Infrared photography. ( John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Casual drive home with an infrared camera

I was on the road at 7:30 a.m.

Being retired gives me the opportunity to make my own time, and on this day I was giving both my friends, Jo and neighbour Gerald, a ride to the Kelowna airport. By coincidence they were both going to Winnipeg and were actually booked on the same flight.

The drive is two hours, and I figured I could drop them off at the airport, take a short detour to Kelowna for coffee, then have a leisurely drive home and make lots of stops to take pictures with my IR [infrared] camera.

The day started out with a clear and cool plus 4°C and I thought it would be perfect for IR.

I planned on taking the old road that runs along Kalamalka Lake. Since the new highway was built, the once busy and sometimes-dangerous lakeside road has become a pleasant drive with lots of car pull-offs, and even a bicycle and footpath that has sculptures in grassy areas. It is lined with trees and bushes, with lots of benches and tables for resting and viewing the lake. The map says it’s a 28-minute drive, but I spent an hour.

The trees had started to show fall colours, and because of the clouds the lake was a light grey. In the summer the lake is made for colour photography – the long narrow Kalamalka Lake becomes turquoise. I Googled it for the following, “There are many interesting theories but the real reason the lake turns to that amazing turquoise colour is really quite simple. … As glaciers receded in the region, they left behind limestone deposits that give Kalamalka Lake the alluring tropical green hue.”

The lens I prefer using on my infrared converted Nikon D7000 camera is a Sigma 20-40mm. Of all the lenses I have tried on that camera, I like the images with that lens best. And I do like the focal length. Converting for the D7000 crop frame camera I get “effectively” a 30-60mm view.

I wanted images that had more than just trees and bushes. I looked for rocks, wood benches and anything that gave me contrasting tones and textures. However, the bright blue sky that had followed me on my morning drive from Pritchard to the airport slowly clouded over and I lost much of the infra red light.

I shot anyway and put the sun behind my back so I could get as much light (IR light) as I could on my subjects. I chose ISO 640 and put my camera on Aperture priority. I didn’t need to worry about my shutterspeed with that high ISO. (If the day was still bright and sunny I would have chosen Manual mode so I could select the right exposure in contrasty conditions.)

I would stop, then wander along the lake path, and I photographed things until the day became too overcast and it started to rain. Nevertheless, I had a good time with my camera along the lake. My IR images weren’t as dramatic as they would have been if the sky was clear. More bright light gives a converted IR camera more infrared light for imaging and increases the intensity of the refracted IR light in the scene.

Oh well, I got rained out…and I only got a couple of photos that I liked. But heck, I had a good time. That’s the great thing for those of us that have photography as a hobby. And darn, I have to take some time and do that trip again on a sunny day.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.

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