Wednesday 19 February 2020

Faux Colour Infrared Using Nik Viveza

I've been photographing in digital infrared for 14 years starting with the Sony F717 and an R72 filter progressing to permanently modified Sony A6000 mirrorless cameras in the 720nm standard and 590nm super colour wavelengths of light.

The 720nm standard wavelength of light (being on the edge of the colour spectrum of light visible to the human eye) captures some weak colour in the red and blue colour channels which you can use for faux colour infrared images. The standard practice for faux colour infrared photography has always been to swap the red and blue colours using the "channel mixer" to give your image a blue sky.

Birkenhead Park Boathouse - 720nm infrared channel swapped

The 590nm super colour wavelength of light is closer to the colour spectrum giving you a mix of the colour spectrum and infrared light. As an infrared photographer this gives you more creative options for coloured infrared as you now have some colour in the Red, Yellow, Blue and Cyan channels. You can swap colour channels as before and adjust the hue and saturation of each colour individually to produce a psychedelic world of faux colour.

Bodnant Hall, Wales - 590nm infrared channel swapped

Bodnant Gardens Terrace - 590nm super colour infrared

As you can see from the images above taken with a Sony A6000 720nm standard infrared camera and a Sony A6000 590nm super colour infrared, the latter captures more colour to play with in post production. Can you go further? Yes you can.

Nik Viveza

Last year I stumbled on a Youtube tutorial hosted by the Master of infrared photography Mark Hilliard in the United States on creating faux colour infrared images using Nik Viveza 2. The technique allows you to use the software's U-point technology to selectively colour foliage. Place a control point on the foliage of a tree and you can change the hue, saturation, warmth, brightness to colour the foliage in pastel shades. It works with all wavelengths of infrared except 830nm pure infrared which has no colour recorded in the image to be used by Viveza.

Birkenhead Park Boathouse - 720nm infrared processed using Nik Vivessa2
The photograph above is a standard 720nm infrared image, channel swapped to produce a blue sky and finished using Nik Viveza 2 to selectively colour the foliage. This technique gives the photographer far more options in this wavelength. However, the 590nm super colour wavelength produces far more dramatic results as it has more colour recorded in the infrared image and you can be as bold or as subtle as you wish.

Biddulph Grange - 590nm infrared processed using Nik Vivessa 2
I've only just got started in post processing infrared images using Nik Vivessa 2. The reason I love infrared photography is that it challenges you to push the boundaries and be creative from faux colour to monochrome fine art photography in 830nm pure infrared.