Technical Information

The images you see here were produced using infrared black and white film. This special film records the reflected infrared radiation that exists in the world around us. Human eyesight does not perceive this reflected radiation, so the photographs you see here show the world around us in a unique manner. These images were captured using a variety of cameras including two Canon 35mm, a Hasselblad medium format, and a Calumet 4x5 wood field camera. In the colder climate of the Colorado mountains, I really appreciate the mechanical, non-battery driven nature of my cameras. Nothing is more frustrating than to have framed the perfect shot and be unable to capture it because the cold has killed your batteries.

The creation of these infrared photographs is a very complicated process. To record this infrared radiation, I have to load, unload and process my film in complete darkness in my darkroom. Currently, I use a variety of films in my work. My infrared images are predominately captured using Kodak HIE infrared film, which I have found to yield consistently more interesting results than the Konica infrared or Ilford SFX films, although occasionally I still experiment with them. I also shoot some Kodak Tri-X black & white film in my medium and large format cameras.

Out in the field, opaque and deep red filters are used during the capture of the images to allow the infrared radiation to reach the film with very little radiation from the visible spectrum. Since you cannot look through some of these filters, each shot must be composed, framed and locked down using a tripod. As infrared radiation has a longer focal length than visible light, each shot must also be refocused using the infrared index on the lens before the shutter is tripped. Cameras and light meters do not evaluate infrared radiation, so exposure times are estimated based upon prior experience, time of day, elevation, and cloud cover. Once all of these factors have been evaluated, finally the shutter can be tripped and the image can be captured.

The next steps all take place in the darkroom. First the film must be unloaded and processed in complete darkness. Once a negative is produced, the next steps all occur during the making of the print. Infrared negatives can be difficult to print, as some white areas of the print can become totally “blown out” and not show any detail. These areas must be “burned in”, given more light to show detail. The black skies can also be troublesome as they can merge into a lighter grey as the photo is aimed closer to the sun. These areas must be “dodged” or given less light to make them appear darker and even out the density of the skies. I process all of my black and white and infrared work in my own darkroom using Kodak and Ilford chemicals. All of my images are printed on Ilford Multigrade Fiber Base paper, which I process to archival standards to ensure long life.

Once an exposure formula for a print has been determined, which sometimes can take up to ten or more exposure corrections, the final print can be made. Each print is then archivally, hand processed, giving the print a life span of over 100 years. Prints are then mounted, over-matted, signed, numbered and stamped with the Raven Photography seal. These prints are available in small editions only, always numbering fewer than one hundred prints per negative.

If you have any further technical questions, please feel free to email me a
t mike@ravenphoto.com.

Copyright 2000 - 2017 by Mike Malec. Raven Photography Boulder CO mike@ravenphoto.com