Infrared Car Photography at Cars & Coffee

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I’ve shot infrared photographs at car shows before but usually at events that were held on grass with lots of trees to add to the whole IR effect. Inspired by a friend, I decided to take my Panasonic Lumix G5 that was converted to IR-only capture by LifePixel to a Cars & Coffee event… and I had fun.

Parker, Colorado’s Cars & Coffee events are sponsored by the Vehicle Vault and are held year-round on the second Saturday of each month from 9:00AM to Noon, at which point it’s peak infrared shooting time.

My rule of thumb for shooting infrared is that the worst time of day—high noon and thereabouts—to shoot traditional photos is the best time to shoot IR. Shooting at other times of the day can create problems. Depending on the lens, images shot with IR converted cameras as well as those made using infrared filters can get flarey (as you can see on the image at right) when the sun is not directly overhead. This can especially a problem when shooting with wide-angle and wide-angle zoom lenses. You’re also more prone to get shadows in the shot, which don’t enhance the image much either.

For some reason, Panasonic doesn’t make a lens hood for the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH lens I used to make these photographs but there are some available on Amazon at affordable prices and while not 100% effective, they’re better than nothing.

How I made this shot: Exposure for the photograph of the hot rod below was 1/50 sec at f/11 and ISO 400.

 

I shot all of these images using my standard approach when shooting with an IR converted camera. I set the camera to capture RAW+JPEG files with it also set in Monochrome mode and use the LCD screen and the viewfinder to get a preview of what a finished IR image might look like after processing the RAW file.

The images that you see here were processed using Silver Efex Pro plug-in, with me occasionally dipping into the  Color Efex Pro and Vivenza plug-ins to, you know, kick it up a notch.

You can try shooting 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.

 


I’ve found that Life Pixel does a great job with IR con-versions and they’ve done most of the conversions for 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 available from Amazon with used copies selling for $10.59 as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies starting at $4.00.