• Ultraviolet Photography

[IR] My early days

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#1 DaveO

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 01:11

I started into infrared back in 1989 after hearing a camera club talk about Kodak infrared film. I loaded a cassette (in the dark) into my trusty Pentax Spotmatic and with a red filter over the lens used the whole roll finding out what exposure setting I should use. I ended up (I think) using 200 ASA. I also found that apart from the halation effect giving the expected ghostly flare around highlights the film was VERY prone to scratching in cameras which had never scratched a film before.

This was the result in my next roll of film

Attached Image: Milawa_Homestead_800.jpg

I was hopelessly hooked


#2 Andy Perrin


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Posted 11 April 2020 - 01:20

A VERY nice image!

#3 Stefano


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Posted 11 April 2020 - 01:22

Yes, as you said there is a halo around bright regions, it softens everything. Are you sure it isn’t due to the lens having some aberration in IR? They can have them since they were designed for visible light.

#4 colinbm


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Posted 11 April 2020 - 04:24

Nice one Dave, that would have hooked me too...

#5 nfoto

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 05:40

The Kodak HIE film lacked anti-halation layer. Thus highlights got the "fuzzy" look people tend to associate with IR, but which is only a side effect of that film, not IR as such. It also had very high contrast which made shadows very dark, again a rendition falsely attributed to IR.

It is easy to understand why Dave got hooked by IR ...

#6 JMC


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Posted 11 April 2020 - 08:18

Great photo Dave. I miss the days of Kodak HIE and its glowy highlights.
Jonathan M. Crowther


#7 Andy Broomé

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 16:25

Such a dreamy photo. I never shot IR film, but would like to try one day.

#8 OlDoinyo


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Posted 11 April 2020 - 18:17

Lovely cirrus in the sky there--a nice shot overall. The film was very contrasty if developed in D-76. I posted a while back about using an old roll to shoot UV.

#9 DaveO

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 09:18

Before I get too nostalgic about Kodak HIE here's what a search found:
Kodak High-Speed Infrared film, also known as Kodak HIE, was a popular black-and-white infrared photographic film from Kodak. The film was sensitive to the visible light spectrum (with decreased green sensitivity), infrared radiation up to 900nm in wavelength, and some ultraviolet radiation as well.

The prominent blooming or "glow" often seen in the highlights of infrared photographs is an artifact of HIE and not of infrared light itself (nor even of all IR-sensitive films). This is because conventional photographic films have an anti-halation layer that absorbs scattered light, while HIE lacks this backing. As a result, Kodak HIE (which also had a completely transparent base, whereas most films have slightly fogged bases) had to be loaded and unloaded in total darkness. Light can enter the film through the tail protruding from a 35mm canister and without a fogged base it will be piped into the film and expose it; without an anti-halation layer any light entering the substrate through the emulsion will be reflected back and forth inside the film, becoming diffuse as it travels and causing halation. Nonetheless, HIE was produced without a fogged base and anti-halation layers so that sensitivity would be increased by allowing light to reflect back and forth, and because it was difficult to find any way of treating the film that would be effective at infrared wavelengths.

HIE featured a polyester film base that was very stable but susceptible to scratches, and therefore required extra care during development, processing and scanning.

It explains why you had to take the film cassette out of the plastic case and load it into the camera IN THE DARK. Ah, the good old days!

I used to develop the film in Kodak HC110 developer, because I preferred 'one shot' development using this concentrated developer.

#10 GaryR


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Posted 12 April 2020 - 17:49

Beautiful shot Dave!
I remember those days of darkroom procedure, with the lingering scent of developer, stop bath and fixer solutions in the air. I had shot a few rolls of HIE as a novelty, but wasn't really hooked on IR, until I started shooting digital. Personally, I like the glow, but it's funny how an unintended film-based anomalies, are now widely accepted in the digital world.

#11 OlDoinyo


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Posted 12 April 2020 - 21:52

The halation is most prominent at long wavelengths. The effect is not very noticeablet when shooting HIE at UV wavelengths. One reason for the light piping/fogging problem is that IR pipes more readily than visible or UV; in fact, IR has a nasty tendency to leak everywhere and I have had to tape over spots on certain lens barrels to stanch IR leaks, even when shooting UV.