A Return to Infrared

A Return to Infrared

By |2013-02-16T15:03:18+00:00Feb 16th, 2013|

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About a year after I purchased my Canon 5D Mark II in 2008, I converted my older Canon 40D to infrared. I sent the camera off to a CT-based company, where they applied a 665nm glass filter to achieve a Color IR conversion. The result is a camera that produces images in a way that I’ve never seen before… and presents challenges that I never really expected.

If you were to see the raw image produced with this camera, you’d likely notice that it has a strong red tint to it. This is as designed. The problem for me is that I really can’t discern that red at all being colorblind. Thankfully, red really isn’t even the issue, though, because the first step I take is to adjust the color channels in Photoshop using the Channel Mixer. But still, reviewing these initial images can be very frustrating because a lot of the times, I find it difficult to discern the difference in tone due to the strong presence of red.

I ended up letting my 40D sit on a shelf for years. I don’t know why but I was discouraged from using it. Until, that is, Cameron Siguenza showed up to Portland (and subsequently, Bandon) with his converted IR camera. I believe his was a Canon T3i. Looking through his Live View and seeing a whole new Infrared world immediately jogged my eagerness to grab my 40D and get cracking again.

During our time in Bandon, I made it a point to grab my 40D and have some fun with it. All of the shots were handheld because I didn’t have a proper Arca Swiss plate to use with my beloved Really Right Stuff tripod. I’ve since remedied that. :)

So for now, here is a view of the Bandon Ocean Wayside as taken from the parking lot of a very scenic overview.

In terms of processing
The most accurate description I could give here was that I made some significant adjustments to the Red value in the Blue channel and the Blue value in the Red channel using the Photoshop Channel Mixer. This helped me get to the base look.

Next, I fiddled with the temperature and tint of the image using Lightroom 4.3 and then finished off the final touches with the remaining tools in the Develop Module.

[map w=”745″ h=”185″ lat=”43.10510″ lon=”-124.43409″ marker=”yes” z=”17″ maptype=”SATELLITE”]


  1. Dave Condit February 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I've been using a converted p&s, but I'd love to have a dslr that I could convert. Enjoy it! BTW, how do you even manage this being color blind?

  2. Brad Buckmaster February 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Fascinating process, just curious how much was it to convert the 40D to infrared?

  3. Brian Matiash February 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    +Brad Buckmaster Here is the vendor who I went through. Because it is a cropped sensor, it cost me $259 + S&H.


    +Dave Condit I just focus on getting the right composition and exposure settings. I then sort out the actual look in post.

  4. Brad Buckmaster February 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Thanks +Brian Matiash!

  5. Tai Mi February 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    it's amazing what you can create without seeing spectrum of colour that many others can.
    i really like the section in the foreground on the right. the details! woo!

  6. Martin Bluhm February 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    I am shooting a lot of infrared photos with my IR-converted 5D MkII camera. Instead of the color-IR filter which you have, I decided to use the 715 nm cutoff filter. I personally like the B&W converted IR photos better than the ones with false colors.

  7. Guy Parkes February 16, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash  I thought I was a rarity being red green color blind as a photographer, I now feel very distinguished to be in the sma e club as you, one of the reasons I chose landscapes and seascapes as colors don't have to be perfect as they would for styles of photography. In fact this is what turned me away from photography in the chemical processing days as i thought my faulty color sight would hinder me to much but i now find using digital tools I am now back in love with photography and post processing. 
    This brings up a point do we all see the world the same , I don't think so just looking at the great range of photographs on G+ I tink everyones vision of the world is unique .
    Anyway happy to be part of your clan

  8. Eileen O'Sullivan February 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Wow! Gorgeous!

  9. Terrell Woods February 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Welcome to planet Somewhere

  10. Shahrukh Khan February 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Nice view !

  11. Boris Manic February 17, 2013 at 1:43 am - Reply


  12. Ananya Jafa February 17, 2013 at 2:53 am - Reply


  13. Edwin Chibanga February 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Am still stuck at you being color blind … Nice work though …

  14. Yvonne Tao February 19, 2013 at 7:54 am - Reply

    ╭(╯ε╰)╮amazing blue

  15. Eileen O'Sullivan February 19, 2013 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Good to know. My new camera is a very good quality. But not what you pros use. It a great starter. Panasonic Lumix. DMC LZ0K. 16.1MEGA PIXEL and 21times optical zoom digital. It's very helpful that all of you share passion and inspiration to all who are new to. Thank you.

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