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Not every photo expedition has to be carefully planned, with the objective thought out before hand and all the necessary kit packed into a bulging and heavy backpack. Getting out of a cosy bed before dawn once the clocks have gone forward is one of the most difficult parts of the photographer’s calling. Sometimes, though, after a leisurely breakfast it’s good just to take the minimum kit and go for a walk. Pick up that mirrorless Fuji with its lightweight 55-230 lens, pop a spare battery in your pocket and see what’s nearby.

In my case, I decided just to go for a walk in one of the nearby parks along with dozens of other locals just taking in a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. After the long winter here in Canada the coming of Spring and Summer is something that has to be taken advantage of; it won’t be long before we’re thinking about putting the winter tires back on our cars, so let’s make the most of it.

This wasn’t a quest for the perfect wildlife photograph. I don’t get paid for my work, I get the occasional picture published but photography has given me hours and hours of pleasure over the years. The simple act of taking a few decent pictures is enough to satisfy that urge to create that lives somewhere in all of us.

These pictures aren’t wildlife masterpieces, they weren’t taken with high-end equipment but but they were a lot of fun to shoot and I get a lot of pleasure just looking at them. Not to mention the physical health benefits of getting outside for a walk.

I don’t think you can underestimate the mental health benefits of a hobby that takes you out of the 9-5 and that allows you to indulge, to whatever extent, your creativity. I look at hobbies as my healthy obsessions. I hope to be obsessed and producing pictures that I like to look at for many years to come!

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There are a couple of ways to shoot infrared images and this is the simplest if not the most efficient. Every digital camera has a filter that is designed to prevent infrared light from hitting your sensor. Infrared light, given the right equipment, is just as visible as the light in our ‘normal’ spectrum, just not to the human eye. However, if you can make your camera see this end of the light spectrum then you can really get some ethereal results. Once your camera sees infrared, leaf-covered trees become a glowing white, blue skies become black and lakes take on the appearance of a deep, dark, tar pit.

These pictures were taken on a Nikon D70 – a camera especially well suited to IR – with a IR filter on the lens. This means that you will be taking a long exposure; most of my images were around the 20-30s mark even in bright sunshine, and then converting your shot to black and white. Don’t forget your tripod. Set your aperture, focus your shot without the filter, switch your lens to manual focus, put on your filter, lengthen the exposure time and don’t forget – check your histogram!

When you take the shot you will see a red/pink image on your screen. To turn it into these magical black & whites you need to do some post-production. Nik Silver Efex 2 is ideally suited to the task. I generally use the the Fine Art filter, followed by just a touch of the ColorEfex Glamour Glow. That combination really brings out the other-wordly aspect of IR photography.

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