Infrared ponderings

Randomly surfing on some websites today, it occurred to me check Ken Rockwell's site for photography news. Actually I have decided not to buy anything new in the coming weeks, since there are no big trips coming up and I want to save a bit of money. I am contemplating selling my Canon 17-85mm and buying a Tamron or Sigma or whatever brand's 18-200mm or 28-300mm + stabilizer lens instead. They both cost about the same, and the Canon lens really is not that good at all... It might be worth more 10 years from now but I think I can have more fun with an all-range lens instead for casual photography.

Visiting Ken's website made me remember that I was still looking for an infrared filter, and I decided to spend some minutes trying to find more info about that. I found some more info online, and as I investigated further I found it almost impossible to find one in Japan. Which is too bad, because the infrared spectrum shows you a completely different world. The colors of trees are bright white, blue skies are dark, and there are some cool effect, like glass not being transparent any more, and certain types of fabric becoming transparent.

... Yes. Let me put this in very simple terms for you:

  1. Infrared Photography lets you look through certain types of clothing
  2. You cannot buy a semi-professional infrared filter in Japan in any of the big stores

I felt a satisfying click there. Could it be that the government doesn't allow the selling of infrared filters, because all Japanese men are such perverts that they will use it to look through clothing? Or is it perhaps a store policy because of bad publicity? In either case, it seems that this is the reason that I cannot seem to find an infrared filter anywhere here. This coming from a country where the mobile phone has to make a loud click noise when you take a picture, because people were abusing this function and taking upskirt pictures of school girls, it is hardly surprising...

Investigating this a bit more, there is a company that manufactures a photo camera with a special night mode option, which turns off the infrared-blocking filter, and uses infrared LEDs to illuminate the subject. Because the effect of this camera in daylight would mean that you can look through people's clothing, they added a special lock on this night mode feature, making it only available at very slow shutter times. Interesting to see how such an unexpected effect carries a long way in the whole photography industry. Such cool techniques are crippled for normal people because they would abuse them to take see-through pictures of people? I wonder...

(in the end I succumbed, and ordered it online from the US...)

Posted in Photography