Learn how to photograph a very large subject, and compose the infrared shot, using a banyan tree as the subject.
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- One of the things that inspires me as a photographer are projects, themes, books, the idea of putting together a collection of images that have a common theme or a story and you may follow through, you may one day make a book of a certain story or sometimes it's just a motivation to go out and create and make certain images. Now, I had an experience recently where I was in Charleston and I photographed an incredible Angel Oak tree in infrared and I did this during the middle of the day when the sun was out and I absolutely love the image.
I processed it two ways. I have it in black and white and I have it with false color and that got me thinking. What if I traveled around the world to photograph the kind of the most majestic trees in infrared and put a series together? All right, let's do it. So I'm here on the island of Maui at this tree. It's a banyan tree. It's not native to the island, but was brought over and it's flourished here and it is absolutely stunning. When I first walked up, I just was completely blown away, walked around the entire tree and just kind of took it all in and I realized this is perfect for that story.
To pair it with the Angel Oak really gives me momentum to continue this project and it can be a project you do in a year or 50 years, but I just love having those themes and so why do trees work so well in infrared? Well we know that the leaves on the tree reflect back white. We know that the trunk typically reflects back kind of a darker tonal range, not black, but more towards the darks, and so there's this amazing contrast that happens automatically and another thing is false color enables you to play with that white, the color of the leaves and we can put in I like to put in a little bit of pink.
It gives me kind of zen feeling. So I'm going to approach this image much like I did my Angel Oak. I'm going to process it in black and white and do a little false color and have the leaves go pink. Now in terms of preparation, I did a 360 walk with my camera handheld. I did settings that were not ideal 'cause it's dark in here. I was at ISO 1600 f/5.6 so I can get sharp images as I walked around and now what I've done is set up on a tripod. I've taken my ISO down to 100 and I've actually kept my aperture at 5.6 and I'll tell you why.
This lens is not perfect for infrared. It has hot spots. But there is not a great wide angle solution for Sony currently for infrared. So what I do is shoot as wide open as I can, so 5.6 I'm going to get minimal hot spots, and we'll work on processing those out. So I'm going to show you a cool trick on how to try and get rid of those hot spots. So just because a lens gives you that doesn't mean you can't use it. So in this situation it just means more work for me in post. So because I don't have anything super close to my lens and I'm at 16 millimeters, f/5.6 is going to work really well, ISO 100, I've got everything stabilized, a remote shutter and I'm going to take a few shots here.
I'm going to try a vertical and I'm going to set up in a few more places so that when I get back to post, I have different compositions to choose from and then we'll get processing and look at a black and white and a false color. (camera clicking)
- Infrared photo gear
- Photographing plants in infrared
- Editing infrared images
- Post-processing black and white, extreme contrast, and false color images
- Experimenting with infrared