An Efke Swansong

Well it had to happen one day – my final roll of Efke 820 ‘Aura’ has been hiding in the fridge for a few years, but it’s day has finally come. The ‘Aura’ bit of the name is due to the film not having an anti-halation layer, producing a soft glow around highlights something like the ‘diffuse glow’ filter in Photoshop.

Efke 820 Aura

A bridge on the river Stour in Dorset.

The equipment used was minimal – an Olympus OM1N, a Vivitar 17mm f3.5 lens, an R72 filter, a tripod and a cable release. Exposure bracketing between one and eight seconds at f8 usually produced a decent result. The use of a wide-angle lens helps avoid the infrared focus adjustments required on longer lenses – at f8 pretty much everything is in focus and it’s possible to just use the depth of field scale on the lens to make sure everything is sharp.

Developed in ID11 for eight minutes at 20 degrees centigrade.

Efke 820 Aura

And from further down the river. There are some internal reflections going on which add a certain something.

This style of shooting is really relaxed – plonk the tripod down, take off the filter (it’s opaque), compose, replace the filter and shoot. With bracketing your only going to get around twenty images from a roll so you really take your time. It’s all a bit like fishing and as far removed from blasting away with a DSLR as it’s possible to get.

Efke 820 Aura

Even further down the river there’s this pedestrian bridge. For mid November there are a surprising amount of leaves still left reflecting IR light on those trees.

As always the resulting negatives can be rather dusty, so a quick clean with a soft cloth is worthwhile before putting them in the scanner. I still needed a pass with the ‘dust and scratches’ photoshop filter to remove some of the remaining dust.

Efke 820 Aura

Even more odd internal reflections inside the 17mm lens. I’ve never seen these using conventional film.

Even with the post processing the use of the clone stamp tool to remove the larger dust particles is needed (something I didn’t do for these as you can see).

Efke 820 Aura

The final location and something a bit ‘gothic’ – this film really makes the most of these locations, and the ‘aura’ effect is very noticeable in the distant trees.

I remember this as extremely grainy film, but giving it longer exposures seems to help – I must have been underexposing it in the past.

Efke 820 Aura

Finally a recreation of a shot taken thirty years ago on Kodak HIE speed infrared film – a suitable last shot for the roll! Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Amazingly it’s still available (for a high price!) on some websites – Lomogaphy being one of them – but as the Efke factory in Croatia has apparently closed this must be quite old stock. Either that or someone is making it again which seems unlikely.

A pleasing last roll of a film I’d grown to like over the years. From now on it will have to be Rollei’s IR film (£6 a roll) which is better behaved and less grainy but doesn’t get as near to look of the best IR film ever – discontinued in 2007 – Kodak HIE Infrared. Ilford also make an IR film (SFX 200) but at £13 a roll in the UK it’s an expensive option.

Thanks for looking!

p.s. There a reviews of lots of other films on the film, camera and lens review index tab.

Spring is here…

Which must mean it’s time for messing around with some infrareds on a warm sunny day….

Sony RX100 Infrared R72 filter

Everything still works as it should! Black skies and water, white vegetation and clouds.

It’s good to see the IR effect again after a long wet winter. Fresh foliage seems to reflect more IR wavelength light than older grass and leaves so the ‘Wood Effect‘ is especially pronounced.

Sony RX100 Infrared R72 filter

Here’s the setup – an RX100 with R72 filter held on a Lensmate filter attachment. A much better arrangement than just holding the filter over the lens, this little gadget is very useful. The AG-R1 grip is also attached and transforms the RX100’s handling (get one!).

All shot at the ’28mm’ focal length (really 10.4mm) at f2, ISO 800 with a +1 stop exposure compensation to allow hand held speeds of between 1/30th of a second and 1/8th of a second. These were processed in DXO Optics Pro 9 using the ‘Dense’ black and white conversion – straight from the camera they have a very intense magenta hue. A slight ‘diffuse glow’ was added in Photoshop to give it that old Kodak IR film look.

Sony RX100 Infrared R72 filter

A bit more abstract here – fresh growth in a pond with some clouds reflected.

Sony RX100 Infrared R72 filter

Same bridge – but from the other side.

Sony RX100 Infrared R72 filter

More of a traditional landscape really – the vegetation at the lower right seems to be ‘reaching into’ the frame.

Not a bad result for some gentle messing about – more a practice for later in the year.

Hope you like them, thanks for looking!

 

Extreme Combinations…

Combining various obscure photographic techniques is irresistible – at least to me. So apologies in advance.

