Infrared Photography

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In infrared photography, the film or image sensor used is sensitive to infrared light, which is the domain of thermal imaging. Wavelengths used for photography range from about 700 nm to about 900 nm. Usually an ‘infrared filter’ is used; this lets infrared (IR) light pass through to the camera, but blocks all or most of the visible light spectrum (the filter thus looks black or deep red).

When these filters are used together with infrared-sensitive film or sensors, very interesting ‘in-camera effects’ can be obtained; false-color or black-and-white images with a dreamlike or sometimes lurid appearance known as the ‘Wood Effect,’ an effect mainly caused by foliage (such as tree leaves and grass) strongly reflecting in the same way visible light is reflected from snow. There is a small contribution from chlorophyll fluorescence, but this is marginal and is not the real cause of the brightness seen in infrared photographs. The effect is named after the infrared photography pioneer Robert W. Wood.

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