Infrared Experiments During National Cherry Blossom Festival / by Todd Henson

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial with cherry blossoms in bloom, in infrared.


Here are a few infrared experiments made during the 2014 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. In all my previous infrared experiments I had converted the images to black & white. Then I learned about alternative processing techniques and gave them a try. These images have not been converted to black & white. Instead I tried the following steps:

  1. Adjusted the white balance using the eye dropper tool. In each case I chose the monument, though I did also experiment with choosing the blossoms with similar results. I believe it may be more correct to choose some living greenery, such as a nice patch of green grass or green leaves, but I didn't have any of that in these images to work from. This naturally converted the pink tones to gray tones, but retained the color in the images.

  2. Increased the saturation. This brought out the yellows and blues inherent in the infrared images, which I found fascinating.

  3. Increased contrast to add a little more punch.

  4. Applied noise reduction.

  5. Experimented with selective sharpening of the monuments.


Thomas Jefferson Memorial through cherry blossoms in bloom, in infrared with golden tones.


Another technique I learned about was reversing the red and blue channels using the Channel Mixer in Photoshop. That's what I've done in the image below. This gives the sky a blue tone instead of the gold tone. I don't believe this technique works as well with this particular image, but it's interesting to see the differences.


Thomas Jefferson Memorial through cherry blossoms in bloom, in infrared with reversed red/blue channels, resulting in blue tones.

These photographs were created on a Nikon D300 using a Singh-Ray I-Ray 830 infrared filter.