Infrared Camera Conversion, My Journey – Part 2

I was able to resolve the issue preventing me from creating Raw files. The Fuji XT series has the menu option “Image Quality” and that is where you tell the camera to produce Raw files. I’ve been shooting with Fuji since 2014 and am well aware of that required step. I checked that menu item 3 times over a period of several days and the menu item wasn’t there. The 4th time I checked it, the option was there. I assume it was the pesky squirrels that raid our bird food.

Selecting the proper white balance can impact the output of post processing significantly. My experience with my Fuji XT-3 follows. The first thing I noticed was that, in my camera, the Temperature and Tint settings on the Raw file were shifted far to the left; so far, in fact, that I had little room to adjust. The JPEG file had those settings pegged at zero. I have seen suggestions to set-up a specific color profile in the camera. In my experiments with a custom white balance color profile, the setting modifies JPEG files properly. However, it does not modify the Raw files even though it appears to when you look at the pictures in playback mode. That seemed a bit strange to me because I sometimes choose the daylight or cloudy day preset when I shoot in the visible light range. Oddly enough, when I chose the Kelvin, “K”, preset and adjusted the temperature manually, the change was reflected in the Raw file. After experimenting with different setting, I decided that I would just keep the white balance on auto.

I also discovered that the best white balance setting is obtained, in Lightroom and Photoshop, by using the Eyedropper Tool and selecting a spot on the image that I know is white. If I don’t have a white spot to select, I choose something close and adjust by dead reckoning.

When using color infrared, there is a step that needs to be added in post processing to get those beautiful false color infrared images. The step is called color swapping. It is important to do the white balance adjustment before you color swap. I did the color swap in Adobe Photoshop. After opening in photoshop, you choose Layer>Adjustment>Color Mixer which opens a box that lets you change the amount of red, green and blue in each of the red, green and blue color channels.

The simplest is a red/blue swap. In the Red Channel, set red to 0 and blue to 100 while in the blue channel, set red to 100 and blue to 0. There are other tutorials that suggest other formulas for color swapping. I have done some experimenting but have found the simple swap to work well. Once you’ve swapped colors, you can make other adjustments to tweak the image to your own liking.

Thanks for sharing my journey, to this point. If you are considering an infrared conversion, I hope you can learn from my early mistakes as I attempted to climb the learning curve. Now, it’s time for me to start getting some interesting images and honing my skill.

Raw Image, Camera White Balance Set to Auto
Raw Image with White Balance Adjustment from Crape Myrtle Flowers
Image After Simple Red and Blue Color Swap
Image After Color Swap that included Swapping Green Channel

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Infrared Camera Photography, My Journey

I recently started my journey into Infrared Photography. Most of my fellow photographers will know what that means. But, for my friends and followers that do not, here is a simple explanation. The sensor in the camera, the one that contains the collection of megapixels upon which the image is recorded, is covered by a filter that allows it to only record light in the frequency range we can see. Infrared cameras can record a broader range of frequencies by including heat radiation. Think of the wildlife documentaries that get those cool night shots of exotic animals. The broader range of frequencies creates some very interesting pictures. So, I am excited to begin this journey.

From this point forward, the discussion is more geared to photographers and includes some technical discussion which I will try to simplify.

My goal was to get some interesting landscapes but also to see if I could get better low light images of birds. I chose to convert my Fuji XT-3 mirrorless camera. I chose LifePixel Infrared to do the conversion. I chose the XT-3 because it has faster focusing speed than the XT-2 I had also considered.

I spent a fair amount of time determining which infrared filter to choose. Our eyes and our digital camera sensors can see frequencies between 380nm and 750nm. Below 380nm, you get ultraviolet while above 750nm you get into infrared. I did not want to get a filter that restricted me to black & white. I do not do much black & white and I can always do a black & white conversion in post processing. Looking at the choices and having no prior experience, I discussed my objectives with the support group at LifePixel and settled on their Super Color filter, a 590nm filter. That allows me to get infrared plus some visible light. By the way, you can buy an infrared filter to mount on a standard lens but, to block visible light, they are very, very dark; might be good for an eclipse.

I failed to research some other pre-conversion considerations, one of which caught me by surprise.

The biggest surprise was lens considerations. I shot my first images with XF18-55MM lens and got a hot spot in the center of the lens. I found that I also got hot spots with my XF80MM and XF100-400MM. My XF55-200MM lens works well. The hot spot on the XF100MM-400MM lens and 1.4X Teleconverter is faint and disappears in foliage, so I might be able to make it work. It also appears to get fainter at F11 and F16 so that will be subject to test. Despite not researching that, I can still do landscapes and probably do birds in the forest canopy. There are places, like LifePixel’s website that lists lenses, by manufacturer, that produce hot spots.

Infrared Photo with Hotspot; Fuji XT-3, XF18-55MM Lens.

I dodged the bullet on focus considerations because I have a mirrorless camera. Infrared light has longer wavelengths, e.g. it includes wave lengths above 750nm. DSLR’s autofocus ability is limited to the visible spectrum, so you need to manually focus. Mirrorless cameras rely on the sensor itself for focusing as well as the rest of the capture process. So, it adapts to the infrared frequency.

