NOTE: I was originally going to write this piece to correspond with the first day of Fall, but since most everyone has been experiencing high temperatures, I didn’t think anyone would appreciate it until now.
According to Greek Mythology, We get Fall because the daughter Zeus and Demeter was abducted by Hades, and Demeter fell into a great depression, which made made things on Earth wither and die. If you are like many photographers this also the time of year when your photography also starts to wither away. Now I will admit that I definitely like Spring and Summer best. I am not a fan of cooler weather and I hate any time the term “wind chill factor” is used. I had an online student this week tell me that once Falls starts she puts her Infrared camera away because there is nothing to shoot. I told her that she is missing out on some great opportunities for images. There are some great shot to be had during the Fall in Infrared.
Here’s some suggestions.
1. There is beauty in all stages of life
Yes, plant life is dying off but there is a beauty in that. A rose at the end has way more texture and uniqueness to it. The rose above would not draw much attention in color, but in Infrared it is interesting. The same can be said for a sunflower. The trick with something like this is use a narrow depth of field and try and capture the image when there is even light with no shadows. Then selectively sharpen the main subject matter and allow the background to stay soft.
2. Try adding a texture layer to your images
One of the advantages of Fall landscapes is the amount of texture to everything. Since most of the foliage and landscape of Fall is all about texture, why not take it a step further and add a texture layer to your Infrared image?
Many Fall images lend them selves to texture layers.
The process is not difficult and involves taking a image with texture and blending it with your Fall scene. Peeling paint, cracked or torn paper, fabric, anything with texture can work. I keep a folder of texture images and you can find many royalty free texture images online. The trick is to pick a texture layer that fits the scene you are working with.
Adding a texture layer can take an average image and give it a totally different feel.
I wrote a blog piece a while back on working with textures and if you’d like to learn this process with a quick walk through you can view it here: Adding Texture to Your IR Images
*UPDATE * 10/19/16 I found this deal to download free texture files. I don’t know how long it will last, so try it now. Click here
3. Alter Your Perspective
They’ve said in Business that “You attitude affects your Altitude”, but sometimes in photography the reverse is true. Try changing changing your camera height to alter your perspective on a scene and you may find that scene has a different feel to it. A child sees the world from a very low height and if you use that perspective the world has a very different look.
Step out of your usual approach to an image and try something you might not otherwise consider. As children we used to flop down in the leaves with no regard for … anything. As adults we would never do that! Try it, look around, things ARE different. Shoot that.
I shot this image above while laying on my back. I had to reshoot it a second time because I had my feet in the shot the first time. In retrospect, I probably should have use the one with my feet in. Here’s another approach: rather than shooting a wide expansive landscape, capture a close up part of it.
I was looking for my next shot when I dropped my lens cap. I was amazed how incredible this one leaf looked in amongst the others. Leaves are like snowflakes, no two are alike. Now in post production I did sharpen this main leaf in this image to help it stand out even more, then added an edge frame, just because.
4. Try a mirror image
Have you ever tried a mirror image? They are not that tough, and sometimes the results can surprise you. Take a look at this one.
This never would have worked in Summer. And for the record, I did not add the face within in the upside down heart; it just began apparent after I mirrored the image. Trees are great for mirror images because the branches look so interesting. Here’s another one.
I shot this at a golf course and it was … okay. Mirroring it gave it more to look at and has the feel of a lake or pond. The process of creating a mirror image is simple and you can learn those steps in my Mirroring post.
5. Make use of Seasonal Decorations
The cool part about Fall is that nearly everywhere you look someone has Fall decorations out. Remember that in Infrared so many things look different.
Both of these pumpkins were shot in Super Color Infrared. The foliage kept it’s color, but the pumpkins turned white. The left image I sharpened everything to bring out the textures; the right image I only sharpened the hay and let everything else go soft. The trick with Fall Decorations is to once again alter your perspective. Most people just walk by and look at them from a downward angle. Try lowering your camera height to get a different look.
Take a look at this one. I was going to meet a friend at the Visitors Center in a local park when saw this set up, and quickly shot it.
They did all the work for me. I tried a couple of angles and later ended up with this.
This image was cropped and processed, but I didn’t have to do anything for the set up, except shoot it.
One side note: It’s one thing to shoot a decorated scene in a public place. If you see a scene on private property, ask permission first. If you start by complimenting them on the piece they made, most people will be thrilled that you want to photograph what they made.
So, basically what I am saying is don’t stop shooting IR now that everything is changing. Focus on changing what you are doing and don’t miss what could be a great shot. Fall is a great time shoot Infrared.
– Oh, and if you’d like to learn how to create any of the images in this piece, consider taking an Online Training Session with me.