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Beverly Warns Infrared Photography

Infrared Explained

Infrared photography captures infrared light that we can't see with the naked eye.

Visible light is electromagnetic energy that we can see with our eyes. Different colors of light have different wavelengths. Of the light we can see, red light has the longest wavelength and blue light has the shortest. In a rainbow light from the sun is separated according to wavelength with red light on one side and blue light on the other in a continuum of other colors in between.

There is also em energy that we cannot see. At shorter wavelengths than blue light is ultraviolet light, x-rays and gamma rays. Light with wavelengths just slightly longer than visible red light is called near ir light - near because it is the red light we can see, in the electromagnetic spectrum. At even longer wavelengths is thermal infrared light, which is emitted by warm objects such as our bodies, and at even longer wavelengths are microwaves and radio waves.

Infrared light is just like visible light but it is just beyond the range of wavelengths we can see, just beyond red. Infrared light is "redder" than red.

Although the sun emits most of its light in the visible part of the em spectrum, it also emits a considerable amount of infrared light. In ir photography, ir light emitted by the sun is reflected off of objects in the environment, such as leaves and people, and captured on film or by electronic sensors.

Different materials reflect different colors of light to greater or lesser degrees. Green leaves, for example, selectively reflect green light while they reflect red light and blue light which they use for photosynthesis. Infrared photographs look different than visible light photographs because of the way objects reflect or absorb infrared light.

Infrared photography captures the ethereal, other-worldly appearance of reflected infrared light. Infrared photography reveals the world, quite literally, in a different light.

Image Series
Australia   •   Beaches   •   Bridges   •   Coastline   •   Color   •   FLORIDA Bay Pines
FLORIDA Boca Grande   •   FLORIDA Little Gasparilla Island   •   FLORIDA Saint Petersburg
Lily Ponds   •   New Zealand   •   Palms   •   Panoramic   •   Trees   •   Waipio Valley

© 2006 Beverly Warns