Photography makes you look at the world in a different way. That is quite a gross understatement. First there is light, then there is colour, then composition, various mediums, still portraits, action, landscapes and the list goes on. Whichever way you look at it, Photography as a medium makes you study your subject like you have a never studied anything before. And the one thing that remains constant is light. Light is the foremost indicator when going about your photography. It determines how you are going to go about your days work.
But what happens if there is no light?
Yes, I mean no light- as in something we cannot see. Well that is a gross understatement again- I mean how can a photo come to light (pun intended) with no light as the source. Photography is defined as capturing light and now I want to capture light as we cant see it? That is correct…
This is where I welcome you to the realms of Infrared photography (IR). Humans see the light spectrum that is squeezed inbetween the Ultraviolet and infrared spectrums. Both wavelengths are just out of sight to us, but both are part of our every day lives. IR is used in surveillance cameras while ultraviolet is used, amongst other things, by flowers to advertise their presence to insects. Due to the short wavelengths of IR, it reflects differently; giving a very high contrast, high definition and very detailed image. It does not work well in most applications, but when you find a subject, it can give a scene much more impact.
And this is what happened in Etosha. Being the dry season, clouds aren’t a feature of your everyday scenes. For infrared, this is not good. Clouds add details and interest into the sky. So I had to find other interests. Like the pan that Etosha is named after.
So when I came upon this scene, I knew that IR was the medium to work in. The large acacia tree was now my sky, whilst the continuously moving zebra were the main feature; creating motion in an otherwise bland scene. Bland, except for the patterns that the zebra created by moving through an 8-second exposure.
Light that we cant see painted the image- reflecting differently. With the pan falling away into the distance, the mystical lines that the zebra painted and held together by the timelessness of one lone acacia, IR had succeeded in working its magic on me, once again.
Now that is an understatement.
Nikon D70 - 70 - 200mm lens
Exposure - f 22 Shutter Speed: 8 sec
Exp. Comp. 0 EV
ISO equiv. - 200
Flash sync- not attached, Exposure mode- Manual, Metering Mode- Matrix metering File type- NEF (RAW)
Focal length: 300mm (200mm, 35mm equivalent)