The Stourbridge Canal is a canal in the West Midlands of England. It links the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Stourton Junction, affording access to traffic from the River Severn with the Dudley Canal at the heart of the Black Country.

On bright sunny days, when normal photography would be out of the question (due to contrast problem) I usually take out my Nikon D100. This is a camera I had converted to take Infrared images. What makes digital infrared photography so exciting is, there are no rules and there are no boundaries. You, the photographer, have complete control over the final image. Your main concern should always be with your white balance settings, once you’ve got to grips with that the rest is just plain sailing; Auto levels and a slight contrast boost will almost certainly improve your images. As for the rest; well let your imaginations run wild.

The Stourbridge canal leaves the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Stourton Junction, and immediately enters a four-lock flight to gain height and continues towards the Stourbridge Arm (on the same level) and into the centre of Stourbridge, while a flight of sixteen locks takes the canal up the hill towards Brierley Hill. From here, the Fens Branch is a short, navigable feeder from Fens Pools and the main canal continues for 1.8 miles to Delph Locks, a flight at the start of the Dudley Canal, which originally consisted of nine locks, but was rebuilt as eight in 1858.

The canal forms part of the Stourport Ring, which is one of the popular cruising rings for leisure boating. The length of the route is 74 miles, passes through 105 locks located on six inter-connected waterways.

Scenery along most canals lends itself beautifully to charms and delights of infrared photography as I hope these images show. Everything here was taken with a Nikon D100 using a custom white balance (in camera) and a Nikon 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 VR lens.

If you want to know more about Infrared Photography, what cameras are best, what filters to use and how to set your white balance I have set up a Beginners Guide to Infrared Photography at: www.infrared-photography.co.uk

Downloads are available for most of the images shown here and for the fixed price of just £4.99 each.

All downloads are medium sized .jpeg files,  approximately 1400 pixels in the longest length  @ 72dpi and are protected by International copyright laws.

To those who purchase/download my work  I am willing to grant you personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable, right to use my images on your personal web site/blog, provided that no image is displayed at a resolution greater than 800 x 600 pixels.

I also give my permission for you to use them as screensavers and mobile phone wallpaper for your own personal, non-commercial use.

I am also happy to supply you with larger files, for editorial or advertising in magazines, newspapers, books, book covers and eBooks. Or, if you prefer, as prints to hang on your wall, at home or in your office. All you have to do is contact me: dotcomjohnny@gmail.com

I do not allow my images to be resold or re-distributed on shared disk drives, computer networks, cloud space and social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, you may not display my work in such a way that gives the impression that it was created by you.

If you’re unsure of your rights under these terms and conditions, or if you wish to use an image in a way not covered by the above, please contact me: dotcomjohnny@gmail.com

Having had time to get more acquainted with Nikon FC-E8 Fisheye lens I purchased for my infrared converted Coolpix 995 I’ve made a couple of interesting discoveries.

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angel

angel

boat-people

boat-people

cam

cam

church gates

church gates

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curvesadjustment

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esp

esp

exit

exit

Foot Loose

Foot Loose

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IR-Building-web

no1bridge

no1bridge

pit-head

pit-head

sign

sign

statue

statue

steplights

steplights

StMichaels Tree

StMichaels Tree

The Lightening Tree

The Lightening Tree

the photographer

the photographer

three trees

three trees

Titford Canal

Titford Canal

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waterfront#1

waterfront#2

waterfront#2

waterfront#3

waterfront#3

Wychbury Heights

Wychbury Heights

All Images Copyright John Powell, 2011

My main concern was the fact that I wasn’t getting pin sharp images when I engaged the camera in the recommend Fish#1 setting. What the Fish#1 setting actually does is set the cameras zoom to its widest setting. With the FC-E8 attached you get a phenomenal 183 degree field of view. What the camera then proceeds to do is set the focus point to infinity, which is what you don’t want, not with a Fisheye Lens you don’t!

With all ultra-angle lenses you need to get close to your subject and fill the frame. But if the camera is set to focus at infinity you will never achieve sharp images.

To remedy this I have dispensed with the in-built menu settings and created my own, which I have saved and asigned to the FUNC1 button.

My settings now read as follows:
Coolpix is reset to Normal Lens Mode
Metering is set to Centre-Weighted
Focusing is set to:
Manual Area AF (you choose AF area)
Single Point AF (you choose AF point)
Focus Confirmation: On

As you can see from the images shown, focusing is no longer an issue, keeping one’s head, feet and shadow out of shot is!

Happy Fishing!

