Himalaya/Kunlun Mountains in IR


Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 16:06
I got the chance to try out some aerial shots in IR for the first time today, using the converted *ist DL that I got from Karma Mechanic. I am using manual focus lenses, so still eperimenting; unfortunately the best photo was OOF! I took some on the K5 too, and there is a lot less haze using IR. I am trading this in for KM's K20D soon hopefully, and pairing it with the 35-105 lens I bought from Mike P. That lens is parfocal, so I am hoping it will be ideal for IR: the range of focal lengths should be ideal.

These were taken with the Sigma 24mm Super-Wide II and my Pentax-A smc 50mm f1.4.
It's the first time I have tried processing them, too!


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Last Edited by aliengrove on 22/09/2011 - 16:12

karma mechanic

Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 16:16
At last!

It was worth the wait. The distance from you to the horizon must be staggering, and the IR does seem to have cut through the haze as we hoped.

Lovely tones in no. 1. In no. 2 the wisps of cloud make it more mysterious, especially the curving one near the bottom.

I like the scale of no. 3, it is hard to actually work out the real size of those mountains, and there's a strong leading line - I like those! There's also a few bits of dust visible in the blank sky, that's pretty much unavoidable. What aperture was this one, the dust can be minimised by using fairly wide apertures.

No. 4 is a more classic view, again the scale and distance is overwhelming.

I have visions of a Boeing veering from side to side as aliengrove is trying to line up a shot
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Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 16:24
Yes, it's taken a while! Unfortunately I took a lot that were OOF, still not quite got used to it with manual focus lenses. The 135mm lens seems the most difficult. What would have been the best of the bunch was unfortunately OOF. Don't suppose you fancy setting up the manual focus 35-105 on the K20 if I sent it to you?

The first one was f5, second one f8, 3rd one f5.6, the last one f3.5.

Edit: just realised the first one was taken with the f3.5 135mm, as it shows no f stop on the exif. 2nd and 4t on the 50mm, 3rd on the 24mm.

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Last Edited by aliengrove on 22/09/2011 - 16:27


Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 16:27
Very nice


Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 16:44
What can I say... these are extraordinary! The mountains receding into the distance on the last one is fantastic - so clear.

karma mechanic

Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 17:21
For infinity focus for the 135mm you could establish where that is on the ring (via a series of test shots viewed at 100%) and then tape the focus ring in place with masking tape. Infinity is all you need from your office!

Same for any other primes - once you've established a completely accurate infinity mark it is worth taping it in place.

The 35-105 is more difficult being a zoom, since the IR focus adjustment may be correct at 105 but off at 35. Having said that if it is parfocal in visible light it may be reasonably well-behaved in IR. One solution is to use masking tape on the ring and add an IR infinity mark for 35, 70, 105 after some test shots.

I can set the K20D up for that lens so you get AF confirmation, but again it may only be spot-on at one focal length. Likewise if I set up the sensor distance so the lens can be focussed via the viewfinder it may only be absolutely accurate at one focal length and may be useless for other lenses. Longer lenses are more demanding in terms of getting accurate IR focus. The K20D does have Live View and it does allow me to focus a 210mm lens fairly accurately, although the Live View is of poor image quality. There's too much depth of field to use Live View to focus a wide angle though, the image is very low res.
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Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 17:31

Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

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Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 17:39
love the 3rd one in particular


Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 17:55
These are fantastic, great clarity and tones. Hope now that you have started the learning process, you share some more.


Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 18:12
Wow +1 from me, these are outstanding - can't wait to see more. I love the clouds in number 2 - they almost look like ghosts or spirits scudding about, and the contrast in the mountains is fantastic. Really top stuff.

Mat W

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George Lazarette

Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 18:50
Lovely mountainscapes, and well captured.

However I am not totally convinced that IR has been beneficial. In the high Himalayas the air is very clear, and pictures I took there with my trusty Super A (I think I did use a skylight filter) showed similar clarity on colour print film and slides.

At Limuru, near Nairobi, at dawn, it is sometimes possible to see Kilimanjaro to the South East, and Mount Kenya to the North East. The former is around 200 miles away, and the latter over 100. This is possible because the mountains are so much higher than the surrounding land. It's like seeing Manchester from London. Though rather more impressive!

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Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 18:55
These are otherworldly!

Almost like illustrations. Numbers 3 and 4 are particulalry attention grabbing.

I would think you are pretty excited about the possibilties bearing in mind the locations you get to.

Looking forward to the next set.


Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 19:46
Fabulous shots, Jon. Breathtakingly rendered. As noted above, this "new" camera will open numerous possibilities.
Best wishes,


"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
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Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 22:28
Thank you very much for posting these photos. Looking at them is a humbling experience... We tend to forget that all that separates us from the harshness of space is 100km. In that 100km, we have wars, people being born, fights over custody of children, and photos like these that show how small we are.

Beautiful photos, simply superb. I hope you give these ones a deserving A3 print at least somewhere!

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Link Posted 22/09/2011 - 22:37
All fabulous but I'd have the last one on my wall. I'm a huge fan of mountain scapes and I think this one has amazing depth added to a superb foreground. Perfect capture with the light going along that ridge.
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