I Remember Why I Dream In Black And White

Film 6 – Lindisfarne infrared

Lindisfarne Infrared August 2004 by Tim Baker

One of the mystery films was Kodak HIE infrared – I was really surprised there was something left on the film after all those years, and even more surprised by the subject, I’d completely forgotten I’d taken film pictures on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne – which we visited when staying in Berwick for a weekend in August 2004.

Lindisfarne infrared - Crab by Tim Baker

Infrared is a strange beast – not only easy to fog with a lot of cameras using infrared to check where you are in the film, and handling meaning it has to be developed in complete darkness and loaded in such (although I never did the latter, probably why some of the early shots are fogged) – but also HIE was a very old style emulsion, something closer to early film than the modern films of today, grainy and lacking an anti-halation layer. I forgot the physics but to put it basically halation is caused by the bouncing around of light after it hits the silver particles – you might think light is all nice and orderered and direct, but not at all. It likes to bounce around like it’s on the bumper cars at the fair, including light that has missed hitting any silver returning backwards through the film. This causes the glow effect.

Lindisfarne infrared by Tim Baker

Lindisfarne infrared by Tim Baker

Also strange about the film is that greenery turns white, and sky turns black giving it an eerie feel, this was bright sunshine but it doesn’t look like it.

Lindisfarne infrared by Tim Baker

Lindisfarne infrared by Tim Baker

These shots have been a total headache to scan – not just the grain and the contrast issues (trying to get anything from the grass other tham white is fun) but also I fell foul of the Nikon Scan software issue with black and white negatives – it clips the highlights on some negatives. Slide and colour neg doesn’t have this problem, and annoyingly they fixed it on the next scanner, the Coolscan 9000 but not mine. I’d love to have the 9000 with it’s Digital ICE Pro working on negatives other than colour slide & colour process films, but it is more than double what I paid for this second hand! So I switched to using new software Vuescan eventually – I preferred the contrast from the Nikon Scan though (you can see one of the NS in the infrared of the ferns above), much sharper and easier to tweak, but you at least kept detail such as on the white crab, which on the Nikon Scan was almost totally blocked out white.

Lindisfarne infrared by Tim Baker

On Flickr is the full Lindisfarne set.


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