Using a camera converted to infrared while using a 20-40mm lense to take pictures on a dull grey cloudy day created some unusual photographs. A photographer can then have a lot of fun working with these pictures in post production where you can crop, level, lighten, darken and adjust the colours as you see fit. (John Enman photograph)

Using a camera converted to infrared while using a 20-40mm lense to take pictures on a dull grey cloudy day created some unusual photographs. A photographer can then have a lot of fun working with these pictures in post production where you can crop, level, lighten, darken and adjust the colours as you see fit. (John Enman photograph)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Any day with a camera is a good day – rain, shine or grey

When a morning is cold, flat and grey I get the feeling that I just want to leave my camera in it’s bag and stay home with a hot cup of coffee. However, onTuesday I talked with my friend Jo and made plans to go for a morning drive along the Thompson River.

Jo wanted to try some long exposure photos down by the concrete bridge that crossed the river to the Lafarge Cement Plant. The river is low right now and it always seems to be windy along the river this time of year. Perfect for slow shutter shots on the dry wide beach. Tuesday was a sunny, light sweater, fall day and we were hoping Wednesday would be nearly the same. The TV weatherman forcast “cloudy and windy”.

Shouldn’t that mean there would be some clouds moving through? Well, it didn’t. Wednesday had a damp, cold wind and there wasn’t a bright spot to be found anywhere in the sky. It had rained, and the day was grey with an almost depressing flat light. Nevertheless, we packed our cameras into my car and headed out.

On Photo Argus blog’s introduction, Nate Day writes, “Staying motivated and inspired is crucial for a photographer’s long-term growth. It’s far more important than having good gear or perfect lighting. After all, if you feel unmotivated, your expensive equipment will lie untouched, collecting dust while you make excuses for why you’re not shooting any photos today.”

That’s a good thought. Heck, we were motivated because any day with a camera is a good day – rain, shine or grey.

Jo had a 28-300mm on her camera and I decided to take two cameras; one with my 20-120mm and the other, the Infrared converted, with a 20-40mm. The day was dismal and I was sure I would be able to get some unusual pictures with the IR camera.

On a cloudy day that camera doesn’t capture much IR light and depending on the direction I point it I get all sorts of creative exposures. Hmm…maybe “creative” isn’t the correct word. Surprising, unexpected, peculiar, and even strange might be better words to use. But Heck, I was sure if any of my shots worked they would at least be colourful and make for some fun after I loaded them on my computer and experimented with different programs.

I made several stops trying to get something I liked. But now as I look at my images they aren’t very exciting. When we finally got to the cement plant Jo got her tripod out and walked down the sandy beach and started doing some long exposures. I took a couple shots with my regular camera, then changed to the IR and wandered up and around some big trees and then along the cold windy shoreline.

I wasn’t surprised when I looked at my camera’s LCD and saw what looked like dark under exposed images. Flat heavy clouded days seem to trick the meter on that camera. I think the Infrared conversion might be making the exposure inconsistent under heavy clouds. The camera’s histogram also showed that I was a bit under exposed. I’m not one that checks the LCD much to see if I got the shot. But I do check the histogram to make sure my exposure is where I want it to be.

We had a cold time, but a good time. When I got home I loaded my images and chose those I wanted to change to black and white, and which ones I wanted to enhance the unusual colours.

The images I converted to B&W took a little time to lighten the dark areas, while those I left in colour gave me lots of freedom to manipulate them any way that looked good to me.

Photography has always been a very creative medium to me and with a camera converted for infrared one can just let loose. No rules.

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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