Cemetery Vaults Infrared

Infrared Cemetery

Today’s One Picture project was not intended to be gloomy, but somehow that’s what happens when photographing in cemeteries. Today I wanted to play more with infrared and the FujiFilm IS Pro UVIR DSLR. I went to a cemetery near my house. My intention was to take some shots of the huge old trees there, that stand apart from each other in many places. But, being a cemetery, there’s lots of other interesting views. My other goal was to explore the black-and-white clarity that you can get from infrared. However, in the end, I could not resist dabbling in false color.

Cemetry Grave Roots B infrared scottdetwiler-com

Cemetery Tree Infrared scottdetwiler-com

Cemetery Lords Prayer Infrared scottdetwiler-com

Cemetery Grave Roots A infrared scottdetwiler-com

Cemetery Broken Vaults Infrared scottdetwiler-com



The thing about infrared is that we cannot see it. When you take a picture using infrared light, the camera is essentially “dumbing down” the wavelengths for you into the frequencies that you can see. Therefore, whatever color you get is a fiction. So, the sky is the limit in post-processing. Whatever looks good to you! Visible light photography is a bit more circumspect about manipulating colors. There is a threshold that’s hard to define that leaves photography and strays into interpretation. In infrared, it’s all interpretation, baby! For example, in the two views of this grave marker at the base of a gnarled, thick-rooted, the color scheme turned out a little different between in each one.

The view of a large tree in the cemetery is a closer to what I get in camera using my FujiFilm IS Pro UVIR with a custom white balance based on green grass in infrared. Without setting the white balance, the camera tends to give us a lot of heavy red and pink. If you shoot RAW, that can be adjusted in post-processing. In this Cemetery Tree shot, I decided to keep a little pink cast. By the way, Aperture does not handle FujiFilm RAW from the IS Pro; I have to open the RAW file in Gimp using the uf-raw plugin, save as a TIFF then import into Aperture. A hassle, but it works.

The Lords Prayer Monument is taken in infrared, but desaturated to black and white. That’s a common use for infrared images; black and white images made this was can have a really strong impression of clarity. I was trying to get that in the Cemetery Tree, but the auto-focus just was not cooperating at that distance. Because you cannot see through the infrared filter, you must take a shot or two, then preview, and try again until you get it right. Plus, the auto-focus can get a little confused when trying to focus a distant object, though it really does a nice job with closer subjects. I did not have a lot of luck with my long-distance shots; the Cemetery Tree turned out a little soft, but it still makes a nice image in the end. I had a bunch of other tree shots, but because of the distant focus issue most did not work out. There are ways around that, but it takes a tripod and some other gadgetry; I was not in the mood. Our final shot below is back to false color. For this one and the other false colored images above, I didn’t necessarily have a color goal going in; I just tinkered with settings until something reached out and…grabbed me.