Updated 2014

Creating your own IR pass filter

A digital camera sees more infrared than we do, and all you need to do to capture it, is to block out all the visible (non-infrared) light. You can buy filters that do this, but they can be ridiculously expensive – and buying stuff removes all the fun of creating stuff, n’est-ce pas? The trick? In order to be able to withstand the heat on projectors, slide film will be created so it lets through infrared light, even past the portions of the slide that are completely black. In other words: Unexposed, developed slide film can be used as an IR filter!

Top tip: If your camera lens is bigger than 35mm film, why not just buy a roll of 120 slide film? It’s bigger :-)

More information about the hows, the whys, and the wherefores can be found on Wim Wiskerke’s website.

Where can you get developed, unexposed film?

IMG_20711) Go into a camera store, buy a roll of slide film. (120 film is great, because it has larger surface area and no sprocket holes). If you can get film that is out of date, it’s cheaper. They may even give you a roll or two for free.

2) Hand the newly acquired roll of film back to the salesperson behind the counter, and tell them to get it developed. If they look at you in a confused way, explain why. Tell them to add a note on the film that yes, you know it is unexposed, and yes, you want it developing anyway.

3) Go back to the store 48 hours later, pick up your now-developed, still-underexposed slide film, which now is ready to be used as IR filter. The whole thing should cost you a fraction of the price of an IR filter!

Make Your Own Camera Remote Control

So, you are into your long exposure photography, such as night-time or macro photography? To get top quality photos, you’re going to need a remote control. And most of the time, this is going to set you back quite a lot of money, especially as the cheap as chips screw in type cable releases don’t work on new cameras anymore.

Not all is lost, though, if you don’t feel like forking out too much, you can make your own jack-type remote control for Remote control For Canon cameras.

If your camera uses the newer, N3-type remote control ports (that’s the round plug with three prongs), things become a little more tricky, as the actual connector is difficult to get by. However, if you do find one, this is how to wire it.

Nikon users also have a wealth of information available to them, if you for example run a F100 camera. Or you could build a more advanced, Infrared version, as seen for the D70.

In fact, there are probably schematics or technical drawings available for most remote controls – try a google search for your camera brand along with “remote” and either “schematic” or “build”.

Good luck!

Lomo photography

A Lomo camera is essentially a really, really low quality camera built in Russia. That doesn’t stop it from having a nearly religious following, however, and with the right attitude when wielding one of these cameras, it can be a very liberating photography experience.

Fuelled more by the fantastic PR campaign than by the quality of the actual cameras, the Lomo cameras do something really clever: They trade on their weaknesses. Light leaks? It’s a feature! Bad vignetting on the lens? It adds to the charm!. Impossible to get a correct exposure? It opens up for creativity.

Call us crazy, but it’s actually pretty damn cool.

I used to own a Lomo a while ago, and you can, indeed, get some pretty cool-looking photos with them. Now that low-fi is in, and retro is the way forward, Lomography may be your cheap ticket into photography cool.

The rest of the world is also cottoning on. BBC four, for example, shares this:

In 1991 a group of Viennese students discovered the Lomo Kompakt Automat when on holiday in Prague. This mass-produced Soviet camera was so cheap and easy to use that they shot rolls of film, ignoring the established rules of “good” photography. The resulting snaps were often odd to look at, out of focus and, due to the character of the Lomo lens, garishly coloured. But they were wonderfully fresh. The craze for Lomo spread so fast that when, in 1996, the St Petersburg manufacturers threatened to stop making the camera, Lomographers stepped in to guarantee all future sales.

Some examples

I won’t be pimping my own Lomo photos – they were good, but I didn’t quite like the unpredictability of the Lomo cameras myself, so I sold my camera again. For the examples, why not check out the photos on Flickr tagged with Lomo, or try the rampant fan-base over at the Flickr Lomo Group. There are also dozens of local groups worth checking out.