You Cannot Photograph Birds With Infrared… Why IR in this Situation? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

You Cannot Photograph Birds With Infrared... Why IR in this Situation?

What’s Up?

I began wrapping this one up at 6:33pm on Saturday November 28, 2015. Denise Ippolito and I met our second IPT group and cancelled the meet and greet so that we could head right down to the refuge as things looked promising. We were rewarded with farm field blast off after farm field blast off. Finally. How sweet.

We have our introductory slide program at 7pm tonight so I need to get packing. I will finish this post either tonight or early tomorrow. BTW, I am feeling better each day (though still congested).


This image was on Thanksgiving Day at Bosque with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 278mm) and my Kolari Vision-converted EOS-5D Mark II (now effectively replaced by the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.) ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6. Custom WB.

All 9 AF points/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). Click on the image to see a larger version.

Red-winged Blackbird flock in front of mountains/IR > B&W

Why IR in this Situation?

Sun angle was down the road to the east. The wind was pretty good, from the southwest, and the cranes were coming in and landing nicely, but almost 90 degrees off sun angle. That all sounds pretty bad but the sky was filled with big, beautiful clouds. Bright sidelight and big clouds all scream IR. So IR it was. At first I tried for groups of cranes on the ground and in the clouds, but then a foraging flock of blackbirds–almost all young and female redwings, appeared so I concentrated on them.

The Image Processing

After converting the RAW file in DPP I brought it into Photoshop, made a new layer, and brought that layer into NIK Silver Efex Pro. I experimented with the various presets and wound up liking Grad ND (EV-1) best.

Kolari Vision BAA Discount

Get your camera converted to IR and enjoy a $10 discount by entering the code morris2015 in the Coupon code box at checkout. Then hit Apply Coupon and Update Cart. You will need to scroll down to see that your discount has been applied.

Note: denise and I share the small affiliate fee that we receive when you use our Kolari link.

Kolari Infrared

Kolari Visions Infrared Camera Conversions

If you are ready to join the fun and have a camera converted to Infrared, use either the Kolari Vision logo-link above to order your conversion we will gladly send you our simple guide to properly setting a Custom White Balance for infrared photography at 720nm. Simply e-mail us your receipt and we will be glad to shoot you the PDF once your order appears in our affiliate account.

Kolari Visions prides themselves on their fast turnaround times and excellent customer service; they are getting better and faster as they employ several full time technicians to service everything as quickly as possible. The filters they use have been specifically designed for each camera and filter combination to be the optimal thickness for best autofocus performance between lenses, and the best corner sharpness. The filters also fit directly into the frame making the conversion non-damaging and reversible if needed. Others uses a few standard-sized thick filters that they calibrate the camera around. Doing this reaches accurate autofocus with their test lens. But when a filter is too thick for what the optics were designed for, the sharpness can suffer, particularly in the corners, and other lenses will not consistently focus accurately. Some other IR converters glue their filters directly to the sensor; that makes it almost impossible to revert back or to change the filter.

Kolari offers a comprehensive shop for infrared bodies; customers can order converted cameras directly from KV. Their focus on optical quality built from the ground up has allowed them to recently offer a service that improves the performance of Sony A7 series cameras to the level of the Leica M240 cameras. Content-wise, Kolari has a very comprehensive article list and an exhaustive lens performance database chock full of technical details. Soon, KV will feature an interactive gallery that will showcase different camera/filter picture combinations to get rid of some of the mystery of picking a camera to convert.

Choosing a Filter

Filter Choices

The text below is cut and pasted from an informative Kolari Visions’ article. You can access the complete photo illustrated tutorial by clicking here.

We currently have 6 filters to pick from. We offer the 720nm standard infrared, the 850nm deep infrared, the 665nm extra color infrared, the 590nm infrared, a full spectrum filter, and a two spectrum filter. All filters are the same price.

The Standard IR Filter (720nm) allows for good false color, and good contrast for black and white. This is equivalent to the Hoya R72 and the Wratten 89b.

The Ultra Color filter (590nm) lets more visible light in. It produces the most vibrant colors: leaves are golden yellow, skies are bright blue.

The Enhanced Color filter (665nm) has an effect between the 720nm and 590nm, producing more vibrant colors than the 720nm for pale yellow leaves and soft blue skies.

The Deep Black and White filter (850nm) is good for a dedicated black and white IR. The camera will produce images with bright whites and pronounced blacks. It is Equivalent to the Wratten 87c.

As above, after some serious thinking I converted my camera at 720nm. We did get a chance to experiment with Catherine Costolo’s super-color IR camera and had great fun. I will share an image or two made with her camera here with you at some point.


Kolari Vision offers economical IR conversions and did a great job with my camera.

Denise’s Infrared Gallery

If you are developing an interest in Infrared photography be sure to check out denise’s Infrared gallery here. See if you can figure out how she created the Milwaukee Road image. We would be glad to try to answer any basic IR questions that you have via e-mail as follows: artie or denise.


Subject and focal lengths from upper left to right and then around to center.

Palouse Falls: 11mm; homemade kiddie race car: 105mm; barn siding pan blur: 798mm; Rolling fields diorama: 110mm; Crayola drums: 343 mm; Hay barn interior: 19mm; vintage gas station: 40mm; Dilapidated farm building: 13mm; Denise’s tree Infrared: 20mm.

Images and card design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Palouse ~ A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. June 3-7, 2016/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12

The Palouse ~ A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. June 10-14, 2016/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12

Double Header!

Maximize both your travel dollars and your learning experience by signing up for both IPTs.


Images and card design by Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure.

The Palouse IPTs

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will likely enjoy spectacular sunrises and possibly a nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. We will take you to some really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join us for this trip. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

After 6 days of back-breaking scouting work in early June 2014 we found all of the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and views. On three additional scouting days in 2015 we discovered several more truly amazing locations. We will teach you what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time.

What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, our newfound but very extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions when possible. There will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before each workshop begins.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills. You will learn to get the right exposure every time. You will learn to develop your creative eye. You will learn the basics of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. You will learn a variety of in-camera creative techniques. Most importantly you will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images. Do see both of our blogs for lots more on that in the coming weeks. You will learn how the quality and direction of light combine to determine the success of your images. And–please don’t gasp–we will be working quite a bit with sidelight when creating landscapes. Lastly, we will be doing some infrared photography.

To Sign Up

A non-refundable $699 deposit is due now. The balance will be due on February 15, 2016. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

With the spectacular success that we enjoyed in 2015 it seems quite likely that this one will fill up very quickly. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining us. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours or send us a check to leave a deposit; the latter is preferred. If by check, please make out to “Arthur Morris” and mail it to: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via e-mail: artie or denise.

Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options. You can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.


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