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From a recent FlickrMail:

Hi Greg,

I am thoroughly enjoying you IR series. I am contemplating starting to dabble in IR photography. I was hoping you could assist in the following queries that I have :

1. Are suppose you are using a converted camera as opposed to an IR filter? My reasoning is that you are achieving significant speed to freeze the horses in motion, so therefore, you are not using a filter which is supposed to slow the camera down. Please expand.

2. Are you using a colour IR filter/conversion as opposed to a B&W one? There some elements of colour in your shots.

3. Just how much processing have you done on these shots? Did you do any chanel swaping and the like etc?

4. If you could mail me an IR shot out of the camera, it would be great.






I do plan to answer you. Sorry for the delay.

Quickly - I do use a converted camera - 3 in fact. My favorite is a Canon 1DsMarkII converted to 720nm IR. LifePixel did my conversions. I use a 35mm F1.4L that LifePixel calibrated the camera for. So I get full range of ISO, shutter speeds and autofocus. That answers question 1.

Question 2 - my three conversions are (1) a Canon 40D is converted to 590nm; my 1DsMkII (described above) and I have a 1DMkIII converted to 830nm "Deep IR." The 830nm will only convert to B&W. In fact, I don't even set the white balance on it. I shoot it in monochrome mode. For landscapes/cityscapes and anything else you plan to keep in B&W, you can't beat it. The contrast and detail are out of this world. My 720nm can go either way. I have developed a technique for bringing out more colors than just blue and white from the 720, as evidenced by my horses. Most of the colors you see are resident, but just massaged out in Photoshop. The 590nm is my least used camera. Everything out of it looks like Dr. Seuss, which I find really limiting. I also don't really like the B&W that comes out of it. As conversions go, I recommend 720nm if you are just going to have one camera.

Question 3 - it varies but usually I am done with an image in less than an hour. Channel swapping is the first thing I do. If I am going B&W, I then run it through Silver Efex and then Color Efex (Glamour Glow). If I am going color, I run through Vivenza and/or Color Efex (Glamour Glow) and then start hitting the hue/saturation layers until I get the colors. In both arenas I do extensive "light painting" using curves layers with inverted masks.

Question 4 - out of the camera without manufacturer-provided software, (for instance if you just brought them up in Lightroom) all IR shots are in the red family. 590nm is pink, 720nm is very red, 830nm is very dark red. So you have to bring them up in a manufacturer-provided RAW engine like DPP (Canon proprietary software). You always shoot in RAW. Brought up in this software, the shots are more a dusky brown color. You then import from that program into Photoshop and channel swap to get the initial colors we are used to seeing in IR. For 720nm, all greens go white and the sky goes a teal blue.

Hope this helps. LifePixel is one of the big names out there for conversions. Go to LifePixel and check out the tutorials. Great resources.

Thanks for visiting!!

Here is a response to a question posed in a recent comment:

"Greg, is there a lot of post processing to be done after using your converted camera? I just use an iPad to do some light post processing editing. Thanks for your time!"


Thanks for the comments

Fundamentally, if I am using a color IR camera (720 or 590) I swap blue and red channels in Photoshop - LifePixel tutorials tell you how to do this. If I am using my 830, I shoot in monochrome and run it through SilverEfex Pro.

I almost always use a levels adjustment, especially on the high end and make pretty extensive use of curves and masking to equalize the light.

This all sounds like it takes a lot longer than it really does. Everything I just described can be done in about 15 minutes.

Note that you will have to use the camera's raw converter and then export it out of that into Photoshop. You can't go from your camera into either Photoshop or Lightroom if you are shooting in any kind of color. You can go direct with the 830 shot in mono, though. In any event, I shoot Canon, so my workflow goes as follows:

1 - load images from my CF card into my computer
2 - bring them up in Digital Photo Professional (DPP is the Canon Raw converter)
3 - export out of DPP directly to Photoshop
4 - swap channels (if color)
5 - do levels adjustment

then, if color, run through Color Efex Pro to get some glamor glow and then paint that in and then do curves adjustments/masking until satisfied

if black and white, go to Silver Efex Pro to boost contrast and clarity and then run that through Color Efex Pro for glamor glow and then do selective curves adjustments

I would say the time I spend on a particular image is probably in the manner of 30 minutes or so.

At this time, almost all of my images are creative commons. Use them if you want to. Please follow the rules, though, and use my name as well (a/k/a give me attribution). Thanks.

Fort Worth, Texas


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    Dave Ormerod says:

    "I have only just recently stumbled across the photostream of this big-hearted Texan, but have quickly found out that Greg is a generous and talented member of the flickr community.

    I had tried a bit of infrared processing before, but now I have seen how it can be used in the service of beauty and great humour. Well met buddy."

    November 9th, 2013

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    Johny Day says:

    "Monsieur Westall is a good example of what can happen with the Magic of Flickr , I love Texas and he represent well his state with the kind of heart and intelligence you can see through his wonderful touches you right in the heart photography .

    We talk on the phone exchanging tips & tricks about life in general and about emotions we put in our work , Creg has a heart the size of Texas and to know him makes you appreciate this multi talented guy even more

    I seriously hope to do some photography with you one day out in the big West , I have learn more from you than you did from me Buddy and you are a good example that real Friendship can happen on Flickr

    Peace Little Brother"

    November 17th, 2009

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    *narly says:

    "What can I say about this poodle-loving Texan that you couldn't already figure out from his amazing collection of photographs?

    Greg has a cracking eye for a great photo, especially when there's a person or a rural landscape on the other side of his camera. His work is raw, honest and - especially when the poodles get in front of the camera - humorous. And best of all, he's a heck of a nice guy in real life.

    Oh, and he writes a damn fine haiku when asked to :)"

    August 15th, 2009

greg westfall
April 2009
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
I am:
Male and Taken