Saturday, December 20, 2014

Infrared revisited

I don't post a lot here these days. I guess I've really fallen out of the habit of just writing up everything I've seen, everything I've done, etc., etc... which, in a way, is a shame; because I look back at the last half of the previous decade and really see how I was spending my time and what I was doing with my life. A diary, of sorts, and I seem to have lost the desire to take the time. I regret it. No promises. I guess the best I can do is the best I can do...

But anyway, blah blah blah; the standard "sorry I haven't posted anything for a while" apologies out of the way; here's what I'm actually interested in this morning.

One of the things I do, sporadically, is take pictures and videos of the changing (or changed) landscape around here. Given that I've been doing this ten years now, or so, it's actually beginning to pay dividends that even I can now appreciate. I have a dash cam and not quite a month back, P-Doug and I were up in Bolton where considerable changes are happening to an area northwest of town that we know and love well. This morning I've been processing the video. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. :)

One of the many dated folders of "The Millennium Project"

In the process of doing it, I was strolling through the old photos, which are arranged by date. I noticed in one of the folders, I had a few infrared photos. Now, I've had digital infrared cameras since March of 2006; all of them Canon reconditioneds... G1 (subsequently sold to a friend), S70 (backup), and now an S80. I probably have several thousand infrared images... most of them nothing special, once you get over the fact that they're, y'know, infrared and all. But some of them, maybe one in every 25 or so, really do stand out. If the photo is taken between May and October, and it's a bright, sunny day with just a few interesting clouds in the sky, and you catch the angle of the sun on the leaves against the sky or water just right (and I still haven't put much thought into what that actually entails), you can really get some shots that you can really stare at for minutes and feel like you're not really on Earth when you do.

I spent maybe 15 minutes rolling through some of the stuff and picked out about a dozen images, then touched them up just a bit to boost the contrast (IR photography does have a tendency toward being a bit hazy). Other than that, I haven't altered them.

These following six photos were taken Canada Day, July 1, 2007 at Scenic Caves in Collingwood, Ontario. To my real surprise, I find I never blogged about this; especially given how many ethereal photos I took that day. I suppose I meant to at the time but never got around to it. One of the reasons might be because almost immediately afterward I and P-Doug and G took off for several days in Ottawa, and I did blog extensively about that.

What I really like about these photos is how much like, well, I guess a stereotypical idea of Heaven they seem to represent. Sunny. Serene. Timeless; even breathless. Everyone appearing to be dressed in white (natural fabrics tend to reflect infrared wavelengths; it's important to plants to be able to do this or they'd overheat). Oddly enough it was a surprisingly cold day for July; as I recall, it felt more like early spring than early summer. The day was unsettling somehow; I still don't think of it as joyful or contenting, and I'm still not sure why. But the photos I took in infrared light that day still impress me.

A few shots from Twelve Mile Creek; specifically, the Dundas Street bridge over it in Halton. I love how the water is black as ink but the trees look almost snow-covered. The abandoned supports once held a two-lane bridge that spanned the valley from the early 1920s till the late 1940s, when it was removed and replaced by the current four-laner (whose own days are numbered, I think, given the work recently completed at Sixteen Mile Creek not far down the road). The interesting thing is that not only did these supports survive, but within the past year or so they've been put back into use carrying a large water main, and even the bridge span was resurrected in the same original style (though narrower than two lanes). I'm hoping they eventually open it to pedestrians; it would seem a real shame not to.

Finally, a few shots from my second expedition under the 407 to the closed, cut-off stretch of Burnhamthorpe Road at Sixteen Mile Creek. These shots were actually taken by P-Doug, whom I asked to man the infrared camera for me that day. The low angle wheat stalks shot that ends this exhibition has always dazzled me and still fills me with good-natured envy. I only wish I could claim that shot, and the eye to compose it, as my own, but credit where credit is due.

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