Friday, August 14, 2009

More Fun in the Desert with Infrared

As usual, I continue to be fascinated by the look of infrared (IR) photography. As I mentioned in a previous post, most digital cameras are sensitive to IR and even have a filter in them that removes IR before the light reaches the sensor; otherwise, pictures could end up looking unexpectedly strange.

This is a photo taken earlier this year from Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA. Toward the right is Mt. San Jacinto, the mountain that is largely responsible for creating the desert to the left. The city of Palm Springs lies on the flat area immediately to the left of the mountain. IR actually helps the town blend into the surrounding desert, since foliage of the non-native trees and shrubs is rendered white by IR. The white foliage, in turn, melts into the light-colored sands of the Coachella Valley.

IR also removes atmospheric haze. Mt. San Jacinto thus looks clearer and less distant than it actually is.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to do more traveling around the Southwest. But whenever that time comes, IR photography, as well as color, is on the agenda!

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