What happens if you shoot infrared hand-held with an IR R72  filter through a Lensbaby Sweet 35 using Olys ‘Dramatic Tone’ filter? I had no idea until today.. The 35mm focal length is a fixed 70mm equivalent on micro four thirds, so a bit restrictive, but let’s see what we can do. The Lensbaby has a problem resolving detail at the edge of the frame – how bad is it ‘in the field’ on small micro four thirds sensor? There are loads of ‘fields’ near where I live, so lets give it a go – walking into ‘a field’ as I do so. MTF charts are unavailable due to a technical fault.

Here’s the kit – an EPL5,  a micro 4/3 mount converter, a Sweet 35 Lensbaby, a 49mm to 58mm thread converter and a Hoya 58mm R72 filter. I’d hoped to fit in some macro extension tubes but time didn’t allow. To add a little colour, DXO filmpack was used to tone the monochrome images (we’re a long way from photo realism already)….

EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

This isn’t the easiest combo to focus – ISO needs to be around 8000 to hand hold a shot in spring sunshine (the R72 filter is pretty much opaque), so the focus magnify button is essential to find something like a sharp image. To add to the excitement (why do I do this?) the ‘wide open’ sharpness of the Lensbaby makes sharpness a relative term. The Lensbaby people must do something about this…

Onto the results…

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A bit too grainy possibly – ISO 8000 should be free of noise in a modern camera surely. I well remember using Kodak IR 8000 film ten years ago and it was nowhere as grainy as this. Digital is obviously rubbish. The IR effect is showing, but the ‘Dramatic Tone’ element isn’t too visible. That black dot is a bird by the way rather than ‘dust on the sensor’. Why don’t Lensbaby make a zoom pinhole attachment by the way?

 

EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

This is better – even something in focus. The blurred areas are – well – very blurred and rather good. The grass on the right is bright (as it should be), and the new foliage on the willow tree is nicely bright too. Why is this less grainy – I have no idea!

EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

More grain again – but this time it seems to suit the subject. Well maybe….

Finally the Mill, used in the past as a test target for previous lens tests. The lovely Lensbaby out of focus areas have produced an abstract, almost ‘painted’ blurry result. Assuming most painters like blur of course, which is an unproven hypothesis in my experience.

EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

Hmm.

Thanks for looking, enjoy Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere)  and have a good April 1st!

Unlikely Combinations

Experimenting with Lensbabys, old MF lenses , layers/PP, infrared etc is one of the best aspects of photography – straightforward clean, sharp images can be a bit dull sometimes. However this experiment plumbs new depths of oddity – infrared with a lensbaby…. I’d discussed this with friends some time ago as a possibility but they just shook their heads!

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The best image of the set – focusing the Lensbaby with an R72 attached is difficult but possible in bright sunlight.

Anyway, here are the initial results – and they’re not too bad, i.e. pleasingly weird. The “Lensbaby effect” is more immediately obvious that the “infrared look” as in order to take these the maximum aperture of the Sweet 35 was required giving the strongest edge blur.

_MG_0453_DxO_DxOFPsAll shots taken on a Canon 60D, Sweet 35 wide open (F2 I think?), Hoya R72 infrared filter, ISO 5000. post processed in DXO Optics 8 (my new favourite new PP program). There were hand held at slow shutter speeds but any camera shake is lost in the general blur anyway. Aggressive noise reduction can be used to get rid of the high ISO noise as – again – there is no real detail to lose!

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Finally the most extreme of the lot. Your eye has to search the image before it realises what’s going on – so I’m pleased with it!

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So not something for everyday use, but an intriguing technique which could produce strong images. If you’ve a Lensbaby and an IR filter give it a go. Next step is trying the plastic lens – wonder how it will handle infra red?

Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

A Roll of Efke 820 IR Film (found in the film box in the fridge!)

I was sorting through the tupperware box of film in the fridge last weekend and found a bit of a treasure – a roll of Efke 820 IR film ordered last year and completely forgotten about!

efke3sAll fired up with enthusiasm I waited for a sunny day, and for a bit of fun, loaded up the OM2N and shot off the roll inbetween some other photo business . Exposures were bracketed at  at 2/4/8 seconds at f8 and gently developed in ID11 stock for 8.5  minutes (rolling the liquid in the developing tank rather than inverting it) – these are the results. Much grainier than I’d remembered – almost reticulated, but the temperatures of dev, stop, fix and wash were all 20 degrees centigrade. Maybe it was a dodgy last batch of film, these not being made any more, but in an odd sort of way I like it.

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What’s better is that there’s another roll left! As it’s the last one I’m not sure whether to treat it reverently and take immense care, or just have some fun with it. Rollei IR film – at least judging by these results – produces better images so not many regrets at it’s demise.

