Aerial Photography: Shooting infrared image from the plane

1411_MFA_Oklahoma IR_061-Edit

I was inspired to give this a try after seeing fellow photographer, Ron Black’s images.  He captured stunning abstracts from 30,000 feet in the sky.

While I did not follow all of Ron’s instructions, like Windexing the window (not enough room in my bag), and making sure I had a seat on the right side of the plane (that would be the side where the sun isn’t blasting against the windows creating hot spots and reflections); I gave it a try, and was thankful on one leg of my trip to be flying in a brand new Southwest airlines plane with clean windows free of scratches.

Here is what I learned:

  • Zoom in:  get “close” to the ground and look for interesting shapes and patterns
  • Water photographs almost black:  look for lines and curves that cut through the landscape, this will make your abstracts more interesting.
  • Shoot down:  this will allow you to minimize the effects of the sun and focus your composition in on interesting elements
  • Add contrast:  when you get home, the images may look flat and uninspiring.  Start by setting your black point, then your white point, add clarity, and finally contrast.  Do all of this before you consider throwing it out.  You’ll be surprised at what “pops” through.

1411_MFA_Oklahoma IR_002 1410_MFA_Airplane IR_021 1411_MFA_Oklahoma IR_064 1411_MFA_Oklahoma IR_056


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