Konica Infrared

Apologies all for the long pause from my last posting – I just needed a little break, and to recharge my creative juices after getting the show up on the wall. Perhaps this weekend I’ll post the pictures from the opening reception.

Anyway, here’s some stuff I shot last weekend and earlier this week. I lucked into a modest stash of Konica Infrared film, which hasn’t been made in probably 8-10 years. The stuff I have is older than that. I needed to find out how well it had kept in the meantime – IR films in general seem to age much faster than regular b/w film, and for all I knew, the IR-sensitizing dyes had faded and it would be just another slow b/w emulsion with tons of base fog, but grainy from the degradation (I shot some Kodak HIE 35mm that was from the last batch they did, and it had degraded to horribly foggy and grainy, despite the fact that it was only perhaps 4-5 years out of date). The results are in – while they do have noticeable base fog, the negatives are still quite fine-grained and do exhibit the infrared effect nicely, with very little overall degradation.

Here are results from two rolls worth, shot on a lunchtime walkabout near my office, and on an early saturday morning excursion to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

Capital Bikeshare - Konica Infrared
Capital Bikeshare – Konica Infrared
New York Avenue Baptist - Konica Infrared
New York Avenue Baptist – Konica Infrared

The infrared effect is somewhat subtle in these first two – the foliage is white, but the sky is not particularly black or contrasty. The red bikeshare bikes though are much lighter than they appear on regular b/w or color film. Also the wheel guards on the back wheels are completely translucent, but in real life they are dark smoked and/or black plastic.

Cattails, Kenilworth Gardens
Cattails, Kenilworth Gardens
Lily Pond, Kenilworth Gardens
Lily Pond, Kenilworth Gardens
Lotus Flower "Showerheads", Kenilworth Gardens
Lotus Flower “Showerheads”, Kenilworth Gardens
Lily Ponds, Kenilworth Gardens
Lily Ponds, Kenilworth Gardens
Trashcan, Kenilworth Gardens
Trashcan, Kenilworth Gardens

The Rollei is a perfect camera for Infrared photography because you can focus and compose your images with the unfiltered viewing lens, so you don’t have to keep taking the filter on and off (the strong infrared filters like the Hoya RM72 I used are anywhere from nearly to completely opaque to the visible spectrum, making it very difficult at best to operate the camera with the filter installed on a single lens reflex camera).

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a 37 acre plot on the east/south bank of the Anacostia River which runs through Washington DC. Owned and operated by the US Park Service, it is one of the hidden gems of Washington DC. The neighborhood around it is still quite rough, which deters casual visitors not familiar with the area. I went looking for the giant lily pads they usually have, but they were nowhere to be found. One of the park rangers informed me that they had to skip the Victoria Lily pads this year due to budget cuts – they normally import them from the Amazon fresh each year.

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