Hope you like them – thanks for looking!

p.s. apologies for the repetition of subject – I’m spending a lot of time at Knowlton lately!

Yet More RX100 Infrareds!

Dorset is experiencing something weird this year – summer! The skies are clear, the temperatures are hitting 30 degrees C and for people used to cloudy wet summers with just a glimpse of sunshine now and then it’s all most disturbing…..

So using this hot weather as an excuse to shoot yet more infrared handheld on the unmodified RX100 (with an R72 filter) , here we go.

First, a few of the pedestrian bridges over the River Stour near Tarrant Crawford – the leaves and grasses radiating IR like mad. All taken at 28mm setting at f1.8 using RAW, the ‘Black and White’ creative setting (for composition) and +1 exposure compensation.

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This is the next bridge along – the field boundary is heavily overgrown on either side which help isolate the dark path.

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And the same view but in landscape orientation with a lower contrast – can’t make my mind up which of the two is best. _DSC0948_DxOFP

Finally a small avenue of trees taken on the same day, the shadows on the road being an integral part of the composition.

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As usual, all taken for the book cover market – hope you like them!

Abandoned Military Installation

Here’s a few more from a day on Portland (Dorset UK). These abandoned buildings are part of a Victorian artillery battery built on the island and abandoned decades ago. The subject was perfect for a drop more IR on the Sony RX100 (what a surprise) – so here we go. All shot at the 28mm setting at f1.8 handheld – the camera is unmodified.

This is a view down one of what I suppose was the tracks which brought ammunition from the stores to the gun positions – the concrete walkway over the rails is unexpected…

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Portland is great for this sort of shot – the island was heavily used by the military then handed over to prison services and much of that dark architecture remains. Can’t resist barbed wire!

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Back to the main fortification and some overgrown steps leading out of the depression in the ground which houses the gun position. _DSC0763_DxOFP

Finally a view of some of what I suppose were store houses, the sparse grassy vegetation slowly growing over the banks and stone. _DSC0754_DxOFP

Altogether a wonderful spot – and good weather for IR photography. The R72 filter has got to be left at home for a while now. That and the plastic Lensbaby are taking up too much time!

Thanks for looking – hope you like them.

Infrared on Portland (Dorset)

A few infrareds from a great day in Weymouth and Portland in superb sunny weather. All taken on using the Sony RX100 and R72 filter, post processed in DXO to tweak the contrast.

This cemetery has some of the best monuments in the area – and a great subject for IR against a clear blue sky with some high cloud to give some texture. These are two of the most impressive.

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This is the first statue complete with broken wing from the rear – the bright dot in the sky is flare from the lens. The RX100 produces some very complex flare (see later article).

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Finally a closer view of another monument. This camera produces very high IR quality images. better than my old IR digital camera, a Fuji F810.

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

Another Good Day for Infrared…

Been up on the chalk downland again – and wide open spaces in the sunshine have to mean one thing, Infrared.  All hand-held using the Sony RX100 + R72 filter and heavily post-processsing in Photoshop and DXO.

The conditions were perfect – light broken cloud and strong sunshine which means some texture in the sky an a strong infrared response.

This is the remains of an old field boundary – these thorn bushes are all that’s left in an otherwise empty landscape.

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This road is beautifully straight. running along a long shallow valley. I did a few of this as the contrast between the tarmac and the ir-reflecting vegetation was very strong.

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Slightly different post-processing on this one to allow the whites of the grass to burn out a little – usually a sin but worked out well for this one.

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Finally one in a favoutite location, where the clear chalk stream turns a bend, and a line of poplar trees makes a nice background.

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

Some More from the Plastic Lensbaby (and a few infrareds)

It’s been an odd week this week – been organising print sales through a local art gallery, so there’s not been much time for taking photos. These are a few from the limited opportunities where time and the weather allowed, using the plastic lens/Lensbaby Composer on a Canon 60D (my current favourite combo). The infrareds are taken on a Sony RX100.

The poppies are out in Dorset – having driven and walked around to find some, this was growing next to the car park!

This one’s a bit of an abstract – no aperture disk for this (so at f2) and long grasses blowing on the downland, post-processed and toned. The flowing blur near the horizon was unexpected…

This one (continuing the floral/grasses theme) has some nice depth even if it’s an odd composition. F4 aperture disk, post processed and toned in DXO Filmpack.

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And now for the inevitable infra reds – this one is Horton Tower. It looks spooky but it was built in the 18th century so the local landowner could keep an eye on the progress of the fox hunts around the landscape after he became to old to ride with them.

And finally a barbed wire/aged fence post. I think the RX100 is just going to be used for infrared at this rate!

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them, and have a good weekend!

