Infrared in Angkor

Ta Prom in infrared

Recently I have been for an extended stay in Siem Reap. There is IR photography made by photographer McDermott which is very well known. I did some research ahead of my holiday as I wanted to do something likewise. Certainly on a different level. Preparing everything three weeks before my journey did made everything easier.  When I stayed in Siem Reap I could go to  two of his galleries, one at the FCC in Siem Reap and got some ideas and inspiration how to do some images on my own. 

I always thought that this is a great way to explore a new world which you don’t see normally. The IR light is beyond the normal “visible” spectrum a human eye can see. As I saw his images I got the bug again. Fortunately I had my analog camera and could get hold of some IR film. Time to make some images which you can see here.

 Royal Garden in Siem Reap

Royal Garden in Siem Reap

Some hints and tips about this kind of photography:

Taking images in this extended light spectrum let you capture different colours and textures. All green leaves and plants for example reflects the IR light in an unusual and unique way. Apart from the film I used there are different ways to capture this kind of photography.

35 or 120 mm IR film is one possibility. You still can get film and developping labs to do it . This is the easiest way to experiment with IR photography. Another possibility is to use an IR filter attached to the front of the camera lens. Depending on the size of the filter and the depth there are different ranges in prize. I did this as well but like more to use film or the following solution.

 Ta Prom at midday

Ta Prom at midday

If using IR filters you mostly get motion blur due to long exposure times. The other issue is that IR filter are quite dark. Before taking an image focusing with the lens and then attaching the IR filter to the lens is the most practical way. The specific time for your exposure varies based on the strength of the IR filter, the sensitivity of the camera sensor and the light. One common and easily to get filter is the Hoya R72 which is as well the most popular. This filter sees a very broad spectrum of IR light and is easy to use.

 One of the trees in Ta Prom

One of the trees in Ta Prom

The other option is to convert your digital SLR for IR use. This is more costly, but it produces the best results and offers you the easiest way to take IR images. The flexibility of your DLSR is than restricted just for IR photography. You can as well use cameras like an older Canon G10 and get good images.

Concerning time and use for IR photography the best conditions for shooting IR are bright sunny days with deep blue skies and bright green foliage. You can as well shoot on overcast days which will produce different results. Try and error is the solution and much easier handled with a converted digital camera. Experiment and have fun, which had been my approach in Cambodia as well.

 Vegetation taking back its place

Vegetation taking back its place


Vintage cameras

Hanoi or Paris - confused?