Infrared photography with a Fujifilm X-T1 / First impression

After upgrading to the Fujifilm X-T3, my old X-T1 wasn’t used any longer and started to collect dust. I also stumbled upon infrared photography by Simon Marsden, and was immediately fascinated by it. Since I also did more and more black and white work, I decided to convert the X-T1 to infrared.

There are several options when converting a camera to infrared. If you’re interested, Don Komarechka covers the basics in this video well. I did a conversion with a 830nm filter (“Deep BW”), which basically makes it a black and white camera. It gives you high contrast black and white images, which is just what I wanted.

The pier at a local small harbour // Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 200 23 mm f/4.0 1/250

The pier at a local small harbour // Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 200 23 mm f/4.0 1/250

I received the converted camera and went to a small local harbour for some test shots. I noticed the slight disadvantage with the Deep BW filter: Less light reaches the sensor, and therefore you need longer shutter speeds. The shots in this post were done handheld in the middle of an overcast day. As you can see it went fine doing these images handhold, but with less light or smaller apertures a tripod might be necessary.

Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 400 23mm f/4.0 1/250 sec

Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 400 23mm f/4.0 1/250 sec

Although it’s already May, we recently got fresh snow and it still looks like winter. Therefore you’re not going to see these typical infrared images with bright, glowing foliage right now, although that might change during the summer.

Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 400 23 mm f/2.8 1/250 sec

Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 400 23 mm f/2.8 1/250 sec

Without having BW images from a normal camera as comparison it might not be obvious that these images were made with an infrared camera. But so far I do like the BW look. There have only be done basic adjustments in Lightroom.

It’s too early to conclude how well the converted camera works as I only have used it for two days. But the first impression is positive. I actually like the fact you have to take images in BW, as you are not distracted by colour and need to work on your composition. The following weeks will show in what direction this will lead me and I’ll post some more images.

…and in case you wonder, focusing worked just fine here / Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 400 23 mm f/2.8 1/250 sec

…and in case you wonder, focusing worked just fine here / Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 400 23 mm f/2.8 1/250 sec

Photography trip to Bugøynes and Karlebotn

A first for this blog, with some video I took during the trip. Did not manage to film everything as planned, but it will hopefully give you an impression of the landscape.

It was cloudy and not a particular bright day, but I decided that it wast just the right light to make a trip to Bugøynes and Karlebotn. Bugøynes is a small fishing village. It’s know for king crabs which are being exported to many countries. My visit had nothing with king crabs to do, but the local church I wanted to photograph for a series I am doing.

The church in Bugøynes / Fujifilm X-T3 56mm f/8.0 1/60 sec

The church in Bugøynes / Fujifilm X-T3 56mm f/8.0 1/60 sec

Situated at the sea, it has a rough climate. A walk through the village is worth it, especially for a photographer.

House with a view / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 400 56mm f/4.0 1/400sec

House with a view / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 400 56mm f/4.0 1/400sec

Cabin near Bugøynes / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 400 56mm f/6.4 1/280sec

Cabin near Bugøynes / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 400 56mm f/6.4 1/280sec

I did only a short stop in Bugøynes, as my goal was to make an image of the little chapel in Karlebotn. There are quite a few of these small chapels and churches in Finnmark. The sometimes unusual architecture and the location make for interesting image oppportunities.

As with many buildings, the chapel was build in the 50s after WW2. Due to the war you do not see many buildings from earlier periods in northern Norway.

Chapel in Karlebotn / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 56mm f/8.0 1/15sec

Chapel in Karlebotn / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 56mm f/8.0 1/15sec

The grey sky and slight fog created amazing light to photograph. A blue sky would have changed the setting completely.

The plan was to do a snowshoe hike afterwards, but the days are still short in the north and so I did not manage more than a short walk on my way home. But winter is far from over, so there will be more trips coming the following weeks.

View from Brannsletta, a nature reserve / Fujifilim X-T3 ISO 160 23mm f/11 60sec

View from Brannsletta, a nature reserve / Fujifilim X-T3 ISO 160 23mm f/11 60sec

Brannsletta / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 23mm f/11, 3sec

Brannsletta / Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 23mm f/11, 3sec

Experiments in the cold

Recent days have been the coldest here this winter. This is no surprise, as the second half of January often is the coldest period in the arctic. The sun has returned, but it takes time before this has an effect on the temperature.