Just Wandering Around…

A few more from the Sony RX100 – and no infrared at least for a short while. As the weather in the UK (Dorset at least) has suddenly broken, and after a cold spring, late spring/summer has finally arrived. The late summer has resulted in every plant bursting out in one go, flowers and pollen everywhere…

This first one is using’ the Toy Camera’ JPEG setting, plus a -1 exposure compensation to make sure the yellow colour channel isn’t blown out (the green/yellows of this camera are over saturated).

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  This one uses the ‘Rich Tone Mono’ setting where three shots at different exposures are combined to extend the dynamic range. The whites of the flowers are a bit overexposed – my fault – but it’s a nice image.

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  “Short while” over …. I couldn’t resist two more infra-reds – processed as per the last post. When you’ve got an IR R72 filter in your pocket and a sunny day on the heath – well what can you do?

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  This tree is ancient – growing on an old Roman road running from Badbury Rings to Salisbury and this is the first shot I’ve got of it which I’m happy with.

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them.

A Good Day for Infrared!

A few more from the Sony Rx100 plus R72 filter – on a very good day for infrared. All hand held at 800ISO 1/8th to 1/25th of a second at 28mm f1.8 +1.3 exposure compensation. The image stabilisation seems to work well most of the time even at these slow speeds. Shot in Raw at 20MP, then via DNG format and ACR to Photoshop and converted to B/W using one of the presets which seems to provide the best contrast.

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This is the road to an old Dorset bridge near Sturminster Marshall (White Mill Bridge). The sky this morning was superb!

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Here’s the Mill – taken from the same location as the lens tests earlier in the year. The vegetation has well and truly taken over and reflecting IR like crazy.

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Slightly different view and a nice contrast between the bright greenery and the shadows.

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Finally the bridge from the other side – the signpost is nice and sharp so all in all a good result.

If I can only leave the IR filter at home I’ll try to take some normal shots soon…..

Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

Sony RX100 does a few more infrareds….

A few more shots from a very good compact camera  with a Hoya R72 filter.

Experimenting with a few different settings, this was taken in JPEG B/W mode then converted in DXO filmpack using a high contrast Ortho film setting. ISO 800 f1.8 at 1/30 of a second in mixed bright/overcast light (the contrast through an R72 filter is very low).

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Next , same settings and a good result shot in RAW and converted to DNG format using ACR RAW converter, then desaturated in red/magenta channels along with a contrast boost.

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Just got to nail the focus and it’s done. This camera should prove to be an excellent carry around camera – worth every penny!

Thanks for looking – hope you like them.

Sony RX100 Does Infrared (First Attempt)….

Just traded in a Canon G9, a Oly EPL3 and a spare OM2n body to raise funds for a new Sony RX100 – and it’s very good so far. So if anyone’s wondering if you can shoot infrared with one the answer is yes!

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A much more subtle range of tones than the Fuji F810 I usually use – not surprising as the Sony’s sensor is huge by comparison with the tiny one in the Fuji.

The R72 filter is just held over the front over the lens, and after a bit of experimentation a +1 exposure compensation and ISO of 400 to 800 ASA allows hand-held exposures at 28mm at f1.8 on a sunny day. Focus is a bit hit and miss. Shooting RAW allows for the inevitable post processing.

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There’s a slight hot spot’ of brightness in the centre but it’s easily edited out. Processing consisting of de-saturating the red and magenta channels (there’s no other colour information).

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In addition to the IR R72 filter, carrying a three stop neutral density filter in a shirt pocket allows the use of the widest apertures in bright conditions for ‘normal’ photography – the minimum shutter speed is 1/2000 th of a second.

Up close the IR results are grainier than a ‘normal’ shot, but at 20MP it’s nowhere near as noticeable as using a 12MP sensor.

With a bit of practice this should be a tiny, versatile camera in conjunction with the two filters.

Hope you find this useful – thanks for looking!

Sunlight at Last – Infrareds!

Something like summer has finally arrived in the UK, and so its infrared season again – here are a few from the archive.

This first one was taken on a Sony R1 with an R72 filter and a tripod – toned slightly to give it a more dramatic tone. That curving railing really leads the eye on to the main subject.

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infrared church

Next the converted Fuji 810 which soldiers on year after year allowing hand-held IR on a sunny day at base ISOs – pity it’s not more than 12 Mp! Although I prefer IR film, the ability to just pack this small camera with a filter into a trip and shoot without a tripod allows for a lot more IR shots.

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Sony R1 again – and a rare IR shot which turned out as I’d imagined!

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Finally the Fuji again and a dark stormy sky on a walk out near the coast. This took a lot of post processing! 00129793

All shots for the book cover market – thanks for looking and hope you like them!