Portfolio 6 – Lunenburg reflections

20 09 2013

This past summer, we attended a wonderful wedding in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  Lunenburg is an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architecture and long marine history, not to mention its beauty, so it made for an amazing location for our friends to get married in!

As a change of perspective, I’ve gone back to colour for this series after experimenting with infrared images for several months. This photograph was taken the day before the wedding. It was mid-morning when the water was choppy. It is of the small rubber tender belonging to the historic Bluenose.  The trippy patterns of the reflections are reminiscent of a certain Italian designer fabric pattern. I liked the contrast between the choppy patterned reflections and the clean lines of the tender, ready to return to the ship.


(Due to travel and inconsistent access to good wifi, I have been behind on the Portfolio 26 project. Wish me luck as I try to catch up!)


Portfolio 5: False Blue Series

20 09 2013

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Portfolio 2: Ghostly Tulip or Alien?

25 01 2013

The second image in the Winter Tulips portfolio is an infrared image of the tulip’s pistil and stamens emerging from among the petals.  Usually when I take infrared photographs of plants and flowers, the entire plant, no matter what colours it has on the visible spectrum, is white.  So to my surprise, the central black portions of the petals attached to the ovary showed up as a beautiful cyanotype shade of blue among the whiteness., which made for intriguing images. Is this what a bee would see?

I photographed this peripheral to the sunlight streaming through the window which emphasized the pointiness of the stamens surrounding the tri-lobed stigma. In a flight of fancy, it’s almost like a Hollywood space alien with blue-rimmed tentacles reaching out… The shadows cast by the stamens and a petal in the right of the image seems to emphasize that feeling of curling outwards into the sunlight.

Tulip flower in infrared

First image in Portfolio 2: Winter Tulips.

Starting Portfolio 2: Winter tulips

23 01 2013

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.

Two tulips in infrared

Portfolio 1 gallery: Trees beyond sight

21 01 2013

Portfolio 1: Trees beyond sight.  This “gallery” function in wordpress is new to me so I’ll be working on refining this approach as I go along with this project.

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Links to the posts:

First post explaining the project and introducing the first Portfolio 1 photograph: Pine sentries.

Shadows and conifers.

An artist’s shed in the woods.

A snowperson and its little tree.

Two conifers by a lake.

Portfolio 1: A snowperson and a little tree.

17 01 2013

After the Christmas holidays, our street was fortunate enough to get the right kind of snow – the kind that is just sticky enough to roll into a ball, but not too crumbly so that the snowball falls apart. So of course, the kids next door built a lovely snowman with a carrot nose. On this overcast day, they took out their little Christmas tree with a cute little yellow bucket on the top and put it beside the snowman (presuming it has a gender). Over the next few hours the weather started to change, and by the next morning it was sunny. Because bright sun really makes infrared pop, I was able to do an infrared study of the snowman between the two conifers before it melted away.

What interested me about this photograph was how the infrared was reflected differently from the various surfaces. The little Christmas tree in the front had a lighter tone than the bigger conifer in the back, and both were brighter than the bark of the tree on the far right.  The snow itself also had different IR properties, depending on whether it was fresh powder on the trees, the rolled snow of the snowman, and the highly reflective crystals of the pack snow on ground. Note that that the carrot in the middle of the snowman’s face had a similar IR colour as the  conifer in the back.

Snowman between two conifers

This is the fourth photo in the “Trees Beyond Sight” series.  The first, second and third are linked here and after the fifth (and last) one coming up, I’ll try to put all together into a gallery.

Portfolio 1 – Shadows and conifers

10 01 2013

A few days ago, I started my “Portfolio 26” project with my first image in my portfolio ““Trees beyond sight: conifer tree studies in near-infrared”. A bit longwinded, but I’ve never had the knack of coming up with catchy and fun titles – the talent lies entirely with Cosmoboy!

Halifax has many beautiful conifers and conifer forests, which provides me with an opportunity to experiment with infrared during the winter when most trees have lost their leaves, hence this portfolio theme.  This picture was taken at sunset during an evening walk to one of our favourite neighbourhood lakes. The image shows a towering conifer perched on a rock with many leafless trees around it. Further down, there are two shadows showing Cosmoboy and myself being quite focused on the infrared camera as we experiment with the best settings for that image.  It is not one of my best infrareds, but I like it due to the range of tones and textures from the bright whites of the shrubbery and young conifers near our shadows to the darker tones of the trees higher up — not to mention the dark tones of the strangely dark sky and our shadows.  Plus looking at our shadows is a nice reminder of a lovely winter walk when we explored the scenery during a cold January evening.

Infrared photograph of Cosmoboy and Ecogirl's shadows at sunset.