Colorado Rockies in Infrared
This infrared photograph was made on a bright sunny day around 4 O’clock in the afternoon. Driving South through The Colorado Rockies, I will usually take the back roads for all the reasons a photographer will take the slower route. As a visual artist one must enjoy the simple pleasure of just seeing. Taking your time, forgetting about the everyday pressures that life can impose on us and thus stifle the process of creativity.
When viewing a scene like this I can close my eyes and imagine the scene in black and white. I have been asked on numerous occasions why I don’t photograph in color. I think color is a wonderful element in art, which can add emotion and be very pleasing to view. Bu,t to find an image that is graphically and strong in composition, then color can detract from the abstract qualities of a scene. Often an image made in black and white won’t work in color but more often the opposite is true.
The time was about 2 pm and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The light value in the sky was the same as the top of the mountain. Making the image at this time would have resulted in a negative difficult to print with satisfactory separation between these two values. I made a small detail photograph around 3 pm after which I noticed a few small clouds developing to the West. My interest was peaked as the clouds increased and I was glad I decided to stay there and explore the area for a while.
I began to set up my tripod and installed my 5 x 7 camera. While installing the lens on the front lens board I began to think about the light value of the trees on the edge of the lake. It was the same as the mountains. My separation problem had now been reversed.
Fortunately in my film bag I had 3 backs of 4 x 5 infrared film. This looked like a good time to put it to use. The main difference between infrared film and T-max or Tri-x film, is IR film records reflected and transmitted infrared radiation, in addition to visible light. The chlorophyll in a healthy green plant or tree reflects infrared radiation. Knowing this it made sense that the green trees would become much brighter in the final print. More in line with the way I had pre-visualized the scene an hour ago.
I quickly changed my 5 x 7 back on my camera to the 4 x 5 back. This was necessary because IR film is made in 35mm and 4 x 5 sheet size. Not 5 x 7. The Deardorff camera was designed to simply remove the 5 x 7 back and reinstall a 4 x 5 back. One camera with two film formats – I must say the engineering and design of the Deardorff camera is outstanding. I am grateful to the designer that engineered this camera.
Now with the lens wide open I was back under the dark-cloth to adjust my focus, and make final adjustments to the composition. Clouds were now rolling in fast and the lighting was changing rapidly.
I adjusted my ISO to 200 on my light meter and determined my exposure.
Compensated 3 stops for the deep red filter I use with infrared film.
Placing the darkest area of the mountainside on Zone III the final exposure was determined to be – ½ sec at f-45.
The negative was developed in D-76 straight.
About the Print of the Month
The Print of the Month is a new print offered at an early-edition discount. Normal pricing must apply once the print is offered by a gallery.
The Print of the Month is a silver gelatin print, each one created by hand using traditional darkroom methods.
Prints are limited to 50 per edition.
Typically the Print of the Month is made from a T-Max 100 negative, which is processed in D-76 mixed 1:1.
Each fine art print is made by hand using Ilford-based double weight paper.
The prints are double fixed and selenium toned for longevity. They are then washed in a vertical print washer to completely eliminate any residue. Prints are carefully allowed to dry for two days. Next, each print is mounted on museum quality archival mat boards with acid-free mounting tissue. Although each print takes a considerable amount of time and meticulous effort, this archival printing and mounting process is the only way to ensure print permanence and collectability. Give it proper care and your print will last hundreds of years without fading.
My signature and the print number are visible on the mat, below the print.
The Print of the Month offers a 50% savings off the normal investment.