What I love about infrared photography is that I am working with light that the human eye cannot see. With colour photography I feel the need to keep integrity of the scene I am photographing to keep it feel real. Infrared photography, because we have no point of reference as to how infrared light looks, frees my creativity from these boundaries. Straight black and white is similar because we don’t see in black and white, but it’s infrared that has really captured my imagination.
This was an image I made during my last trip to the Lake District in March 2020 of the very popular Cat Bells. During my ascent, the sky was full of big fat clouds and patches of sunlight constantly breaking through to race across the landscape below. By the time I neared the summit, the cloud had noticeably thickened. Having crested Skellgill Bank, just before the main summit, I spied a single bright patch of cloud moving towards me. The movement of sunlight in the valley below hinted the light might illuminate the path ahead of me, so I backtracked, found a couple of possible compositions, and waited.
This was the second of those compositions. The sunlight and bright cloud arrived where I’d hoped they would but there were a group of walkers in an awkward position in my composition and the dynamic range exceeded my camera’s capabilities causing blown highlights in the sky. The final image therefore is a composite of 3 images. The first two allowed me to easily remove the walkers as they had moved between exposures. The third was my first composition but I used part of the sky from that to fix the blown highlights. In my final processing I emphasised the drama of the scene with much more contrast than I would do in a colour image plus I added selective dodging and burning to create the image I had imagined.