One thing I enjoy about photography is experimenting, and trying out new techniques. I've shot a bit of digital infrared over the last 6 or so years, but hadn't yet tried film infrared.
Rollei Infrared film has an extended range to enable it to expose for both visible light and the part of the infrared spectrum, just outside of the visible light range. With the addition of a Hoya R72 filter, it is possible to completely block out visible light from hitting the film, and only allow light from the infrared spectrum through to the film.
I was given a roll of Rollei Infrared 400 for Christmas but needed to buy a Hoya R72 filter before I could shoot it. I ordered the filter from eBay, and once it arrived I headed out to Yarra Bend Park and Darebin Parklands on a sunny weekend at the end of May.
I ended up quickly deciding to use the 50mm 1/8 lens, as I could focus the shot without the filter and then put the filter back onto the lens without accidentally changing the focus, where as with the 35-70 mm lens I had originally planned on using, it is way too easy to accidentally move the focus when trying to put the filter back on.
I used a spotmeter and metered at ISO 6 for the shadows on most shots, as I'd read this as recommended when using the R72 filter to account for the amount of light the filter cuts out. Next time I will meter for the mid-tones at ISO 6 and do a comparison, as looking at the negatives everything was a bit over exposed.
Out of the roll of 36 shots, I was pretty happy with about 5, and the rest, whilst moderately happy, I will take as a learning for future. The main one being to keep the frame as simple as possible. What looks great to what the eye can see can just become a mess when shot in infrared.
The other learning is focus, everything seems to be just slightly off, but really only noticeable once you zoom in to the scans. I will do some more experimenting with the next roll of film ... fingers crossed for a nice sunny winters weekend soon.
About Madeline Bowser
I've been photographing with film for what seems like forever ... well since the late 90's. I shoot both film and digital, but film is where my heart is and I get the most ongoing enjoyment from and what I enjoy sharing and teaching to others. I also travel the world hunting down old cameras and unique locations to photograph in, and exhibit and sell my travel photographs.
When out shooting film, I often get asked the questions 'can you still buy film?', 'I thought film stopped being made 10 years ago' and 'why would you want to shoot film when you can shoot digital'.
My answers are, 'yes', 'no, it didn't', and 'I also shoot digital, both have their place in my mind'.
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