Hello! I was driving up I71 (here in Ohio) and I passed an abandoned house with a large tree next to it.
Being a autumnerd, I thought, "I have to swing by when the leaves change on that tree." Then, I started to frame the shot in my head and I realized that a brightly colored tree would offer one version of the shot with colors from the sky and tree bringing a happy tone to this house. But, I thought, isn't there, also, another picture there?
What about an image with the tree stark white, a darkened sky and a startling contrast throughout? I realized what I was picturing is an IR photograph.
Having no experience with the art myself, I thought I would check in with this group and see if anyone has used IR filters and if so, how was the experience and what pitfalls can you warn me to avoid?
The primary downside to going the filter route: an IR filter is very dark--not unlike using an 8-stop ND filter--making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to focus by using the viewfinder. You'd have to pre-focus, then attach the filter. Obviously shutter speeds are going to be extremely slow, so, at a minimum, a tripod is a must.
A secondary disadvantage is that you'd need a separate filter for each lens you want to shoot IR with, unless you play the step-up game.
For the subject matter you're talking about, I don't see any reason why the above procedure wouldn't be doable. As I said, it's a lot like using a very strong ND filter; annoying, but certainly something that can be overcome if used rarely. And it's definitely cheaper to pick up a decent IR filter (though not necessarily a set of them) than it is to have a camera body converted for IR use. But if you think--or know--that you want to seriously get into IR, you're probably better off simply making the jump to a converted camera because the in-field workflow with a filter would, clearly, get very old, very quickly.
Hope this is of at least some help.
I know that the filter route isn'the ideal but, until I see if this is something I enjoy, I am reluctant to convert a camera.
That said, if I like this, that will definitely be the route due to all that you mentioned.
Fortunately, my move to faster glass has put most of my lenses at 77mm so, I will be able to invest in a higher quality filter and move it from lens to lens. If I fall in love with this, I would rather put the price of another lens toward amother camera and it's conversion.
Thank you, again, for the input and advice!
In that vein, if you're just dipping your toe in the proverbial IR water--and you have the advantage of a host of lenses with a 77mm filter thread--might I suggest taking a look at the used market for an IR filter? Not that a decent 77 mm IR filter is super expensive new (you should be able to find one for under $100, I'd think), but a used one--and there really ought to be a pretty fat market for used IR filters, given the growing option for conversion--might be available for a song.