Interview with Flariden Martinez dela Torre

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Tell us a little about yourself

Im Flariden Martinez dela Torre, a sales executive by profession and on my extra time, im also a photographer. From the start, im just a serious photographer hobbyist but this hobby is expensive so I decided to earn some money in this field to support myself in buying my gadgets.

Your current location:  Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates.

What made you move into IR Photography? (What or Who inspired you to IR Photography)

Since 2004 Im already a photo enthusiast yet im using a simple digicam during that time. Last 2009, I saw the IR photos of my friend Mr. Boyet Lizardo and I was amazed. From that moment, I decided to be in Photography in a deeper manner. I bought my first DSLR camera and started basic photography first. Then I tried to use IR filter for Infrared Photography. But, Im not that satisfied with the result specially when comparing it to my friend’s IR photos. So, when I got the budget, I ask the help of Mr. Boyet so I can have an IR converted camera body. That’s the start of my journey in IR photography.

What where the resources( Magazine, Internet) that you looked into for IR Photography?

You may find a lot of website that will give you insight in IR photography.  I’ll give you some examples of good sites:

 http://www.tutorial9.net/tutorials/photography-tutorials/infrared-photography/

 http://www.lifepixel.com/tutorials/infrared-photoshop-basics

Did you convert your camera to IR or do you use Filters?

Yes, I have a Nikon D70 converted body with 590nm IR Filter on it. Nowadays, im not using any IR filter anymore.

Where in UAE can I convert my camera to IR?

I knew one Filipino Photographer who can do that here in U.A.E, Mr. Roy Alvarez. But im not sure if his doing it for business J . Because as I said, I took my IR camera from the Philippines and converted there.

Is there any specs required for camera to be converted to IR?

I don’t think so, although im not an expert on IR conversion & as far as I know, as long you have a DSLR Camera , it can be converted to IR. You may ask the expert from that Mr. Boyet . Just visit his site http://seeingredph.multiply.com/

What camera and gear do you use for IR Photography? Normal Photography?

For IR Photography, im using my converted Nikon D70 body. My favorite lenses for IR are my the kit lens Nikkor 18-55mm (No hotspot) and Tokina 12-24mm. For my other photography, im using my Nikon D7000 and my favorite Nikkor 24-70 f2.8.

Is there any other favourite subject in photography that you do other than IR photography? (Macro/landscape/Portrait)

Yes, Im doing wedding , portraits , landscape and macro photography

Is Lens choice a factor when shooting IR photography? If so, why?

Definitely. For those that are new to IR photography, one of the common questions is about a white spot or light area in the center of the image. The answer – a hotspot.

Hotspots are caused by internal reflections of light within the lens and camera body. I have seen reference to the origin being metal reflections from the inner portion of the lens, reflections from lens elements, or the sensor. My belief is the reflection is related to a combination of the above with uncontrolled reflections off lens elements being the biggest problem area. Lens designers are aware of the issue and make design and coating modifications to eliminate hotspots for visible light, but don’t always consider the IR spectrum. That’s the reason why some of the lenses when use to IR photography have hotspot problem.

In all lenses I have tested, some evidence of hotspots shows up with narrow apertures. Most lenses do not hotspot at wide apertures – but that is not always the case. The balance is finding the aperature settings that are usable and provide enough depth of field while not hotspotting.

Here are the site with almost a complete list of lenses which produce or not produce hotspot

Which is better, convert camera to IR or use Filters and why?

A converted IR camera body. Why? Its very simple,  when you look at the viewfinder you still see the scene in a normal way plus the fact that you will set up your camera like an ordinary DSLR. Unlike when you use an IR filter and put it to the lens, it will be hard for you to see anything in the viewfinder and you need a long exposure when shooting even in the middle of the day.

What are the different types of IR filter to be used?

There are a lot of different IR Filter  but the most common are the following:

  • Standard IR (720 nm) Filter
  • If you prefer an all around filter, this should you be your choice. You can achieve color IR but the colors are not as rich compared to the lower nm filters since this filter blocks most of the color wave length. You can still have blue skies and light yellow folliage. With good skills in Photoshop you may be able to achieve more color effects. Also if you are into black and white photography, these filter is most suited for you because of it’s deep contrast and tonal range.
  • Enhanced IR (630 nm) Filter
  • As this filter sits between the standard and extra-enhanced filters, you get the best of both worlds though you will be needing some skills in Photoshop. With proper custom white balance, you can have either a red or grayish sky and cyan to light blue foliage. Since this filter passes more light than the 720 nm, you can play around with more colors and still get that near IR feeling. This also works best for black and white photography but with lesser contrast. You can use this as well for people photography.
  • Extra-enhanced IR (590 nm) Filter
  • Many refer to this as the “goldie” IR popularized by another conversion company. These should be your filter if you have minimum skills in Photoshop as you can get great results straight from the camera. All you need is to set you custom white balance by using a gray card or white paper and you can have a photo with an almost sephia-like tone but with blue foliage and good skin tone. This is one of the filters that can get you different surreal effects. Even overcast weather can be turned into a great shot. Since this filter allows more visible light, the result you can get is almost like the real word. I must admit, this one is our favorite and this filter is on my cam.

