From This To This To This

Fenceline Trees

I figured that since this really is a photography blog that I should probably write more about photography rather than the stuff that occupies the rest of my life so here goes.

When shooting infrared it is not obvious when shooting or even in post processing which images will work out.

Firstly, the display on the back of my camera is good for checking focus, compositon, ie, balance and exposure. To actually see how purple and dark the RAW image is can be discouraging but there is much to be gleaned from the RAW. It really is only through trial and error that you will get a feel for what is workable.

RAW Infrared Image

Above is what my previews usually look like. What I am looking for is that the highlights aren’t blown away and that I have shadow detail. I always bracket my infrared photos. Five exposures. Two over, one under and one that the camera meter recommends. Depending upon what I am shooting, I will often set the camera to over or under expose in order to either retain highlights or keep shadow detail. A quick glance is all that I give the preview and continue shooting.

Once I have edited the RAWs from the back of the camera deleting the bad compositions or the over or under exposed images I transfer them to my computer.

I use a RAW editing program to then make rough corrections, ie, noise control, removing the purple color cast and getting the density close but not quite there.

RAW Converted

The image is exported as a TIFF which I then open in Photosho for further refining. The TIFF then has the shadow and highlight detail that I want.

Overall it looks dark but I know from experience that I can lighten the image overall and still keep the highlight detail.

Still the image looks a bit flat. By using a dodging tool in Photoshop I selectively lighten the trunks of the trees and alternately lightening the foliage. The foliage before is all of the same tone, something that I don’t want. By using a smaller dodging too set to only lighten highlights I can lighten the grasses and leaves.

A little sharpening in Photoshop for the web and voila. Done!

A large part of the creative process is in the visualizing while shooting and continuing the process in Photoshop. As you can see a straight print would not look as good as one that has been tweaked.

There, my first actual photography post in a few weeks. LOL

Happy shooting,




~ by Dan Jurak on August 9, 2016.

8 Responses to “From This To This To This”

  1. thank you for sharing your process

  2. Thanks for sharing your workflow, Dan. Mine is similar. My Nikon D610 will not white balance infrared in the field so i get that same purple image as you get. I work around it in the field by setting the preview on the camera to show b/w. This works for image playback and for live view, which I use for focusing anyway. I am shooting 590nm whereas you are shooting 850, which means I am getting color, a blend of the visual spectrum at the high end along with the infrared spectrum. I handle the white balance problem during the processing stage using Capture One Pro. I find it to be one of the best RAW convertors on the market and will white balance the infrared image whereas LR, ACR and PS will not. In C One Pro I also adjust the red green and blue exposure channels since infrared is recording these at different levels, add contrast and tweak any highlight or shadow adjustments, and then output a TIFF to take into PS where I channel swap my red and green channels. This turns the sky blue and the foliage yellow/gold. I then do as you do, dodge and burn to taste. I create a color version first and then use NIK Silver EFX to create a B/W version. Finally I choose which I like best. Many times I am thinking the image will go one way and am surprised when I prefer the other–––one of the discoveries that is part of the process and joy of shooting infrared.

  3. Thanks also for sharing Frank.

    It just goes to show that there are many different ways to achieve our goals.

  4. Hi Dan:
    I have followed your blog for some time and very much enjoy it. I have finally written about your blog in my own online postings. You will find it at If my comments or use of your images bothers you let me know and I will adjust things to your liking.
    Flynn Marr

  5. Hi Flynn,
    Nice hearing from you. You have my permission to use my images on your blog and thank you very much for the kind words.


  6. Thanks so much for sharing your process, Dan. I didn’t realize you used dodging that much to achieve the results since I’ve never seen an unprocessed infrared. Is there a particular reason you choose to output as a TIFF?

  7. You’re very welcome Sheila. There is usually a lot of dodging and burning when I photograph foliage in infrared as the tones are usually too dark. I save as a TIFF because there is no quality lost.

  8. Good to know. Thanks!

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