Introduction to Infrared Photography

1982 to 2022, various locations.

Links go to original posts.  These are likely to be IR or Mono posts with little detail but there may be detailed information in a preceding normal-colour post.  (Some images have no corresponding posts, so no link).

Click on any image to see it larger (If you are on a PC at least).

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I’ve just finished posting on Istanbul/ Constantinople and next I will post on the Acropolis in Athens.  First, this post.

I have upgraded my IR camera and am selling the old one so one purpose of this post is to provide information to a buyer who may not well understand IR photography.  The IR explanation may be of general interest to photographers and others may just be interested in the images (there’s lots of text but also lots of images further down).

In ancient days of yore, decades ago, we had both colour and black & white infrared film.  Colour infrared film seems all but unavailable now whereas there are a few avenues for B&W IR film.

Normal photographic colour film has layers of red, green and blue.  Infrared light comes in below the red frequencies and ultraviolet is above blue, though ultraviolet is not relevant here.  Infrared colour film had layers of infrared, red and green, and missed out the blue.  Since infrared light is not visible, arbitrary colours were associated to the layers, so it was also called false-colour film.  You could also change the colour combinations by putting colour filters on the end of the lens.  This didn’t just add a colour caste but changed all the colours (since the infrared is invisible) and stacking filters changed all the colors in strange and mysterious ways.

Black and white infrared film was simply much more sensitive to infrared light.  It was also very sensitive to visible light and had to be loaded and unloaded from the camera in total darkness.   It was often grainy and could have an ethereal effect.

I never shot black & white infrared so I can’t show you any images of that but I did shoot colour IR.  I must have quite a few processed colour IR rolls in my film drawers but I’ve scanned hardy any of them but I can show you one example.

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Aboriginal Performance, Canberra, 1982.

This is a curious example.  I was shooting an Aboriginal performance when I ran out of regular fim so I continued with infrared.  Then, after I sent it to the lab to be processed, it came back with Sabattier Effect.  They must have left the inspection port open in the processing machine so that created a partial reversal of the shadows – resulting in a negative audience.  I had tried this myself several times but never got it to work as well as that.

Of course we now live in a digital age and we can take infrared images with digital cameras.  This is not entirely equivalent to colour IR film – you would actually need to combine digital regular and IR images for that, but it offers lots of scope for artistic effects and experiments and can also work particularly well for monochromes.

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St Kilda, 2013.

The cheapest way to take a digital IR image is to attach an R72 (or similar) filter to your cameras lens.  (This works for most cameras but some have too strong an infrared-blocking filter.)  This is how I took the above image and the next two.

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Jarlshof, Shetland, 2013.

The problem with using an R72 filter is that it is almost opaque so you need to use a tripod (or extremely high ISO) and if you’re using a DSLR, you will need to have the filter off to focus and compose.  A converted camera you can use hand held, just like a normal camera.

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Manvar Desert Camp, Rajastan, India, 2014.

This image is to some extent reminiscent of IR b&w film which could have heavy grain but it does not include the characteristic ethereal blurring of highlights.  I could have tried to replicate that with the Orton Effect in Photoshop but I have no interest in copying appearances from another era without a good reason.

Much more convenient than an R72 filter is an IR camera but it is more expensive as you have to send a camera off to get converted.   Mirrorless cameras are more suitable than DSLRs (unless you just plan to use live view) because focusing has a separate sensor to taking the image and they may get out of synch.

Most people use a custom camera white balance, usually taken off foliage.  Otherwise your captured image will start off different shades of a single colour.  There can also be different kinds of conversions.  A 720nm conversion gives you an image suitable for black and white with very little processing (perhaps even none, out of the camera).  A conversion with a lower number such as 560nm or 590nm has more colour in the image and is suitable for either colour or B&W IR but requires processing.

Not all lenses are suitable for infrared photography.  Many perform flawlessly but many have “hot spots”, a circle of diffusion and flare in the centre of the image.   Some lenses are also OK at wider apertures but have hot spots when stopped down.  There are a few guides to this online such as this one from Kolari or this one from Life Pixel, but you can also easily test your lenses yourself (with either an IR camera or R72 filter).

Processing is an important part of creating infrared images, though most people seem to take a relatively minimalist approach.  So while I have generally taken a complex approach to processing using Lightroom and Photoshop, I decided to see what I might get with relatively quick processing just in Lightroom.

