• 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Glowing white palm trees against a black sky blurred by wind.
    Looking up through oak tree branches at glowing white leaves against a gray sky.
    Black and white profile portrait of a blonde grizzly bear.
    Glowing palm trees and grape vines behind an antique truck with wine barrels stacked on the back.
    Portrait of a white horse against a white background.
    2 tress on a hillside with a puffy white cloud in a black sky.
    Silhouette of a huge oak tree in front of a vineyard at sunset.
    Glowing oak tree with sun and clouds behind it.
    Dark gray and black tree branches squiggle up towards the sky against a backdrop of glowing white flora.
    Cars on a country highway with a glowing white grassy landscape of hills and a partly cloudy dark sky.
    A man sitting on a tree stump throne plays guitar with the Big Sur coastline in the background.
    Oak tree growing up through a piano in an oak forest.
  • Highway bridge crossing a river whinding through a forest with snow-covered mountains and storm clouds in the background.
    Male caribou feeding on grass.
    A tiny tour bus on a road dwarfed by an expansive valley, snow-covered mountains, and dramatic storm clouds.
    Joshua trees silhouetted by the setting sun.
    Glowing white palm trees blurred by wind surrounding a brewery.
    Glowing white plants spill through a stone doorway.
    Running water splashing over river rocks.
    Filted sunlight shining through coastal trees and fog
    Wooden doorway overgrown with glowing white brush.
    A wintery grove of trees with a path in the grass whinding up to it.
    7 steps connecting a path through an overgrown garden glowing white.
    Single Douglas Fir tree in a park.
  • Rows of dark barren grape vines separated by rows of white grass with a cloudy sky overhead.
    White water rapids winding through a forest with a single white tree in the foreground.
    A glowing white joshua tree flower blossoms in front of a black sky.
    Trail through ground brush and trees leads off into the forest.
    Blowing white grape buds blossom with a scattering of water droplets on a black background.
    Glowing oak tree.
    Light sparkling on water passing through channels of moss.
    Black river water with glowing moss and plants.
    Burnt tree trunk stands alone in a dried grassy meadow.
    Metal tunnel with pool of water and light at the end.
    Black river water with glowing moss, plants, and trees on its banks with a metal tunnel in the center.
  • Man sitting on parked kayak on bank of river surrounded by glowing brush and trees.
    Silhouette of a pelican with wings extended against sunlight shimmering on the ocean’s surface with lots of seagulls on the beach
    Trickle of a stream running between grassy rocks and glowing white trees.
    Black river water with glowing moss, plants, and trees on its banks.
    Black river water with glowing moss, plants, and trees on its banks leading off towards distant mountains.
    Mossy tire on the bank of a stream surrounded by glowing brush and trees.
    Old cars from different eras line the bank of a river.
    Sun rays breaking through cypress trees.
    Tilted horizon of waves crashing on rocks and the beach.
    Tree with trunk and branches bent at a right angle.
    Silhouette of Monterey cypress and palm trees in a park setting.
  • Circle of trees reaching toward the sky.
    Silhouette of a seagull on top of pointed rock overlooking the ocean with the sun shimmering off its surface.
    Black and white image of glowing white spring vineyards rolling over hills towards mountains with a huge oak tree in the foreground.
    Black and white image of glowing white spring vineyards rolling over hills towards mountains.
    Black and white image of glowing white spring vineyards sloping down towards a valley of farmland with mountains in the background.
    Infrared black and white photo of glowing white vineyards against distant hills and mountains.
    Infrared black and white photo of glowing white vineyards against hills and mountains.

Black & White Infrared Photography

Steve Zmak always liked the mystical magical ethereal look of black and white infrared film. He used Kodak’s HIE exclusively because it had the most intense effect for glowing plants and black skies at 870 nanometers. With the move away from film to digital, Kodak discontinued this product, and for a time, Zmak nearly lost all hope.

Then a friend introduced Zmak to an 87C filter. Digital camera sensors read both visible light and infrared light, and camera manufacturers place a filter over the sensor to block the infrared light and only let in the spectrum of light visible to humans, below 700 nm. An 87C filter blocks all light below 830 nm. It is opaque to the human eye. Zmak would have to setup his shot on a tripod and then screw the filter on. When only infrared light is allowed through the lens, given a long enough exposure, it will seep through the blocking filter and make an exposure on the sensor. A “long enough exposure” is 17 stops slower than the 50 ISO rating given Kodak’s HIE film. That means 4-minute exposures at f/5.6, ISO 100 in broad daylight. This made for some very challenging shooting conditions, but Zmak was able to push the surreal boundaries of the film by adding the effects of  long exposures that couldn’t be done with the film. A good transitional step, but not the same as shooting with the film.

The digital move was complete when Zmak had a digital SLR camera adjusted by removing the factory infrared light blocking filter and replacing it with a 830 nm filter that blocks all human visible spectrum light and only allows in deep infrared light, and achieving an effect very similar to Kodak’s original film.

This collection reflects photos taken using all 3 methods. Assignments today are shot with the converted camera, but Zmak still carries his 87C filter for special occasions.