The pixels are still cooling on the two flower photographs I just added to my portfolio, but the black and white images I also posted are several years old. As I flesh out the album with newer work, I mentally sentence a few shots to death row. Seeing technical improvement in my photography is encouraging, though the infrared landscape in the mix shouldn't be evaluated by the same standards. Here's why.
Infrared photography — that mystical style that turns skies black and trees a snowy white — uses a filter to capture light that is normally outside the human range of vision. Now that electronic sensors have replaced film for so many photographers, however, infrared images play harder to get. Why? Because the sensors are too good. Digital SLRs are engineered to cut out infrared light, which could sometimes contaminate standard photographs. Infrared filters, by contrast, eliminate all but infrared light. Thus, the camera and the filter work at cross purposes, and the only way the filter can win is via exposures that let in loads of light. These exposures take many seconds, therefore blurring any motion — even the slightest gust of wind. Plus they show up on my camera's display as bright red, because that's the color of the filter. It's pretty difficult to know if I even have anything until I bring them into Photoshop, and even then, they'll probably be pretty grainy and blurry. I think of it as an old-timey look, but that's not strictly true, because an old film camera would have produced more technically sound infrared results.
Speaking of nostalgia, I should mention my friends Jonathan Marrs and Josh Ferdaszewski. I remember them chiefly as my nemeses in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade honors math — classes at which they excelled and that I had no business taking.* After they finished picking on me they went to college and all that good stuff, and after that they became some of the best photographers I've ever seen. You should check out all their work at Atelier Pictures, but I specifically want to draw on them to reveal how digital infrared photographers overcome their sensors. Answer: they buy tricked-out cameras, or they trick out the ones they already have. The camera the guys at Atelier use had its infrared blocker removed. The results are literally unreal. Click and see!
*The fact that I still got As is a different topic.