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Invisible Light


The bright foliage of a holly plant are transformed into a glowing infrared picture.

By Aaron Farnsworth
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 1, 2000
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A pair of inquisitive lorikeets approach the camera.


Three beavers dry off in the late afternoon light.

Beyond the limits of our eyes exists an invisible world. The field of infrared photography is one that is known by few and practiced by still fewer. Using film that is more sensitive to the light spectrum on both ends, infrared photography creates ethereal and sometimes ghostly images of everyday subjects. Living things generate heat which is translated into a luminous glow on the film. While this film produces a more unearthly look, the handling and care essential to achieve this is greater as well. The necessity of complete darkness while loading and unloading the film makes for quite a challenge.

This series of pictures was shot early on MLK Day at the Washington Park Zoo, in Portland, Oregon. The animals were active, and the light was soft and generous.

Seen as its own form of creative expression, infrared photography provides an artistic twist to a century old art form. For those patient enough and willing to work through a few mistakes, infrared photography allows for new perceptions of our world.


A dripping seedpod hangs in the balance off of a steep cliffside.


Soft afternoon light and a flowing waterfall add to the calming effect of the lustrous image.

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