Infrared Car Photography? Why Not.

IR.hotrodI have shot infrared photographs at car shows before but usually at events held on the grass with lots of trees to add to the whole, you know, IR effect. Inspired by my friend, Mark Toal, who wrote a post on our sister blog Mirrorless Photo Tips called “Infrared Is My New Black & White” I decided to take my Panasonic Lumix G5 that had been converted to IR-only capture by LifePixel to the Cars & Coffee event in Parker, CO last Saturday…and I had fun.

A word or two about the event: Cars & Coffee gets bigger and better each month. Hope to see you there in May. It is so bog that some of the 4×4’s have spilled out onto the grassy are near the paved parking area. And parking for spectators is difficult if not impossible near Vehicle Vault. I usually park at the Loews across the street and walk over.

OK, let’s get this out of the way first. Cars & Coffee runs from 9:00AM to Noon, which is when it’s peak infrared shooting time. The old rule of thumb for IR is that the worst time of day—high noon and thereabouts—is the best time to shoot IR. Shooting at other times creates some problems: Converted cameras (depending on the lens) can get flarey when the sun is not overhead and you also more prone to get shadows in the shot, both of which don’t enhance the image.

IR.Jeeps

IR.cuda

Panasonic doesn’t make a lens hood for the Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH lens but there are some available on eBay and Amazon and they are “better than nothing” but still don’t quite do the job.

With these caveats out of the way, I just shot using my old standard system when shooting with an IR converted camera. I shoot RAW+JPEG with the camera in Monochrome mode so I use the LCD screen, and the G5’s viewfinder, and a preview of what a finished IR image might look like after I’ve processed the RAW file.

The images that you see here were processed in the free Silver Efex Pro software, with me occasionally dipping into the also free Color Efex Pro and Vivenza.

You can try infrared photography for yourself at car shows and everywhere else by having one of your old cameras that’s sitting around gathering dust converted to IR-only operation. By using the coupon code “farace” at LifePixel, You can save some processing time when having your camera converted to infrared.