Due to the cold (-28°C today) I decided to try something which I have seen before, but never done myself. Maybe you have heard of the effect when you throw boiling water up in the air in extreme cold. It turns instantly to snow. To do this requires no special skills besides having boiling water. The next step is to photograph this, which requires some equipment and good timing.

The setup in my garden was like this: My camera on a tripod, a flash mounted on a softbox with a wireless trigger and my girl friend pressing the shutter button at the right moment.

Fufjilm X-T3 ISO 400 23mm f/1.4 1/2000 sec.

Fufjilm X-T3 ISO 400 23mm f/1.4 1/2000 sec.

You can of course do this without the flash, but in this case it was simply not enough light.

So how do you do this? As long as it is cold enough and you have access to boiling water nearby, I recommend the following:

  • Mount your camera on a tripod. While the shutter speed is so short that you could do this handheld, it just makes it a bit easier if the camera is pointed to the right place beforehand

  • Ask a friend to help you. You could use a remote trigger, but coordinating the trigger while at the same time handling the water will complicate things

  • If there is not enough light, use a flash. It also helps separate your subject from the background. I choose the power of the flash manually, as it gives me more control over the outcome.

  • Short shutter speed: In this case it was 1/2000 sec to freeze the action. In combination with a flash you need a flash that supports HSS - High-Speed sync.

  • Aperture: I chose f/ 1.4 to capture more light. You don’t need such a large aperture, should you have not enough light you can try a higer ISO value.

  • ISO: As low as possible to achieve a fast enough shutter speed.

And most important: Have fun experimenting!

Arctic sunday hike

In January the sun comes back to arctic Norway, but it’s also the coldest time of the year. With temperatures down to -30°C at the coast of Finnmark, it gets even colder once you travel away from the coast.

This year it hasn’t been that cold so far, but last sunday temperatures went down to -25°C, while around -20°C near the sea. Too cold to be outside you may think, but in this beautiful winter landscape and with the special arctic light I really recommend to get outside. Hot chocolote tastes even better when having been in the cold for some time.

Nothing beats warm clothing in -20°C // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 80mm f/2.8 1/110sec

Nothing beats warm clothing in -20°C // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 80mm f/2.8 1/110sec

So what’s so special about the light in the far north? Apart from northern lights, you have beautiful lighting the whole winter. Imagine the blue hour, just that this is ‘normal’ daylight. When it’s not cloudy you often get a mixture of blue and pink skies

Arctic skies // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 80mm f/5.6 1/45 sec

Arctic skies // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 80mm f/5.6 1/45 sec

There’s one advantage with really cold temperatures - the frost smoke above water creates a unique atmosphere combined with the light. Wouldn’t it be so cold I would be on the water kayaking. But in this case I prefer my snow shoes on land.

Reinøya - “Reindeer Island” // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 80mm f/8.0 1/6 sec

Reinøya - “Reindeer Island” // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 160 80mm f/8.0 1/6 sec

Even though it’s quite cold outside you get warm while snowshoeing. Moving through the snow can be exhausting, but in this weather I don’t mind as the exercise also keeps me from freezing. We even took a break after some time when it was time for some chocolate - and an image of course!

A break with a view // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 400 80mm f/4.0 1/15 sec

A break with a view // Fujifilm X-T3 ISO 400 80mm f/4.0 1/15 sec

Sure, I would prefer a picnic when it’s warmer. But the experience was worth it, and our huskies enjoy being outside in the snow.

As you may have noticed, all images are taken with an 80mm lens - Fuji’s macro lens. I normally use wide angle for landscapes - but recently I found out that I quite like the look of a telephoto lens for landscape (…and in -20°C with cold fingers you think twice before switching lenses).

See you on the next adventure!

Dave's incredible journey

Last year I met the adventurer David Cornthwaite in Kirkenes, Norway, where he started on a 1000 mile journey along the norwegian coast. I accompanied him for the first couple of kilometres and started my drone to capture som aerial footage.