Leica M4 and Rollei Infrared 400

5 Frames with a Leica M4 and Rollei Infrared 400 – by Steve Karsten

I live in the great white north (aka Michigan) so the arrival of Spring means two things

       1.  We go to Florida, because Spring really arrives around the middle of May, not March 21.

       2.  When the sun finally rears its head long enough to make a difference the arrival of leaves on the deciduous trees, I load up some infrared film to soak up all the IR light from all the photosynthesis going on.

These 5 frames are taken from the same roll, with shots in Cape Canaveral, Florida and my hometown of Holland, Michigan using a Leica M4, a Leica IR filter, either the 50mm DR Summicron or my 90mm Elmar collapsible and Rollei Infrared 400.

Let me get this out of the way: Rollei Infrared is a “near-infrared” film, with sensitivity to 820nm.

Find more about the film stock here

I used my handy Sekonic Studio Deluxe Meter, and rated my film at 6 stops below box speed after screwing on my handy Leica IR filter.   What’s that you say? Shooting at ISO 6? That is why it is nice to have some nice glass. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is a huge advantage if your lens has a small marking in its focus scale that designates either a red dot, or in the case of my lenses: a small R.  This is because infrared light is on a different wavelength and thus on a different focal point than visible light.  

If you’ve ever attempted to shoot with an infrared filter before, you learn pretty quick that it pretty much ruins your ability to see what you are shooting with an SLR.  You can always compose then screw the filter on, but that is a pain. This is why the rangefinder is best for infrared because you never look through the glass anyways… just use the trusty framelines in the bright as day viewfinder no matter what is screwed onto the end of your lens.

Infrared film is known for making vegetation (under bright sunlight) glow white hot.  It also darkens the sky. This level of contrast is pretty much why I like to shoot it.  I’ve never actually shot portraits with Rollei Infrared, but as you can find with some searching that it does some pretty funky stuff to people.   I stick with landscapes and skyscapes and some vegetation details.

If you made it through this far, thanks a ton for reading.

Anyone else shooting Infrared out there? I appreciate any comments you have.

Keep your camera close and your film fresh!

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