Update: Saturday 29th January, 2011 – Slide Show Feature Added

Useful Links:  Coolpix 995 | Nikon FC-E8 | Infrared Photography Guide |

It may be of very little interest to some, but for me and anyone else who happens to enjoy ultra wide-angle photography, owning a Fisheye lens must come pretty high up on their wish list.

I have to confess my, Fisheye lens isn’t a true lens as such, but Fisheye attachment, designed for the classic Nixon Coolpix 995.

Although the Nixon FC-E8 (official title) dates back to 2001 its still a very much a sort after accessory, so much so, its taken ages to track one down. I got mine from Cash Generators in Manchester for a ridiculous price of just £40!

The perspective you get from this type of lens is phenomenal. With the Coolpix 995 you have the choice of two settings, Fish#1 or Fish #2.

Fish#1 gives you a full 183 degree circular view, equal to a 8mm Fisheye lens.
Fish #2 gives you the equivalent of a 15mm full frame Fisheye.

In addition to my wide-angle obsession I also love to capture images in infrared. The combination of eerie monochrome images along with an exaggerated perspective creates some very interesting results.

The four sample images shown here were all taken with my infrared modified Nikon Coolpix 995 using the Nikon FC-E8 in Fish #2 mode @ 200 ISO.

More about the Nikon FC-E8 Fisheye Adapter
Originally developed for scientific or industrial applications, Fisheye lenses are now also widely used in advertising, commercial and general photography. Fisheye lenses create a dramatic effect, showing the viewer the world as a fish might see it. With coverage up to 220? – virtually seeing backwards – Nikkor Fisheye lenses can add a new dimension to your photography.For special effect photography, as well as a variety of scientific and industrial applications, the Fisheye lens FC-E8 for Nikon CoolPix digital cameras is ideal. All-encompassing 180? Fisheye coverage records everything in front of the camera, and produces a circular image on the film. Bright f / 2.8 aperture for dim light or fast shutter speeds. Close-focusing is now down to 33cm (1 foot), full-aperture viewing and metering. Easy filter interchange; 5 filters are built into a revolving turret inside the lens.

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The Nikon D100 is a discontinued 6-megapixel DSLR designed for professionals and advanced hobbyists. It was introduced on February 21, 2002 at the PMA Annual Convention and Trade Show as a direct competitor to Canons EOS D60.

 

As it is with a lot of older cameras they simply get passed over by newer models, yet can still produce excellent images.

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a fully converted DSLR for some time. Regular readers to this blog will know I have a converted Coolpix 995, which I converted myself and produces really good images. However, because of the smaller sensors used in compact cameras, producing prints above 10×8 is a bit of a struggle. Don’t get me wrong the 995 is a great little tool if you only ever upload your work to the Internet or show via a digital projector. My master plan is to produce a panel of IR prints (20) and submit them as part of my MFIAP in 2012.

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All images taken with a Nikon D100 converted for Infrared Photography

[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_beauford.jpg]140Beauford
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_camp-bonk-cross.jpg]130Camp Bonk Cross, Pensnett
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_chillout.jpg]120The Chill Out Zone, Himley Hall, Dudley
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_george-paterson-rip.jpg]70RIP George Paterson
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_himley-avenue.jpg]80Himley Avenue, Dudley
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_hw-horton-was-here.jpg]60HW Horton was Here
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_roots2.jpg]70Roots
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_slow.jpg]50Slow
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_tethered.jpg]40Tethered, Pensnett, West Midlands
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-picnik.jpg]30The Picnik, Himley Hall, Dudley
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-rendezvous.jpg]30The Rendezous
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-stroll.jpg]20The Stroll, Saltwells Nature Reserve
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_titford-canal.jpg]40Titford Canal, Oldbury, West Midlands
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-lightening-tree.jpg]90
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_wychbury-heights.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0639a.jpg]30
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0640a.jpg]50
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0645.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0651.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0652a.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0655a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0656a.jpg]110
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0658a.jpg]190
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0659.jpg]30
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0682a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0690c.jpg]80
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0694a.jpg]70
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0719a.jpg]70
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0727a.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0730a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0783a.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0788a.jpg]80
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0792a.jpg]120
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0794a.jpg]90

Images within this slideshow were taken with a IR Converted Nikon D100. Updated: 20.6.2012

Buying a camera and then having it converted is still an expensive option. If you look around you will find, like I did, that older models can be snapped up for the price of an IR conversion. I paid £250 for my converted D100, in excellent condition, off eBay. I later added the MB-D100 battery grip for £35.

