Six months ago I wondered what else is there to discover in 35mm photography? There’s a lot but one niche did stand out: Color Infrared Film. Richard Mosse used it to give a different perspective on the crisis in the Congo. He even made a book called Infra if you’re a photography nut and want to drop $600. After seeing his photos I needed to know more and soon discovered Kodak Aerochrome, a film used for aerial surveillance during World War II and the interim years for forestry surveys. I wanted to try it but it was discontinued!
Fortunately the good people at Film Photography project managed to acquire the last few batches and made it available for sale! Though it wasn’t cheap to ship it to Canada it was worth it for the chance to try something new. With a trip to Paris planned for April 2015 I though what better test-bed than a city full of green to test it out?
Film Photography Project has some good guidelines on how to shoot with this film. It’s a 400ISO so you really only have 4 stops to play with. After combing the internet I found this particular post by lazybuddha to be the most informative when it comes to shooting colour infrared film (IR). A lot of people offer tips for black and white IR but not color, so this post will save you time. The broad strokes are use a standard Yellow filter and keep your Aperature around F16 to avoid overexposure. I didn’t follow the second rule and a lot of my photos were blown out (but it was also overcast almost every day to complicate things). The other tip to keep in mind is focus; the focal plane for IR is slightly different than a regular photo. Since you can’t see IR you need to follow the guide on your camera to keep a sharp focus. I shot with my trusty Canon AE-1 which has and IR focal point marker on the lens barrel. A tip from this great Canon FD Lens resource noted:
“it is necessary to slightly modify the normal method of focusing the lens. After focusing the same as usual, note the tiny red dot engraved on the lens barrel just to the right of the distance index and turn the focusing ring slightly to align the focused distance with this red dot.”
So with that in mind almost nothing was out of focus when shooting with a shallow depth of field. With the F16 rule this is less of an issue. With all that research I felt confident to shoot and hopefully capture something decent.
Unfortunately after processing through The Darkroom (recommended by Film Photography Project since they know how to process E-6 infrared properly), a lot of the photos were blown out. I held out hope since the proofs I got were a one light scan. After I received the slides in the mail I knew at least some could be salvaged. I’ll post the results shortly, fingers crossed.
To purchase the signature ‘Paris in Pink’ photography print visit the Wandering Moments Collection.