Grand Canyon: Isolated Rain

Hey, it’s raining over there! One cool thing about photography in the Grand Canyon is that you can see so far, that you can see one type of weather in one direction, and different weather in another. Even better, you never have to worry if there might be a building or a parking lot in the shot. The vistas are amazing and varied as you look in many directions. (The only problem that you just can’t fix is the haze created by car exhaust in nearby cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.)

This Infrared Photograph, shot in the morning sun into the Grand Canyon from the North Rim shows a towering cloud and an isolated shower. The shape and texture of the cloud competes for visual attention with the amazing land formations beneath it.

I enjoy digital Infrared photography for the high contrast images that can be made in processing. The best condition to get great results with an Infrared-converted camera is a sunny day. I’m glad I packed my Infrared camera with a wide angle lens for this Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon, Infrared, cloud
Dramatic clouds form over the Grand Canyon, as seen from the North Rim, while a rain shower is visible on the left in this Infrared photograph.

Grand Canyon in Infrared

I enjoy shooting Infrared landscape photographs, and processing them to create some high contrast black and white images. Here is one infrared photograph taken from the North Rim of the Bright Angel fault.

Shooting Infrared, you will get the best results in bright sunlight, so conditions were perfect on this sunny morning. Puffy clouds always add interest to the sky.

I use a separate Sony mirrorless digital camera for Infrared photography: one that has been converted for the “SuperColor” light range by Lifepixel.com.

Grand Canyon, Bright Angel, Infrared
The Bright Angel Fault of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim.

Lower Manhattan from the Edge

“The Edge”is a new outdoor viewing platform, 100 stories high in midtown Manhattan (New York City). You can find this building in Hudson Yards, at the terminus of the Subway #7, right next to the iconic sculpture “The Vessel.”

In the morning with the sun rising over the East River, your best view is to the south: lower Manhattan. The Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the skyline, recently built on the World Trade Center site, dominates the view. In the distance, see the Verrazano Narrows bridge and the entrance to New York harbor. Locals will recognize many details in this tightly packed neighborhood of skyscrapers.

While this day featured a brilliant blue sky, the black and white photograph seemed to me the best way to focus on the shapes and detail of the skyline. This image can be printed as a large print: such as 40″ wide.

New York City, Manhattan, Edge
Lower Manhattan, financial capital of the modern world, as seen from the Edge, New York City.

“Veni Vidi” Lightning

We traveled to the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season with the hope of seeing some dramatic lightning. If Mother Nature gave us her best, we aimed to capture it on camera. Mother Nature gave us a great show, and we got what we came for. The moment reminds me of Julius Caesar’s famous line, “veni, vidi, vici.”

Grand Canyon lightning
After sunset, the Grand Canyon was robed in darkness, but dramatic lightning struck to the west, seen from Hopi Point on the North Rim.

Lightning at the Grand Canyon

My first attempts to capture lightning in a photograph have met with success, thanks to some spectacular storms firing across the Canyon from my vantage point, and a sophisticated device that triggers my camera shutter in time to capture it.

It was after sunset last night, and the canyon below us was getting quite dark. Check out these lightning forks.

Lightning at the Grand Canyon, seen from Hopi Point after sunset.
Lightning pierces storm cloud at the Grand Canyon, west of Hopi Point after sunset.

Cape Cod Memories

Back in the good old days, we rented a cottage on Cape Cod near this salt marsh. In those days, we biked the trails and spent our days on the beach and some evenings at the drive-in movie theatre. Returning to this land of great memories last week, I focused on a new aspect of the area — the quiet salt marsh at sunset.

In this stage of my life, I have devoted my time to landscape photography, and I’ve become intrigued with the artistic possibilities of Infrared photography. I drove past this marsh earlier in the day, only to be drawn back for a second look before the sun set.

blackandwhite, landscape photography
Salt Marsh in Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts at sunset, an Infrared Super Color photograph by Cathy Kelly. Prints available upon request.

Everglades in Infrared

Processing a digital infrared image requires experimentation. Once the image has been captured, it can be rendered in many different ways. I adjust the hue, saturation and lightness of each color one at a time and make several other technical changes — like channel swapping, levels and curve adjustments. Let’s just say that processing is a lot like cooking. The chef adjusts according to taste.

Everglades
A colorful and unrealistic infrared photograph from Shark Valley, Everglades National Park.
Everglades
Infrared photograph rendered in black and white, depicting wind in the Everglades.

Why Infrared Photography Works in Florida

Green foliage, blue skies and bright sunlight are daily staples in southwest Florida, and all three of these elements combine to make strong infrared photographs. While the look of the final image and final print will vary with your processing style, green foliage can read as white, blue skies will go dark, and bright sunlight produces high contrast. If you like black and white prints, these qualities of an infrared photo will deliver greater contrast and drama than traditional film or digital photography.

Here is a recent infrared photograph that I captured at the Naples Botanical Garden on a sunny afternoon and processed to black and white, achieving the contrast I strive for.

Sunlit palms at Naples Botanical Garden, an infrared photograph by Cathy Kelly. Prints available.

Can You See in the Dark?

As an artist, I’m inspired to experiment. And so on a sunny afternoon in South Florida, I captured this infrared photograph in a pine forest.

This Infrared photograph, made on a sunny afternoon, simulates a nighttime walk in the woods. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, east of Naples Florida, 2021. (Copyright Cathy Kelly.)

Infrared photography is a ripe medium for experimentation, as I find so many choices are available in processing. Shall I go black/white, blue/white, cyan/orange? To fully embrace infrared photography, which only captures invisible light above the red spectrum, you need to let go of reality as your eye defines it. Then, you are free to see the world in a brand new way.

To see more infrared photography and order a print, please visit my website at www.cathykellyphotography.com.

Color Me Orange

The delicate curve and pattern of this palm branch and its sharp shadow that echoes on the ground drew me over to photograph this patch of ground. I chose to isolate these elements to emphasize the shapes I noticed.

Infrared photograph of a palmetto branch and its shadow at Naples Botanical Garden in southwest Florida. Infrared enables the use of high contrast and a single hue that stands out against black and white for an artistic interpretation of the scene.

When it came time to process this infrared photograph, I slid the hue for the foliage over to a hot orange. The hot orange against the white shelly gravel spoke to me about the heat of the tropics. It was a hot afternoon in sunny southwest Florida, the perfect time of day for a high contrast infrared capture.