Cars & Coffee in Infrared

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

From time to time, I’ve written about what inspires me to make photographs. On our sister blog, I once wrote about how a friend’s work can inspire me. In that case it was Rick Sammon, author of Creative Visualization for Photographers.

And so on this particular Saturday morning, I headed to my local car Cars & Coffee with a Panasonic Lumix G5 converted to Infrared by LifePixel and made the photos you see here. It’s not that I never did this before but in the past I shot cars in IR at venues where there were lots of trees and grass (and sometimes I hand-colored the results.)

This was different. I was shooting when the car show was scheduled, mostly in the morning and that’s not the best time for shooting infrared, which is mid-day but by then the show would be over.

I decided to treat these shots as a standard way to capture black and white photographs but it was not without some issues caused by the time of day the shots were made. These were primarily related to flare from the Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Panasonic does not offer a hood for this lens, although the third-party one I bought on Amazon sorta kinda works. The problem would be mitigated when shooting around noon with the sun directly above, allowing you capture better quality IR images as well as virtually eliminating the possibility of flare from a wide angle lens. Yes, I admit that using longer focal length lenses might have eliminated these problems too but based on my experience that’s not the best lens choice for Cars & Coffee events, unless you only want to capture details of the cars.

If I have any tips for shooting infrared at a Cars & Coffee event, it’s that I really liked the way silver cars photographed like the Nissan GTR at right, but other than that I suggest you give it a try and see what you discover. And as always, you can shoot infrared photography by having one of your old cameras that’s sitting around gathering dust converted to IR-only operation. Or maybe using filters.


Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and have done most of my Canon DSLRs and all of my Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras. This is not a paid or sponsored endorsement, just my experience.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon for $11.64 as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies selling for $1.83, less than your next Starbucks coffee .