Michael A. Stecker

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Infrared Imaging
The electromagnetic spectrum includes gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet, visible, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves. All of these forms of radiation (light) travel at 186,000 miles/second (300,000,000 meters per second) in a vacuum. Infrared radiation lies between the visible and microwave portions with wavelengths from 700 nanometers to 1 millimeter (a nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter or 0.000000001 meter; while a millimeter equals 1 thousandth of a meter or 0.001 meter). All infrared light is invisible to our eyes, but can be seen by a few animals like some snakes.

Photographing infrared in the black and white mode gives some very interesting and surrealistic effects. Green plants reflect a lot of infrared and therefore look white, while blue sky shows almost no infrared and appears black. In general contrast is increased. All the photos below were taken in the near infrared with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera through a RD-10 (Wratten 88A) filter from Harrison & Harrison Optical Engineers, Inc. . The Wratten 88A filter transmits light in the near infrared above 710 nm with a 50% transmissivity at ~750 nm. I used the auto-focus and auto-exposure modes for all images. A tripod is needed because of the long exposure times.


Infrared Black and White Photo Gallery

"On the street where I live" -- Motor Avenue in Los Angeles, California. The infrared effect is well seen here with the green grass and palm fronds becoming white and the blue sky darkening.

Photographic Data: Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera and Wratten 88A IR filter in the black and white mode: Auto focus, auto exposure, auto white balance, focal length = 7.8 mm, f/5.3 and 1.77 seconds exposure.


The infrared photos below were taken at Lake Balboa Park in Encino, California on June 16, 2003