Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Master Digital Infrared Photography With Your Nikon Digital Slr

Author: Dave Simpson
The Nikon D70 SLR is ideally suited to Digital Infrared Photography mainly due to the power of its custom settings. I'm going to take a few moments to show you what camera settings I use for my digital infrared photos and hopefully help you get the best results from your Nikon digital SLR.
First thing – get a tripod, this is pretty much a must for perfect infrared shots, and the infrared filter of your choice – I like the Hoya R72.
Next, take some time to plan your digital infrared photograph. Taking the time to do this upfront will help eliminate some of the uncertainties of digital infrared photography, which can result in only an ok photo, rather than a WOW! photo.
As always with these kinds of things, there is no one right way to achieve results. But these steps are the ones that I have had the most success with, using my D70 so far.
Image Type
For digital infrared photography I really prefer to shoot in RAW mode. Although Nikons native NEF format is so versatile, it just doesn't come up to the high quality of RAW mode, and any imperfections can always be edited out using Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro.

ISO
Good results can be achieved by increasing the ISO setting, but I've had the best results when I leave it at 200. Otherwise the noise is just too great – at least in my opinion. I also do a fair amount of post processing in Photo shop , so noise is a problem when working at higher magnifications. Remember, unlike infrared film, where the graininess is part of the look and feel of the image, digital infrared "grain" or noise really degrades your image. If you want to add the look of grainy film, do it in Photoshop, or other image-editing program.
White Balance
In my experience, setting a custom white balance is a key to GOOD Digital Infrared Photography with the Nikon d70. Because you are using a filter that blocks most "regular" light, the camera's internal white balancing mechanism cannot provide you with an accurate measurement of the colour temperature of your environment. Since foliage reflects IR light, making it the brightest, whitest part of your photo, you'll need to "calibrate" your D70 to let it know that visible light green is equal to infrared white.
There are a couple of ways to do this.

NUMBER 1: The simplest white balance method using the D70 is to open your menu, use the control button to flip down to the white balance setting, and change it to fluorescent +3. Since for infrared photography you'll be most likely shooting in bright sunlight with a "red" filter, adding some false color correction in the camera, seems to give your final IR images more "punch." I have also found the incandescent setting works too.
NUMBER 2: Another way to adjust white balance for digital infrared photography with the Nikon D70 is to take a photo of green grass at midday in full sun. Just the grass – no feet, no trees, no sky. Just point your camera at the grass looking straight down, and click! Now, in your menu, you'll set the white balance from this photo. So, go to your menu, select white balance, >preset> use photo>select image> use your control dial to navigate to the image of the grass (hopefully it is the only one on your card to make it easy). Your menu should now say "this image>set." Now you're ready to shoot infrared!
About the Author
So there you have it, some tips for producing great digital infrared photographs. Now, if you would like to get the right equipment, then why not visit this site and see what bargains you can pick up.

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