Summary – If an image has a subject (it needn’t), it’s important that the viewer knows what it is. There are many aspects to how this is accomplished, but they all start with the maker’s “seeing” – sometimes literally seeing things in a different light makes all of the difference in the result.
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Two totally different images
Color 30 minutes before sunrise versus infrared at noon
The main subject is the same in both images
More obvious size-wise in the IR, but nevertheless….
The bright (high contrast) glow of the lamp against the warm sky immediately grabs the eye even though the lamp occupies a proportionally small area
In this case, placement of the street light
Is the most important factor in
Letting the viewer know what the subject is
The critical factor is contrast
This is what captures the viewer’s eye
Placement must enhance the contrast
Colors & tones are different in color than in B&W – obviously
What may not be obvious is that
Infrared tones are much different from B&W tones
Just as you must “learn to see” in B&W,
So must you learn to “see in infrared”
Since IR foliage is light & blue sky is dark, I knew immediately
The black street light had to have
Foliage and not the blue sky as a background
Similarly, in the pre-sunrise image with black silhouetted trees
The street light had to be placed against the sky
This all seems obvious – after the fact – but
It takes seeing, understand and moving your body
To bring it all together
That’s the difference between making & taking photos
Here’s what happens to the IR if we don’t see in IR
The right hand image is the better, by far, in color
Black lamp, silhouetted against blue sky, green foliage background
Wow! Very striking and eye-catching
That’s what I saw in my view finder
and what I’d have shot in color
It’s anything but eye-catching in IR though
As the dark lamp & dark sky merge together
The eye sees very little contrast to capture its attention
Bottom line – you have to be able to visualize your final result
Before you release the shutter
(IR is a great medium for forcing you to practice “seeing”)
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