a little bit about infrared film

sample photographs at bottom of page

Infrared film fogs easily, so load & unload the camera in the darkroom or changing bag, or at least wrapped in a heavy coat and in a dark corner somewhere. Also, those machines that scan baggage at the airport ruin infrared film (I found out the hard way).

I usually shoot Kodak HIE b & w infrared at about 200 ASA/ISO, with a red filter (I love the way everything looks through a red filter). 200 ASA/ISO works well indoors in tungsten light, and comes out a bit thin outdoors, but I usually push my film a bit depending on if I took a lot of pictures in the shade vs. bright sunlight -- after a couple rolls you get an idea of your own nuances. Maybe try 100 ASA/ISO in daylight, too.

I develop it in straight D-76. Infrared tends to get a lot of little air bubbles & pinholes, so I fill the film tank with plain water first, bang it a few times to dislodge air bubbles, then empty it and fill with developer, which seems to help cut down on some of the little spots that would otherwise show up. I also don't use stop bath, just plain water, since maybe the sudden change in pH causes more pinholes, too. Infrared film also tends to get agitation marks, like heavy density on the edges, so agitate only half as much as usual.

I used to print infrared negatives on Agfa Portriga Rapid #3 paper, which came out beautifully, but they quit making it, so I have to find something else, but meanwhile I've been scanning in negatives & snapshot size prints and making digital prints instead.

Right now (June 2002) I think it costs about $(US)13-14.00 per 36 exposure 35mm roll, but I've seen mail order places where you can get it maybe 20% cheaper per roll if you buy a whole "brick" of 20 rolls, but I haven't done that yet.

Color infrared is fun, too, but sometimes it's hard to find a lab to process it, and when I tried to get chemicals to do it myself, they only came in expensive gallons which also had short shelf-life. Depending on the subject, red, green, blue or yellow filters all give interesting results. I have a little about it at my color page.

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some examples of black and white infrared photographs:

Good Riddance
[PICTURE-wisconsin river]
Wisconsin River
[PICTURE-beech  tree]
The Beech Tree
[PICTURE-cathedral interior]
Cathedral Interior, Gniezno
[PICTURE-infrared rainbow]
Infrared Rainbow
The Little Pumpkin Is Optimistic
In His View of the Universe
[PICTURE-pine bluff]
Pine Bluff

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last update 6-9-02