Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chamonix In Infrared

I was in the french alps recently to ride the Megavalanche downhill mountain bike race and to shoot some mtb work based around the location, event and riders. Most of that work is making it's way on to slikimages.com in shoot-based instalments.

However it wasn't all bikes and due to an iunjury I found myself with a few days in Chamonix on my hands where I wasn't able to ride.

The weather for the duration of the trip was stunning, hot and sunny. So hot in fact that it was pretty much mandatory to hike at altitude to escape the 30+ degree heat at the bottom of the valley.

Plan Praz to Brevent cable car, Chamonix.

While the blue skies and hard sunlight was a big help in evening up cycling tan-lines, it wasn't the most flattering for photography. However, I also packed my infrared converted Canon D60. Mainly I had wanted to try some riding shots with it ( see here for a few of them ) but it is also ideal for shooting in harsh sunlight. The heavy contrast only adds depth to the already dramatic and surreal feel of IR images.

Looking towards l'Aiguille Vert Les Moullins from L'Aiguille du Midi on a summer afternoon.

The difference with shooting IR at higher altitudes is immediately obvious in the skies: There's no subtle indigo toning and the blue sky goes a heavy moody black leaving the clouds to pick out and add detail.

During the conversion stage for these images I flipped between trying to retain the subtle colouring of the blue rocks and yellow ice and losing colour completely to give high contrast black and white images. I also used the Red-Blue channel switch subjectively to add/remove warm or cold toning to the images.

View of Glacier des Bossons from Le Chalet des Pyramides. Chamonix.

I'm pretty happy with the images and how they turned out. Especially as the results aren't immediately apparent when shooting infrared. It's actually quite a nice hybrid between shooting digital and the old days of shooting black and white film: while it's captured and previewable instantly the final image doesn't work without the processing. Click here for the full gallery of images.

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