

Regular followers of the Taraji Blue blog will know that I have recently become obsessed with infrared photography. For Christmas, Ali bought me a compact digital camera complete with infrared filter and I was immediately hooked. After first experimenting with the style of photography in Lapland over Christmas, I took to the streets of York every available weekend to hone my skills further. The wee compact was fun to use and gave some really great results Рthe only issue was that because the screw on infrared filter was so black you could not focus using it. You therefore had to unscrew the filter, focus and compose the shot, then replace the filter to take the image. Very fiddly and time consuming. Not an issue for landscape photography Рbut much more so when attempting to photograph wildlife or humans. Regardless, my main aim was to build up my skills with the equipment before the real test РSouth Africa in March 2013. However, Alistair delighted me with a lovely birthday present just days before we traveled Рa second hand Canon 550D which had been chipped to take only infrared stills and infrared HD video.  Needless to say, it had not been out of my hands for the entire trip to South Africa. It is a fantastic wee camera and I

Too Dark?

I have been experimenting with the infrared shots¬†I took in Lapland and have decided to re-review some of the shots I discarded to see if I could ‘rescue’ any of them from the trash. I stumbled upon this shot – it lacks the intensity of light that I¬†have¬†become used too when using infrared in the UK – but that’s why I am drawn to this image. I quite like the¬†occasional¬†highlights of the snow on the trees and the lakeside, it reminds me of the way the bright moonlight bounced off the¬†landscape¬† creating moments of bright brilliance on cloudy Lappish nights. ¬†I also like the darkness of the shot – infrared allows you to experiment with the contrast and¬†temperature¬†of the blacks and whites and I when I can use them to extreme, I tend to try and do so (because this type of¬†photography¬†affords this rare¬†privilege). I am just not sure if it is too dark and too¬†extreme…. I welcome your thoughts. More of my infrared photographs are available in the Taraji Blue infrared experiments¬†gallery¬†(not all are this extreme!).