Color Infrared Film

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If you have some genuine digital infrared photos to work with, Photoshop can turn them into stunning false-color images. The technique known as channel swapping can give a basic infrared picture an interesting other-worldly look.

First you need a digital infrared image to work with. This is an image editing book and not a photography techniques tome, so I'll provide only the basics. You can find more complete discussions of how to take infrared photos in my books Mastering Digital Photography and Mastering Digital SLR Photography.

To take the original photo, you'll need a camera that can "see" infrared (take a picture of your TV remote control in action to see if a dot shows up from the sending end), and a filter that blocks visible light and passes infrared, such as the Hoya R72. Mount your camera on a tripod, because infrared photos may need exposures well below 1/30th second, and venturing into the multi-second range (that makes non-moving landscape subjects your best bet). You'll also want to set the white balance control of your digital camera manually, preferably using an expanse of grass as your "neutral." With any luck, you'll end up with an infrared photo like the one shown in Figure 3.39.

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