An Introduction to Infrared Photography

On Wednesday 2nd October 2019, Dunchurch Photographic Society welcomed Tony Winfield all the way from Stafford for an entertaining presentation about infrared photography. The meeting was well attended by members, no doubt eager to learn more about this niche element of camera ‘magic’ and see the outstanding results that can be achieved.

During the first half of the talk Tony set the scene with an explanation of what infrared actually is and the science behind it. In its simplest terms infrared is not something we can normally see; indeed, it exists beyond the range of the visible light spectrum. Tony took time to explain what makes up an infrared image, and described an array of styles in post processing to generate a plethora of different effects. 

Some of the effects are psychedelic, certainly different from the mainstream, whereas other outputs from infrared are much more conservative and familiar to us in terms of monochrome, albeit with a significantly different look. One notable difference from ordinary monochrome is the amount of additional detail captured by the camera when taking infrared images, which is particularly noticeable on certain types of building (castles for example) and cloud formations. 

Tony also explained what sort of camera is required to capture infrared images. This, perhaps surprisingly, can be almost any type of camera, although there needs to be a conversion made to standard DSLRs or compacts to make infrared photography possible. 

Society members were not shy in coming forward with questions and this helped make the first half more interactive than a simple theoretical lesson or lecture. 

In the second half Tony showed off a wonderful selection of images that he had produced using infrared media, showcasing a wide variety of locations and subjects. The running theme in all of these images was the enhanced detail being afforded by shooting images in infrared. 

Whilst true that some infrared results can be challenging on the eye, especially those with more psychedelic processing treatments or colour channel swaps, I am sure that everyone in the audience found images that they could enjoy and appreciate. Some of the detail was really quite eye-opening. 

The evening closed with an audio-visual musical sequence showcasing more of Tony Winfield’s work and there was a further opportunity for questions and answers. 

In summary, this was a good learning opportunity for Society members, with stunning images on show, all indicating how accessible it is to obtain a different look to our work. 

Many thanks to Tony.

Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman).