Beauty of High Contrast

Having admired the landscape photography of Clyde Butcher, I love to create my own photographs of tropical Florida with high contrast. Infrared photography is one method to use in making high-contrast images.

This Infrared photograph emphasizes the texture of the spikes foreground shrubs, while contrasting a mostly monochrome scene with vivid blue of the lake and sky.

An Infrared photograph can be processed in many ways. It is the artist’s choice to use white, yellow or magenta for the green foliage, and to dial in a light or dark hue of blue or cyan in the sky and water. Of course, the image can also be rendered in pure black, white and midtowns. Does this recipe work for you?

Creative Possibilities

Having converted a Sony mirrorless camera (a6300) to “Infared and SuperColor,” I’m now learning how to process these odd images. When you capture an image with infared light and visible light only 590 nanometers and up, you get some unique color effects, so you need to adjust white balance, swap blue and red, set white and black points, adjust the tonality of each color and adjust hue and saturation. While that sounds like a ridiculous amount of work, the process becomes interesting because you learn about what each individual color (red, green and blue) is doing and how each individual color looks as it interacts with the others.

While you may or may not find that color study interesting, you will probably like the creative possibilities in the different results one can achieve. Here are some examples:

greyscale infared photograph
This image is essentially black and white with a blue filter applied. Processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. Infared is known for giving you the raw material for a high contrast greyscale image.
Infared photograph
I like the effect of showing the foliage as white while rendering the sky in a deep blue hue. I find it ethereal.
Infared photograph
Since I like images that are somewhat realistic, and I love Fall color, I also like to render the foliage as yellow or golden, while maintaining the sky an attractive shade of blue. I could render the foliage as light pink or magenta, but that’s not my style.

Thank you, America

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans! What a beautiful holiday that brings families together to give thanks. I feel very thankful for my family, my wide and wonderful network of great friends and for this beautiful country where we live in peace and prosperity. Certainly we must pray for peace and prosperity for all people around the world today.

I want to share with you this scene we discovered on a vibrant autumnal afternoon in western New York. My family enjoyed our first visit to Letchworth State Park at the height of fall foliage. How fortunate we were to arrive at this waterfall in the late afternoon.

Most of the time I plan my photo shoots: time of year, time of day. This visit to Letchworth State Park in western New York was serendipitous. Good karma circling back to me during a visit to in-laws.

Destination, Ohiopyle

Pittsburghers don’t have to travel far to find great places to kayak, bike and hike. The fall foliage, waterfalls and white water of the Youghiogheny River are just 90 minutes from Pittsburgh and can be easily accessed from several directions: approach from I-76 or I-70 and old Route 40.

#kayak, #foliage, #youghiogheny, #laurelhighlands, #ohiopyle, #recreation, #october, #pittsburgh, #pennsylvania
Just downstream from Cucumber Falls, kayakers navigate the white water of the Youghiogheny.

The town of Ohiopyle is a mecca for bike, raft and kayak rentals as well as parking, bike trails and restaurants. This October it is just warm enough, just cool enough and plenty scenic!

A More Colorful Time

Today Nature is giving us bare trees and gray skies in the Pittsburgh region. I’m thinking back on a more colorful day at Sewickley Heights Park. I captured a photo of the foliage lining Tortilla Flats. Today I made a painting out of it with Topaz Impression. Does this painting make you feel a bit brighter inside?

#topaz, #foliage, #sewickley, #fall, #autumn, #pennsylvania
Foliage at Sewickley Heights Park. Memories of a brighter day in Pennsylvania