The conversion made to my D100 was carried out by LifePixel in America whereby they remove the internal IR blocking filter and replace it with a standard IR filter, equivalent to Hoya R72 filter. This is a good all around infrared filter choice because coloured (Channel Swapped/Blues Skies) images are possible too. Black & white IR photography looks great with this filter as it shows a good tonal range in the final print.

Getting good, consistent results from any converted camera means mastering your white balance settings. In my experience, leaving the camera to automatically determine the white balance seldom gets the best results.

The D100 has a peculiar procedure for setting up a custom white balance. After spending hours trailing the Internet (the manual doesn’t tell you) I finally found what I was looking for.

Setting a Custom White Balance for your D100 (IR).

Turn the camera on.

Turn the top dial to “WB”

Turn the thumb side dial until “PRE” shows on the top LCD screen.

Turn the index finger dial (on the front of the camera) and the top LCD screen letters will blink.

Focus on a bright patch of grass, in the same light as your subject.

Press the AE/AF Lock button and press the shutter button.
* You must hold the AE/AF button down or the camera shutter won’t fire.

“Good” will blink on the top LCD screen.

Job Done!

Remember to reset the top dial back to your shooting mode (Programmed, Aperture, Shutter, etc.)

To undo your preset White Balance simply return the camera back to its regular White Balance choices, turn the top dial back to “WB” and turn the dial until your choice reappears on the screen. Then reset the top dial back to your preferred shooting mode.

 

Having decided not to go to the expense of having one of my DSLR’s converted to shoot infrared, instead, I decided to have a go at doing a conversion myself. The camera I had chosen to convert was the Nikon Coolpix 995. Although these cameras were quite expensive in their day you can pick them up relatively cheaply on e-bay. Because I’d never attempted anything like this before, I was reluctant to pay too much for my 995. I set myself a messily budget of just 50 quid, not a lot of cash granted, but enough if it all ends up in the dustbin! Like I said, I’ve never done this before. . .

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Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

The Coolpix 995 I won on e-bay set me back just over 30 quid and to my surprise was in pretty good condition. It came with 2 new batteries, a leather case and the manual, none of which I was expecting for £30.50 pence! In fact, it was in such good condition it was a shame to dismantle it.

The reason for dismantling the camera is to remove the infrared blocking filter, known as the hot mirror. With the hot mirror removed the CCD inside the camera will be sensitive to light-waves up to about 900nm. Because Infrared wavelengths start just beyond the deepest reds of the spectrum at 700nm we need to block out all light-waves below that figure. To do this we replace the hot mirror filter with a 720nm infrared filter. Once this has been done the camera will be just as sensitive to IR wave-lengths as it was to normal light before.

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Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

Dismantling the camera is pretty straight forward, once you know where the screws are! In fact, only eight screws hold the body casing together with only another two screws holding down the circuit board, located just above the sensor.

The hot mirror is held in place by means of a square rubber grommet, you will need to remove the hot mirror and use as a template to cut your IR filter too. Note: your new IR filter must be the exact same size as the hot mirror filter it is replacing. Once this has been done re-assemble the camera in reverse order and make a few test shots to see if all went according to plan?

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Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

Now! All that sounds pretty straight forward, but it did take me almost four hours to do my conversion, simply because I had no previous experience. If I had to do another 995 conversion I reckon I could do it in under an hour, no sweat!

As for the results, well they’re pretty amazing too. By setting up a custom white balance in camera you will remove most of the red cast caused by the filter and your images will become almost monochromatic, reminiscent of those taken on high speed infrared film.

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Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

The beauty of digital infrared is that you can process them in many different ways depending on your mood at the time. However, the best thing for me is I now have a full converted IR camera, which cost less than 50 quid and I don’t have to carry a tripod around with me every time I want to shoot IR.

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Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

Just one word of warning! If you decide to have a go and convert your own digital camera don’t blame me if it goes horribly wrong! I took a risk and it paid off. Nevertheless, if you value your camera and you don’t want to lose it, have it converted by a pro!

Larger and more detailed images can be seen by visiting my Flickr Photostream . .

My interest in infrared photography goes back a fair few years, having shot my first roll of Kodak High Speed IR film some 20 odd years ago. My results back then were pretty much unpredictable, but today things are quite different. You can, with practice, get a very good indication of how your images are going to turn out, just by looking at the screen on the back of your camera. However, not all cameras are equal! In fact, some are down right useless!

01-Titford Canal

Much has been written over the past few years regarding the suitability of digital cameras for infrared photography. One particular make and model that stands head and shoulders above all others is the Olympus C-2020, which has a Sony a 2.1 mega-pixel sensor.  What a lot of photographers don’t realise is that Sony also made the same 2.1 mp sensor for other companies too.

