An Infra Red Diversion

Those who follow this blog will know I have a slight side interest in infrared photography.  Mostly this relates to my main passion of photographing wildlife.  However, I do photograph other things too but don’t share much of that here.  These images are more landscape but I’m sharing them because some may find them interesting photographically and also because they reveal a little more about our world.  

These photos were taken at an English Vineyard (Hambledon’s) recently in a particularly attractive ‘English countryside’ part of Southern England - the Mole valley nestled in the chalk escarpments of the South Downs.  It maybe a surprise to some that we grow wine in England.  We do and in increasingly large amounts and to some very high standards.  Champagne beware, English fizz is very good indeed (if a bit pricy).  They are taken in infrared so, rather than the lush early summer greens of this part of the world, we see the foliage in false infrared (i.e. yellows through reds).   This makes them ‘unusual’ and striking.  Maybe not for everyone and one can tire of the effect.  

However, the infra-red also shows a bit more than we normally notice when looking at a green landscape; they show the health and age of foliage.  The more chlorophyl the more the more infrared is emitted and the more red is seen in the image.  In the photos, we see ‘layers’.  In the foreground are the lines of vines stretching down the hill.  These are all pale orange / yellow.  They are a slightly lighter shade of green than the trees but this is a distinct difference in IR.  What’s happening here is that the vine leaves are relatively young and are still not full of chlorophyl.  In the background we also see differences in the tone of the trees and the crops.  Again, what looks fairly uniform in visible light is more distinctive in IR.  A practiced eye can use this to look at the health of the vegetation in the landscape.  Usefully, whereas in visible light, the greens differ due to lighting differences in the scene, this is less so in IR because the leaves are emitting IR and not just reflecting it.  

I liked the IR photos in their own right but they also tell us a bit more.  Anyway, I hope you also enjoy them at whatever level.     

Gear: Nikon D7200 with ‘full spectrum’ conversion. Nikon 16-80mm DX lens.