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Foveon IR photo myth dispelled

There are a couple of myths and misconceptions out there surrounding infrared photography. Take these for example:

– An IR photo looks best when shot on a bright sunny day around noon
– IR cameras can shoot pictures in total darkness
– A fake IR photo can easily be made with Photoshop and can’t be distinguished from real IR pics
– “Aerochrome” is dead and cannot be reproduced with digital cameras

And here’s another, very persistent myth concerning infrared photography: You can’t achieve the classic digital IR look (white trees and blue skies) with Sigma cameras, because they have a sensor completely different from Canon or Nikon sensors (Bayer).

But the fact is: You absolutely can! Actually, you can achieve all the known IR and full-spectrum looks with Sigma cameras. And the results look, at least in my opinion, even better.

The reason why this myth is so persistent? No one really tries out stuff for themselves these days. It seems as everyone just listens to what other people tell them in forums and Facebook groups.

Thanks to a photographer/mountaineer named Tom alias tagscuderia I started experimenting with the official Sigma software Photo Pro (SPP), which is used to “develop” your raw files. As described in the previous posts (link) I wanted to get a more faithful recreation of “Aerochrome”, the old false color IR Kodak film which is not produced anymore. This photo by Tom (link), taken in the Pyrenees, inspired me to go down that route. (Thank you, Tom! I hope you’ll get your red filter soon as well)

While experimenting with my red filter and SPP I found out that you can process your raw files to a point where further work in Photoshop, through the channel mixer tool (standard tool for IR photographers), can get you yellow or white vegetation in your IR photo. It’s actually very easy to achieve once you know what to do.

Here are some preliminary results. A detailed manual will be posted here once I’ve worked out the best workflow and exact numbers in SPP and Photoshop:

IR photos

IR photos

IR photos

IR photos

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