Nikon fitted this same sensor to some of their early digital cameras; notably the Coolpix 700, 800 and 950. Sony also placed this sensor into their S50 too. As you would expect the results from these cameras are pretty much the same. The only difference you’ll find is in the price! Because the C-2020 has risen to world wide acclaim for being the most sensitive digital camera to IR light so too have their price. Expect to pay around £100 for a good working model, but remember, you have to add one the cost of your lens adapter and Infrared filter too.

02-Disused Railway Bridge

The shelf life of most digital cameras is around 2-3 years, after which most people either don’t use them any more or they stick ‘em on e-bay! After a fair amount of searching this is where I found my Nikon Coolpix 700. I paid – believe it or not, just £7.20 for it! OK, It came with a busted battery catch, but a phone call to Nikon soon put that right.

The lens on the Coolpix 700 has a filter thread of 24mm, finding an IR filter that small is pretty much impossible so be prepared to improvise! Because I’ve been shooting IR for a long time I have several IR filters in a number of different sizes. The smallest of which is 58mm (750nm) filter, which for my trial shots, I fixed the filter to the camera using 2 small rubber bands! Not the most aesthetic way to approach the matter, but it worked all the same.

03-IR Tree and Fence

I have since made a custom filter holder out of a round plastic bung, the type used for plugging the ends of those round photographic tube mailers. Believe it or not, but he finished item blends seamlessly in with the Coolpix design!

All the images shown here have were taken, hand held, using a Coolpix 700 and a 750nm Infrared filter. The resulting .jpeg files have been processed in Photoshop using auto levels, a medium contrast curve adjustment, followed by some selective dodge and burning.

04-Langley Maltings

By using a 750nm filter, instead of the more popular 720nm (R72), almost all normal light-waves have been filtered out, rendering the image, virtually black and white. By adding a touch of grain and/or a small amount of diffused glow the resulting 10” x 8” prints are pretty much indistinguishable from the infrared prints I used to make back in the eighties.

05-Round Oak Railway

If you like you’re infrared images with a blue sky (channel swapped) I would recommend you use the R72 filter instead as this filter isn’t strong enough to block out all normal light-waves. These jpeg files take on a brownish tinge. By swapping the red and blue channels in Photoshop you end up with a blue sky. However, depending on the amount of Infrared light around at the time you take the shot, more is better; channel swapping can leave your foliage looking slightly magenta! Personally, I like my Infrared to have that authentic moody, grainy – slightly out of focus look about it. In fact, you can process your digital infrared images in any way want, who’s to say what’s right and what’s wrong?

06-Titford Canal Railway Bridge

Happy (IR) Snapping . . .

John is the founding member of the Infrared Photographic Society (www.irps.org.uk). The society is free to join and is open to all interested photographers the world over.

For several months now, I’ve been some what puzzled by the interest show on one of my infrared images on Flickr. The image in question was taken back in May ‘08, purely as a test shot, due to me having purchased a stronger (750nm) IR filter for my Canon G9.

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This image has now (June ’09), clocked up almost 5500 views, why? By my own admission I’d have to say its not particularly good image, I have much better, on my photostream, so why all the interest in this one?

Day after day, week after week, the views have stacked up, it’s weird! I just had to investigate the matter further.

Well! Once I set my mind to it, it didn’t take me long to find out where all the hits were coming from. I could see straight away that only 50% of all my hits were coming directly from Flickr, 25% from Google image searches and the remaining 25% from e-bay!  . . . EBAY?

I’m thinking, OK, I sell the odd item here and there, but nothing that warrants so much traffic.

It turns out that the fellow in China, who I purchased my 750mn IR filter from is linking his infra red filter adverts directly to my IR Test Shot – Cheeky Bugger!

I’ve just finished mocking up a special, single web-page: http://tinyurl.com/infrared-fotobestbuy so that we can both benefit from it. Him with even more filter sales, me with more hits and perhaps a few Digital Infrared Photography book sales too.

I’ll let you know how it developes. . .lol

P.S. Thank’s to all who voted for my Staffordshire Way (revisited) in the DAPA GroupPerfect Images Competition

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It Won!

…. UPDATE …. UPDATE …. UPDATE ….

E-mail from Thomas (fotobestbuys):

Thank you so much for creating the web page for our Suntec IR-750 filters. It will be very useful for those potential clients needing a review. I have added your link in the all related items. As a matter of fact, we are planning to launch a compact camera IR conversion service in the next 2 months. I will let you have more details nearer the time. Here are a few sample images that have been taken with a modified Fuji F30

Thank you for your efforts.
Best Regards,
Thomas
fotobestbuy