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Book Review: Digital Infrared Photography By Cyrill Harnischmacher

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Infrared Photography is the practice of recording that part of the light spectrum that is referred to as infrared. Infrared light is outside the range of what the human eye can see, but with the digital camera we are now able to not only block the visible part of light, but see the invisible, infrared, part of the light spectrum. Artists have been using infrared film and filter techniques since back in the 1960s, but now with the digital innovations available to us in our new technologies, we have many more opportunities to experiment with this medium.

The goal of Digital Infrared Photography is to not only show you the beauty of infrared photography, but teach you how to shoot this type of photography with your digital camera. Digital Infrared Photography is 112 pages in length and covers five sections.

Section 1, "Theory," examines some of the history of infrared photography and takes a look at how it has been greatly simplified since the introduction of digital cameras. Then you will look at some of the basic principles of infrared and what uses there are for this style of photography.

Section 2, "Equipment," next takes a look at what kind of camera one needs for infrared and what other equipment is necessary. In this section you will learn how to perform a test to determine your camera's suitability for infrared and then you will see what other items are necessary or desirable for pursuing this type of photography.

Section 3, "Specialty Cameras," looks at the aspect of what can be used beyond production cameras. That is, a camera that has had its infrared blocker removed. Canon owners also have the option of using a clip filter system which can also be used for astrophotography. Also discussed are the pros and cons of various optimized infrared cameras.

Section 4, "Practical Aspects," now examines the technical aspects of digital infrared photography. This includes the file types, ISO settings, white balance, aperture and shutter speeds, and hotspots. Also examined is a comparison of infrared filters.

Section 5, "The Digital Darkroom," shows that in just about all cases post processing needs to be done when working in infrared. Here you will work with Black and White conversion, grayscale conversion, color levels, and how to optimize your pictures by using levels. There is even an examination of color infrared photography.

Digital Infrared Photography makes for a very good introduction to the subject of infrared photography. It nicely transitions from the technical topics of what infrared photography is, through what equipment you need, to the last third of the book focusing on the digital darkroom.

Digital Infrared Photography also has a lot of beautifully done images as well. These images serve as examples of what can be accomplished. Is this a complete book of infrared photography? No, this book will only give you an introduction into the field. If you are new to infrared, and are looking for a book that will give you a start into this type of photography, then I can easily recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.