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How to emulate Aerochrome

The Aare is still high, but the rain has subsided, at the moment the weather is really summery again. I took advantage of the sun today to try out my converted and painted Nikon D70. To emulate Aerochrome, you need the right camera, the right lens and the right filter combo. Older lenses are definitely better. In this case I used a Nikon zoom lens, 28-80mm as well as the Orange + X1 filter combo. Post-processing was a bit extensive on this one to really tease out the red color palette. Extensive by my standards. I set the values in Photoshop Raw Converter as follows:

White Balance
Temperature: 2500
Tint: 23

Contrast and brightness a little up.

Color Mixer
Greens: -30
Blues: -30

Then swap the color channels and set a vintage filter.

 
Emulate Aerochrome

Emulate Aerochrome

Emulate Aerochrome

Emulate Aerochrome

Painted Nikon

Painted Nikon

A new obsession: Blue trees!

As I probably once alluded to, I am looking for a false color IR style that will produce blue trees.

I have tried many things. For a long time it seemed that the combination of Hoya Green X1 (a real secret weapon for IR photographers) and Tiffen Yellow 8 would be promising. The tones in the vegetation are pretty, but too reddish. A change to more blue is too costly and thus not optimal for me.

 
Green water

 
I then tested other combinations. I picked up a “Swatchbook” from Lee Filters (link). This is something like a Swiss Army knife for false color photography fans. The catalog covers the entire range of filters from Lee, is very inexpensive and is wonderful for finding out new IR styles.

Of particular promise here were the somewhat more obscure yellows, browns, and oranges that have names like “Ald Gold” or “Urban Sodium.” After extensive clicking with all sorts of variants, I came across the one that was best suited in my eyes: Deep Amber (link), which is a darker yellow tone.

Together with Hoya X1 resulted in photos characterized by cyan-blue skies and purple vegetation. Since the purple is closer to blue than the pale magenta of the 8/X1 combo, the change to blue was relatively easy. What was unfavorable for me was the magenta coloring of yellows. Therefore, a little shifting was necessary here as well.

 
Blue trees

 
So I did the following: In the Raw Converter minus 50 at the Purple tones in the Color Mixer, then in the Channel Mixer at Green a change (Red 50 and Green 50). That’s all.

The only problem is that this seems to work so well only with my Tokina 11-16mm lens (link). It is so that this lens filters out more IR light than other lenses. Thus, the sceneries become more “natural” and the IR-absorbing objects become darker.

Here is the setup:

 
Blue trees

 
So the search for the optimal method to create blue trees continues.

Color explosion

I love moss-covered trees. They radiate mystery and grace. There is an almost magical hidden place near where I live where moss reigns. There, below a gigantic rock wall, you will find a small pond, surrounded by hills full of man-sized stones that have fallen over the centuries, dead wood and moss-covered firs and trees. In winter the sun never shines there, and the rest of the year only for a few hours a day.

I’ve always had trouble teasing IR light out of these moss artworks. I tried everything: 720nm, 590nm and so on. Never did I get satisfactory colors. With the orange-green combination it’s different. The color variation is quite breathtaking especially in the third photo…

I’ll have to return to this spot soon.

 
Color explosion

Color explosion

Color explosion

The Cokin Varicolor: Dramatic skies

As readers will have noticed, I’m a fan of dramatic skies – whether that’s in the form of wild cloud formations or stark color gradients. And it doesn’t always have to be infrared. Yesterday, I had time and muse to try out my Cokin Varicolor filter with my unconverted Nikon D700. According to the manufacturer these filters take on different colors when rotated vertical to horizontal (or vise-versa). “Due to their use of polarizing film the color effects will be stronger in certain areas depending on polarization. You will discover a whole palette of unexpected and unusual shades, which will enhance reality.” (link)

 
Cokin Varicolor

 
It is still difficult to say under which conditions the Cokin Varicolor works best. The angle to the sun is crucial, similar to the normal circular polarizer, which darkens and changes the sky mainly vis-à-vis the sun and 90 degrees to the irradiation line. With the Cokin Varicolor – this is the red-blue variant – stark color gradients come out. I especially like the dark purple tones. The most beautiful thing about it all: The neutral tones and also other colors remain quite untouched with the perfect angle. I can only recommend it. Am curious about the Cokin Varicolor yellow-blue variant, which I will try out soon. Attached below are some test pictures, shot between Selveareal and the military area in the Swiss alpine town of Thun.

 
Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Cokin Varicolor

Pink hills, red firs

Today I was once again at Lake Thun to photograph the surrounding hills and peaks with the Tokina 300mm tele lens. Here are some impressions. The TB550/660/850 filter was used.

 

Lake Thun

Lake Thun