When Birgit Franik told people she wanted to try using Lensbaby lenses on her converted infrared camera, they all said it wouldn’t work. But she didn’t listen. Instead, she persisted – experimenting and finding solutions to her problems until it worked! And work it certainly did, these otherworldly scenes she has created really speak for themselves.
Infrared photography goes beyond what the human eye can see. Naturally, we can see wavelengths from about 400nm-700nm and infrared is the light beyond 700nm. Infrared photography works best in the “green” months when the trees are going through photosynthesis. The white leaves or “wood effect” can only be obtained with leaves that are illuminated by the sun.
In 2014 I converted a Canon 50D to an infrared filter. I wanted to see if I could use my Lensbaby lenses on the infrared camera and wondered how they would perform. Everybody said it wouldn’t work and I was told to close the aperture to ensure sharpness. However, that did not suit me now because Lensbaby lenses and optics cannot open their soul if you close the aperture too much. The bokeh and blur happen best at open aperture. So, I started playing around with more open apertures and infrared. Despite what everyone had told me, it worked! It was no problem to photograph with the shutter wide open and I still managed to get sharp images. With much patience and the Lensbaby Muse, I even managed to capture butterflies in flight! For most problems, you can find solutions! So on my 50D I added software that showed me focus peaking on the display to help with adjusting the sharpness. With a display magnifier, this can be set well, even in the sun.
There is no right and wrong when it comes to infrared photography. You can make a picture look like a winter scene or choose to add colors. The process of taking it from bloodworm red to colors is creative and you decide how.
I did creative things with the infrared camera and the Burnside 35. This is a multi-exposure which I had to finish in Photoshop, because the camera does not support this function.
I especially love the Sol 45 on the Crop-Camera. It has a nice sharp spot of focus and a smooth blur. It is lightweight and the 45mm focal length pairs well with the crop sensor camera.
The test of the older Lensbabys – the Double Glass Optic shows a lot of bokeh and nice distortion even on the small crop sensor.
Infrared and flowers are also no problem.
The year is not yet finished and I still have some ideas of things I want to try out. You can always ask others for advice but it’s important to try things for yourself. You never know what “other worlds” you might discover by allowing yourself to get creative.