*NM=Nanometer

Our eyes are sensitive to light which lies in a very small region of the electromagnetic spectrum labeled “visible light”. This “visible light” corresponds to a wavelength range of 400 – 700 nanometers (nm) and a color range of violet through red. The human eye is not capable of “seeing” radiation with wavelengths outside the visible spectrum. Infrared radiation has a longer wavelength than visible red light.

*Another information about IR filter on this site http://dpfwiw.com/ir.htm#ir_filters

As IR Blocks visible light, how is it possible for you to compose a shot if your camera is converted to IR?Is it hence better to use Filter rather as you can compose and then put the filter back on? Whats your experience?

This is true when you are using an IR Filter and attached it to your lense. But, using a modified/converted IR DSLR camera will NOT give you this kind of hardship for taking an IR photos.

Since the IR filter blocks light, there will be long exposures when shooting IR photography? So does it create noise when using long exposures?

This is only when you are using an IR filter to the lense and yes it will create noise.

Is there anything of concern regarding IR Photography? I heard that of IR contamination? Can you please elaborate on this?

Don’t worry about this co’z this IR contamination is very rare for IR Digital Photography. I’ve heard this problem during the film days for IR photography but I don’t have any details about this. It is discussed on this site http://dpfwiw.com/ir.htm#contamination

Coming to Post Production, can you share your processing technique on IR photography?

This is the basic procedure:

Open your IR photo in Photoshop. The first thing we want to do is to use a feature called Channel Mixer. Create a new adjustment layer and select Channel Mixer. You can now control the channels RED, GREEN and BLUE. What we want to do is switch the Red and the Blue channel.

Select Red and drag the Red setting to 0% and drag the Blue setting to 100%

Select Blue and drag the Blue setting to 0% and drag the Red setting to 100%

You may try to experiment on this or change something in your color balance.

I do also some experiment to combine the IR photos with HDR processing technique.

What are the essential gears required for IR Photography?

A modified IR camera body or if you don’t have one, an IR filter to be attach to ur lens.

What are the perfect subjects for IR Photography?

Trees and Landscapes.

 Is it possible to shoot at night using IR camera?

IR photography is the art of capturing invisible light which normally produce by sunlight. So normally IR photography are for daytime only. But some says that If you want to shoot infrared at night, you’ll have to provide an infrared light source to ‘light up’ what you’re photographing and that will be very expensive J

What other photographers do you like in IR Photography? Normal Photography?

For IR Photography , Mr. Boyet Lizardo who inspired me and Mr. Andy Finney , a well known photographer & author of IR books. Honestly very few is well known in the world of IR photography.

For Normal photography-  Scott Kelby , Joe Mcnally , Lito Sy, Jay Alonzo , Parc Cruz , Maricris Fabi Carlos and Manny Librodo.

Something you’re still learning?

Advanced Lightings & Advanced Photoshop related to photography

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A peaceful and happy family with a lot of sweet photos

Favourite escape? 

Laguna, Philippines & Corniche, Abu Dhabi

Are you a Mac or PC lover?

PC lover

The last workshop or seminar you attended and why.

Creative Lighting & Wedding Photography . I know I will learn from these workshop and I can use the knowledge i got for my future plans.

Provide your photography gallery links (flickr or any other sites)

http://riden.multiply.com/

http://www.facebook.com/flariden

What advice do you have for amateurs wanting to go into IR Photography?

We need to know the basics of photography and practice them before going to IR photography. Keep on practicing & keep on shooting. Have the right references and guides for IR photography. You should have a good motivation on all the things you are doing and have a dedication. Always remember,Photographer is an artist who always develop skills in a deeper sense and not always to upgrade his tools.

What would you like to be doing in 5 years time from now?

To have a business related to photography

 

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Vineet Suthan is a Freelance Photographer based in Dubai. He Specializes in commercial shoots for Fashion &Beauty, Maternity and Events Shoots. He also shoots landscapes (HDRs), Long Exposures and Black and White.He is currently coauthor of Vineet-Suthan.com/photoblog.

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