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Infrared Photography and the Car Thief ? Successful Digital Imaging

Infrared photography is sometimes placed on the outside edge of the mainstream photographic world. To the uninitiated observer infrared photography conjures up television images of car thieves speeding away from police helicopters during the dark hours of the night, only to be caught hiding beneath bushes beside a darkened home as their hot bodies light up the camera monitor in the police chopper like Bedouin camel herders atop a Sahara sand dune.

In recent times professional photographers have made use of infrared film predominantly for black and white portraits. However infrared photography is now not out of the realm of possibility for the average amateur photographer. Digital cameras are now providing the clever photographer with the opportunity to create beautiful infrared images at a fraction of the cost when compared to film.

Not all (or more accurately ? not many) digital cameras are set up to be able to shoot infrared images.

So how do you know if your digital camera can shoot infrared images?

This is a simple one to answer!

Point your digital camera at a television remote control and take a photograph of the infrared sensor that's located at one end of the remote while pressing buttons on the control to send out an infrared beam. If your camera can shoot an image of the infrared light being emitted from the LED of the TV remote control then you are on your way to producing an infrared image!

It's not enough to simply have any old digital camera for shooting infrared images. The type of digital camera that you've purchased will determine whether infrared images will be successful. Your camera should be at least a semi-professional digital or digital SLR-type with screw fittings to be able to connect filters to the lens.

The lenses of the cheaper and smaller digital cameras don't usually support fittings for filters so may not be appropriate for digital infrared imaging. Check your camera's documentation to see if it will accommodate filters.

Next you will require an infrared filter. The Hoya R70 infrared filter is one of the best and cheapest to buy, however at around US$40 or more it can be out of the price range for most would-be infrared amateurs ? especially since you still don't know if the end-product image will be what you want to achieve! If you've got the money to spare (or to blow!) then give it a go.

After purchasing an infrared filter, attach it to your camera, set up a tripod outdoors on a sunny day and shoot away! The first thing you'll notice is that you can either see nothing or very little through the camera eyepiece.

Your camera will be recording images in the infrared spectrum ? not visible light ? so you would expect to see very little light through the filter with your own eyes.

Be aware that adding an infrared filter may have serious effects on your camera's electronics or lens. Consult your camera's operations manual or manufacturer before fitting any infrared filter to your camera, and never look through an infrared or any other type of filter with your own eyes.

Photo Shop Australia http://www.PhotoShopAustralia.com/ has a large array of infrared example images captured using combinations of shutter speeds, aperture and light sources.

Phill Petrovic is the owner of Photo Shop Australia at: http://www.PhotoShopAustralia.com/

Photo Shop Australia provides unique and amazing Australian nature photography including macro, infrared and landscape images of Australia. Photo Shop Australia also has a page of totally royalty free images available for free download for businesses and personal users.

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