Monday, March 21, 2011

IR photography

As I sit here writing this, my Canon AE-1 is mounted on a tripod, loaded with Ilford SFX 200 black & white infrared sensitive film, with a Red #25 filter, in bulb mode, shutter open at f/11 and aimed at the Big Dipper. I can't be certain of the outcome, not tonight, not even this week. I will only know what exposure I've made once all 36 frames have been exposed and I am able to make it to the photo lab in Grubbs Hall at Pittsburg State University, Kansas. I chose to work with film this semester so I could further discipline myself as a photographer. With a digital camera, I can know almost immediately if I forgot to change my ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance or some other setting. I figure if I am shooting up an $8 roll of film, I will be more careful of these settings. However, I am teaching myself to shoot the infrared based on what I can find online. Most of the information I have found so far has been for digital cameras, though.
I got the idea to shoot the stars from my time in the Army. While stationed at Ft. Benning, I was made "front gate NCO (non-commissioned officer.) Essentially, I was in charge of a squad of soldiers who provided security at the front gate. We were issued NVGs (night vision goggles) so we could be alert of "enemy" troops who might attempt some sort of tomfoolery. We were not usually provided with such luxuries, so we played around with them. I decided to check out the stars with a pair and was amazed at what I saw. Either the display was very snowy, or I was seeing a field full of stars. We all know there are more stars in space than we can see with the naked eye. Also, once we get away from the city lights we can see more stars than normal. I'm hoping that the red filter is strong enough to mute the ambient light and that the film is sensitive enough to "see" the stars that we can't.

No comments:

Post a Comment