Over the weekend, I was given a pot of fiery red-and-yellow tulips by a friend who came over for dinner. The tulips provided a brilliant splash of colour in the house, which was very welcome during the winter. On Sunday, the low sun streamed through the window, inspiring me to try out some macro photography using the tulips as a subject. Originally, I was planning to use an old and cherished macro SLR lens (which has very high quality optics) on both my infrared-converted and conventional 4/3 digital cameras. During the experimentation, I learned (the hard way!) about “infrared hot spots” which can occur with conventional lens calibrated for visible wavelengths especially those with high quality optics. So much to my disappointment, I wasn’t able to use those lens for this project. It was still interesting, as the hot spot is clearly related to the aperture (see this linked image), and at wide-open apertures, the hot spot results in a lovely image with a dreamy quality – so I’ll be experimenting with this later on.
So instead, I used my clip-on Raynox macro lens, which I’ve used before, for this project to explore the quality of the afternoon winter sun reflecting on the lovely tulips, both in infrared and colour. For this portfolio, I’ve started off with an infrared photograph of two tulips standing out in contrast to the dark background. I liked the old-fashioned look of this image and how well the reflected infrared light captured the silkiness of the tulip petals. I adjusted the white balance slightly, but chose to kept the yellowish tinge as I liked the way it reminded me of old film images captured in the early 20th century turning sepia with time. This image also reminded me of Edward Weston’s still life studies and inspired me to go through his images as a part of my learning process.