Michael Pilkington
Michael Pilkington

Infra-red can offer you a different perspective on the world around you.  However, the effects it produces can be garish exaggerating the highlights in the scene but there are times when this can be used to good effect.  One such occassion is in low light situations. 


Woodland Study in Infra-red by Michael Pilkington


Having a dog obligates you to walk every day.  It is enjoyable for the most part and gives you time to reflect on and observe the local countryside.  Living where I do, I can enjoy woodlands and farmland.  Nothing too dramatic, it being Kent.  Nonetheless, I do like to think about potential images as I walk.  Often nothing comes of these musings.  However, this particular scene often caught my eye.  I must have walked past this spot hundreds of times over the past few years.  It is adjacent to a small farm access road, shaded by arching trees overhead.  The road is made of stone that is quite light in colour and therefore when the sun is shining on it, it reflects a beautiful soft light onto the trees and foliage to its side.  The scene is also being lit from the right.  It is this combination and quality of this light that has always caught my attention.

Finally, I decided that I could no longer pass it by.  The next sunny day and late morning to take advantage of the direction of the sun, I took myself and my dog to the spot.  For me, it was always going to be an infra-red shot.  The relatively low light would make for a lovely contrast of the whites that would be produced by the infra-red light reflecting of the leaves and foliage.  If I had chosen to shoot in black and white (that is a colour file converted to black and white), the foliage would have been just mid greys. Nonetheless, this being quite a complex scene, I thought it would be better rendered in black and white which would help to emphasize the textures and form in the scene.

This image, for me, epitomizes the subtlety of what infra-red photography can be.  It does not have to be loud and brash screaming at you that it is IR.  I love the complexity and interest in the image and this has become of one my favourite images.


This an extract from an upcoming book 'in Another Light - An exploration in infra-red landscape photography' by Paul Gallagher and Michael Pilkington.


If you would like to know more about infra-red photography why not join us on our one day 'Exploring infra-red photography' workshop or to delve further our 'Infra-red masterclass'.