Infra-Red Black & white film photography

11 Nov

My daughter Amy on a Southern Oregon Coast Beach, 1995.

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Infra-Red Black & white film photography

By: Bob Gersztyn

My son Mike and his future wife Susi at Silver Creek Falls 1996.

Reduced Mike and Susi Falls #1

Back in the Spring of 1975 I was enrolled in an experimental photography class at Pasadena city college. We had an assignment that required us to shoot a roll of infra-red black & white film and develop it in straight Kodak D-76 developer for 8 minutes at 68 degrees. We rated the film at 200 ASA (ISO hadn’t been implemented yet) with a red 25A filter, which brought the actual exposure ISO down to 50. The problem was that the instructor had never handled infra-red film before and back then there wasn’t a lot of information around about it, which is why it was experimental. After ruining the first 2 rolls that I shot, by loading them in open light, rather than in a dark room or changing bag, I tried the 3rd in the dark. The film is so sensitive to ultra-violet light that it gets fogged (exposed to light) even though it is inside a light tight cartridge, if you load it in the light.

Portland, Oregon, Willamette River, Steel Bridge, Lloyd Center and Rose Garden and sky, 1996.

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I didn’t use infra-red again until around 1990, when I began to shoot a roll, whenever I photographed an important or interesting subject. Over the next 15 years, I shot dozens of rolls and printed images in my wet darkroom. The problem was that even with a perfect infra-red exposed negatives, it was difficult to get a perfect infra-red print in the darkroom. Using polycontrast paper with a range of filters, it took time and money to get the perfect print. After 10-20 tries, the perfect print was achieved, and if you duplicated the exact exposure time with a consistent light intensity, filter number and developer temperature, you would achieve consistent results. But everything had to be meticulously adhered to or the results would be variable.

Portland, Oregon, Willamette River and boats, steel bridge, Lloyd center and Rose Garden 1996.

Reduced Portland Infra-red Willamette reduced

I purchased Photoshop elements in 2002 and after scanning my infra-red negatives, I was able to achieve more consistent image quality results in a lot less time, without any cost until I printed my final manipulation. I purchased my first digital body, to use with my lenses, in 2012, when I ceased using film for photography. I have a thousand negatives of exposed and developed infra-red film and I wanted to post some of the photoshop images that I selected.

Oregon Country Fair 1999.

Reduced Oregon Country Fair #1

I chose 11 images that were taken during the 1990’s.

Chuck Berry opening for the Grateful Dead in 1995 at 70 years of age.

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The Grateful Dead 1995

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The Grateful Dead 1995

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Mana the biggest Mexican rock group opening for Santana in 1999.

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Carlos Santana 1999

Reduced Santana infrared #2

Silver Creek Falls 1992

Reduced South Silver Creek Falls

Please let me know if you are interested in infra-red black and white images. Bob Gersztyn


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