For the final day, I had something else in mind than this faux infrared treatment. But that all changed last night when I heard Chuck Hunnicut's presentation at the Morton Arboretum Photographic Society (MAPS for short). Chuck was talking about infrared photography, including details about light waves, camera modifications and filters, and post-processing treatments.
If you are not familiar with this style of photography, infrared is part of the light spectrum that is not visible to the human eye. With modifications, both film and digital cameras can capture these light waves and create an image that we can see. Straight out of the camera, the colors are mostly magenta or light magenta, depending on how your camera was modified. The most striking result is that green foliage comes out white. In some cases, post-processing techniques can be used to bring out shades of yellow, pink, or red on the foliage, or browns, oranges, and blues in the sky and background.
But what if you don't have access to an infrared camera? Can you simulate the same effect digitally with a normal image? Some say no, others say yes. At least you can approximate the look. So that is what I set out to do. After watching several online tutorials, each with its own bag of tricks, I decided to try it out on my bonsai (the image, not the plant itself). Convert to black and white, add multiple layers to swap colors and adjust hues, experiment to see what happens. Every image is different, and this one was not the most suitable for this technique. My initial try ended up a very sad mess of yellow and grey-tones. So after watching a few more tutorials, I ended up with this version. I opted to change the background to a de-saturated bluish tint instead of the muted beige. Instead of white needles, I went more towards the red, which seems to be somewhat trendy these days in the infrared world.
So, stepping out of my comfort zone, experimenting with new techniques, I think this was a fitting end to my twelve day challenge. I don't think of it as one of my best works, but that was not the point of this exercise.
On this final day of the challenge, let me remind you that the fotoMuses "Potpourri" exhibit will be coming very soon to the Elmhurst Art Museum. Add Friday evening, February 7 on your calendar for the opening reception. More details will be coming.
Oh yes, and please do stay tuned for the selection of the Final Four. If you have favorites, I would love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I am printing out mini-versions of all twelve, and will be shuffling them around on my work-table to see which four work best together.