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Invisible Light - Infrared ..... 1 or 2 sheets to the wind?........ (Part 2)

I really wasn't sure there would be a part 2 to my initial look at Infrared photography but ....just about ..there is. It is with interest that I have properly scanned all 3 sharp images from last week, but in the end only one has worked to any real degree.

The Negative


I have been extremely preoccupied with non-photographic commitments for the last 2 weeks and it has taken a massive effort to get round to scanning the 3 viable negatives of the 4 I made 2 weeks ago.


Scanning was difficult as the film is very thin and flimsy and the much thought about and recently discussed "glass based" scanning holder is now on order although it will be yet another homemade solution thanks to a discussion with twitter legend, @Balzac's Dad, who has sourced some affordable acrylic sheets that can be cut to order, and for me, just need to be shimmed to the right height above the scanner head to get best sharpness with the negatives held flat onto the acrylic.....with lighter fluid. This in mind, means that the images shown here may not be the final versions !




The negative above, was the most viable after scanning and was the one where I deliberately gave it an extra stop of exposure. As I went on to develop in perceptol (which generally speaking, is said to need the negative exposed by an extra stop) this was a fortuitous decision and one which goes into my data bank of "things I know about Rollei 400 IR film" and "developed with perceptol". The other 2 sharp negatives have proved difficult to get good tones from and this is something I am looking at in order to get the best I can from them, but my gut feeling is....it's just going to be this one from this batch. (You can see in the image above the curl of the film as it wasn't lying flat on the light box. The flatbed scanned image is much flatter than this ....but still a noticeable "drooping" of the negative in the middle where it hangs down due to gravity.


(In reality, I could start working on a portable, light weight anti-gravity field generator and use this in tandem with the scanner, but in order to do this I would have to put aside my research on coming up with a viable portable and light weight wormhole generator, and that is something that I am not prepared to do, so a sheet of acrylic it shall be!)




That's what Wikipedia says about infrared film and photography and is the thing I should have read before I tried it .....but it has piqued my interest sufficiently to be ordering a box of Rollei IR 400 and a filter for later use..... possibly in a pinhole camera.....


Given my previous discussions on aphantasia and the lack of an ability to picture in my mind, or to imagine with pictures, I probably need to have a set of conditions to go out and try IR again in and learn from a higher baseline next time. I did note though that IR film also detects chlorophyll fluorescence..... so maybe a very long exposure in non-perfect IR conditions would be worth a go...... just to see what it looks like.

The Image


I noticed a distinct increase in grain compared to my normal FP4+ usage. This is hardly surprising as it's; a) film, and b) it is ISO 400. The grain though was pleasant and unobtrusive and only really visible when viewed at 100%. Also evident was less contrast than I expected, but given it was my first use and there were so many unknowns in my process to get to the final scan, there may well be many things that I did that led to this and only time will tell !


The image below has been cropped a little, tweaked for contrast and has had some light dodging and burning and is the final image......for now. I will undoubtedly scan this one again as scanning is an area I am looking at in my process at the moment as I have overlooked the potential gains from being able to make really good scans for too long now!






I do quite like this one and the file is pretty good, certainly the pixel count means it will print at about 40 x 32 inches, but a sharper cleaner scan will mean it will print that little bit better at 40 x 32 inches.

My first foray into Large Format IR photography and 1 out of the 4 images works for me with 2 more that may work if I can get the scan perfect, so not a bad return really.


My definition - Infrared Photography : Capturing photons on film that are "invisible" to the eye because they resonate too slowly to excite the retina enough to send messages via the optic nerve. Can look really good if you get it right.


Thanks for reading !

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