The final surprise was not explained anywhere that I saw. After the conversion, I was locked out of the ability to create camera raw files. I don’t know if this is exclusive to Fuji proprietary raw files or is true across the board. It produces only JPEG. I set my camera to produce the largest JPEG it will produce.

In my next installment, I will discuss what I am learning about post-processing. Spoiler alert: white balance is critical. Infrared light is very warm.

Information Sources

  1. Digital Camera World, Article by Phil Hall, March 17,2020: https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/buying-guides/best-infrared-filter
  2. LifePixel Infrared Website, Getting Started Section: https://www.lifepixel.com/introduction
  3. Robert Riser, The Infrared Photography Tutorial: A Guideline for Your Ideal IR Solution: https://robertreiser.photography/infrared-photography-tutorial/

Thick Billed Fox Sparrow

Thick-billed Fox Sparrow
Loon Lake, El Dorado National Forest, California; JUN 2020

I was fortunate enough to observe a Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (Passeralli iliac megarhynchaon) on a recent visit to Loon Lake in the Eldorado National Forest. This large sparrow is a fall to spring visitor in our area but not one that I have recognized before. So, it was a treat. Now that I Observed and identified it, maybe I’ll see some in this area.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution!

Thick-billed Fox Sparrow
Loon Lake, El Dorado National Forest, California; JUN 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Summer Vignettes Along the American River Parkway

Landscape with Canada Geese
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

I am sharing a few early morning scenes from the banks of the American River. I walk the trails along the river several times each week for several hours at a time. I am grateful that the people of the Sacramento area cared enough to build a buffer area against flooding and to turn that almost 40 miles of buffer into urban green space available to all.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Summer Scene on the American River Parkway
Willow Creek State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; JUL 2020
Summer Morning Scene on the American River
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; JUL 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay Eating Dragonfly
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019

I was fortunate enough to observe a California Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica) in the process of eating a dragonfly. It used its beak and talons to position the insect, then picked it up with its beak and swallowed it.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

California Scrub Jay Eating Dragonfly
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

River Otters

River Otters
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020

Today I am sharing 2 images I took last week. A group of 5 River Otters were foraging in the American River at Sailor Bar. I watched their bodies slither as they dove into the water then came up with their head held high, swallowing their prey. It was great fun.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

River Otters
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020
The Otters were feeding. Its likely that the one with its head up is swallowing its prey.

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Green Heron Hunting

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 1
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; JUL 2020

There are a lot of pictures in this post that, at first glance, appear nearly the same but, they are not the same; they are a sequence of a Green Heron stalking, capturing, and devouring it prey. I see Green Herons from time to time but mostly they are perched. On this day one gave me the opportunity to watch it hunt and eat. Though I see Egrets and other Herons stalk frequently, this is only the second time I saw one stalk and the first I saw one catch and eat. So, please step through these images, in order, one at time and enjoy this opportunity with me.

Please click on caption to see images in higher resolution.

The entire sequence can be seen in higher resolution at: https://larryklink.smugmug.com/Birds/Shore-Birds/Herons-1/

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 2
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 3
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 4
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 5
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 6
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 7
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 8
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) – 9

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Cute Chicks – Part 1

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) with Goslings
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

I am presenting the first of 2 parts entitled Cute Chicks. This part will present some local waterfowl.

One of the images is entitled Huddled Sord of Baby Mallards. I learned that a group of Mallards in flight is called a flock or sometimes a flight. Mallards on the ground are called a SORD. If the name sounds weird, it is because it appears to have no other uses.

Female Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) with Ducklings
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; MAY 2020
Mute Swans (Cygnus Olor) with Young
Mather Lake Regional Park, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) with Ducklings
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) with Young
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Huddled Sord of Baby Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; MAY 2020
Juvenile Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)
Mather Lake Regional Park, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Egrets and Lizardicide

Great Egret (Ardea Alba)
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; MAY 2020

In this post, I am presenting 2 perspectives on the egret: the graceful, beautiful side and the visceral side.

A few weeks ago, we were at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Refuge in Davis, CA. In one of the sloughs, there were perhaps a dozen Egrets, both Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets. It turned out to be a great day for capturing them in flight.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; MAY 2020
Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula)
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; MAY 2020

The lizardicide, killing of a western fence lizard for food, happened at Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It was fascinating to watch. The actual capture was done in tall grass under the shade of a tree. After capture, the Great Egret made a short hop/flight out to the trail then prepared to devour his prey. The intrepid little lizard put up a strong fight but, in the end, it succumbed.

Stalking
Great Egret (Ardea Alba)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
The Lizard’s Gambit
Great Egret (Ardea Alba) with Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
The Struggle
Positioning
The Swallow

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Local Wildlife

Desert Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus audubonii)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

Today, I am sharing some wildlife local to the Sacramento, CA area.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Coyote (Canas latrans)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2020
Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Photographic images of some wildlife found in the Sacramento, CA area.
Coyote Pup (Canas latrans)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
Black-tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Velvet
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Coyote Pup (Canas latrans)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.