Flights: Spain: 590nm Infrared vs 830nm Infrared vs Visible Spectrum

I really didn’t think the day would come like this, but it did. I got bored with aerial photography – too repetitive. So…. I bought another infrared camera! This one is 590nm wavelength as opposed to my existing camera, which is 830nm. 830nm is mostly black and white, with a touch of blue if properly channel swapped. 590nm allows for black and white plus yellow, which is normally reserved for foliage. I would end up with permanent autumn, which is a majestic season, so I was sold.

Last May, the camera came pretty quick with a small bill from customs. This time? All hell broke loose and a flamenco dance of paperwork ensued with Madrid, resulting in an equally small bill from customs, though laden with more pieces of paper to make everyone happy. The camera arrived precisely as my airplane was out of service, so my alleviation of boredom became an exacerbated case of coitus interruptus.

Finally, I was able to haul all 4 cameras up into the airplane and try some test shots. Initial results are mixed. 590nm is much more sensitive to overexposure, whereas 830nm is practically bulletproof. Blue is overkill right now on 590nm, and I haven’t figured out how to selectively tone down the blue hues in certain areas, and will probably have to whore myself by paying for some training in Photoshop, as selective color desaturation in a limited area is a more elevated task that I cannot due in Lightroom. The bottom line is that winter is not the greatest for any infrared photography, and the visible spectrum wins the trophy. As I get a chance to descend into the lower Mediterranean forests, I am sure the 590nm will begin to show some interesting results, equally as much as spring will probably be quite a treat. Some comparative imagery is below from initial flight tests.

First flight: visible. Obviously not the greatest day for photos.

First flight: 590nm.

Note light sensitivity in the cloud. This is worse than visible, whereas 830nm is better than visible. 

Second flight, visible.

Second flight, 590nm.

I do like how it shows the shadowed pines so brightly, though the washed out tones are going to require some practice and tuning.

Third flight: visible spectrum.

Visible again. Clearly it snowed.

830nm infrared. Note a tiny bit of blue in the upper right, otherwise dull.

And 590nm infrared. The snow comes back blue, of which I severely desaturated. Almost zero yellow to be found anywhere. 590 actually comes back brighter than 830….