Moonlit yard, with the odd colors of full spectrum photography

Full Spectrum Photography: Moonlit Night

We photographed a moonlit night with a full-spectrum modified camera. The camera is a Fuji IS Pro, which is a Nikon D200 with the hot mirror removed. The hot mirror filters infrared light. Nikon digital sensors are (or were, at least in the days of the D200 and before) very sensitive to infrared light. Infrared light contamination reduces contrast even though it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Digital cameras have a special glass filter over the sensor to reduce this light. On the Fuji IS Pro, this glass has been removed to allow the camera to capture infrared (and ultraviolet) light.

A camera that has been modified in this way is typically used with filters to isolate the light wavelengths desired, e.g. infrared or ultraviolet or normal visible light. However, the camera can be used as a full spectrum camera if no filters are added. In daylight, it gives some pretty weird colors that look like spoiled film or an Instagram filter, with a lot of pink. I’ll post a few soon. Tonight I experimented with using the unfiltered Fuji IS Pro in moonlight. We had a full moon on a good snow cover. A tripod was essential, of course. The subject is my back yard.

I found it interesting that the full spectrum coloration was remarkably realistic in the moonlight. There was very little of the pink cast that daylight, unfiltered images have. I’ve played with the colors a little in post-processing to make them a little more vivid, but not much. The color and contrast reminds me of Kodachrome vacation slides from the 1970s. The image is not very sharp. I focused with the viewfinder manually; my several tries were all a tad off. Now that I think about it, I should have stopped down to f/11 to try to gain the sharpness back. I’m still learning my way around this camera and UVIR photography.

For comparison, see what happens when I turn the floodlights on; this camera really soaks up the infrared!

Images taken with a FUji IS Pro UVIR; Nikon 18-55mm VR; Manfrotto tripod. Camera in Program mode; ISO 200, f/3.5; exposure on featured image 25 seconds.

Floodlights bathe the scene in white

Same scene as above, but with the floodlights lit.