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This is what you see in your camera without a custom profile or as the RAW file in Lightroom without any processing.

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This is the change from applying a custom Lightroom profile made using the Adobe DNG Profile Editor, as described here, then making a few minor changes to Temperature and Tint.  This is useful because Lightroom and Camera RAW by default give you a constricted colour range to play with for infrared images.  It is not necessary for Capture One.  This is similar to what you see in your camera with a custom profile there.  (Actually I did not do this in processing this image but clicked the White Balance Selector on foliage instead.  For this image, it provided a similar result.)

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Beijing Garden, Canberra, 2022.

I created this just using Lightroom. 

Apart from the custom white balance, I adjusted some hues in HSL, I played with some settings in Calibration, I optimised individual colour channels in curves, and I made some adjustments to shadows with colour grading.  I’m not suggesting a recipe; I made some adjustments I thought appropriate at the time and I might do completely different things with a different image or at a different time.

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This is the result of a quick B&W conversion in Lightroom.  I usually do my conversions in CaptureOne and Photoshop is also powerful, though may be more complex.

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Beijing Garden, Canberra, 2022.

This is another one from the same place on the next day.  We’ll get to Photoshop soon and one of the things you do in Photoshop with infrared images is swapping channels.  There’s a way to get a profile in Lightroom that does this so I was able to incorporate a red/blue channel swap in this image.  Such a profile is complex to set up, though you can read of this process or purchase swap profiles here.

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Ducks and Ducklings, Mt Ainslie, 2021.

This is an image from out the back of where I live, during a COVID lockdown.  Processed entirely in Lightroom except for neutralising the colour of the water at the bottom in Photoshop, because even with recent Lightroom improvements, masking in Photoshop is much better (Capture One was also possible).

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Carillon in early Spring, Canberra, 2021.

I recently tried processing infrared images in Capture One (which I have been also using for three years now).  It has very powerful capabilities for adjusting colours and masking, and has layers.  It’s better than Lightroom in many ways though channel swapping is not offered and Photoshop is more powerful for this purpose but can be much more complex.  (However, channel swapping is possible.  You can select, say, a blue 120 degree third, make the maximum -30 degrees hue shift four times, do the same for red (except +30) and save as a preset.)

The above image and the next two are processed in Capture One.

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Bushland on Mount Ainslie, 2021.

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Kangaroo on Mount Ainslie, 2021.

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Kangaroos on Mount Ainslie, 2014.

This was one of the first images I took with my old IR camera.  All the following images are from that camera and also half the preceding ones.  The image you end up with is more important than the camera you take it with.

All images from the one above down were primarily processed in Photoshop.

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Grand Canyon by Helicopter (IR), 2014.

Infrared is good for aerial images because it cuts through the haze, even before any processing.

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Zion Canyon (Mono) (image is actually near Zion Canyon), 2014.

Infrared can also be good for monochrome.  This was processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro but in the last couple of years I have gone to using Capture One.

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Louisiana Bayou Monochromes, 2014.

IR can facilitate deep blacks and high drama in mono.

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Louisiana Bayou Monochromes, 2014.

Photographing people can be interesting in infrared.  Easier perhaps in mono; colour image can require delicate tweaking.

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Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, 2015.

All of these later images were mainly processed in Photoshop, but what you can do there depends on what you start with.  It’s advantageous to process the images first in Lightroom (or ACR) and you can do this in a number of different ways which each led to a different set of possibilities in Photoshop.

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Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast from Above (IR), 2015.

Though some people always process their images the same way, for me there is no set way of doing this, in Photoshop, or in Lightroom or Capture One.  It seems as though each time I process an image I think of a new way to do it..

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Taxi! Taxi!, 2015.

So I’m not providing any recipes because I don’t believe in them and don’t use them.  The key is to look at the essence of each image and creatively explore its potential.

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Kipahulu/ Haleakala National Park, 2015.

In Photoshop, the first thing to do is often channel swapping, usually red and blue channels.  But there are lots of things you can do with channel swapping and you can also combine different effects with layers and masks.

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Kipahulu/ Haleakala National Park, 2015.

Then I may use a Hue/ Saturation layer to adjust or change individual colours.

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Oonartra Creek IR, 2015.

I may use a Black and White adjustment layer in luminosity mode to intensify individual colours.

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Dream Lemurs, 2015.

I may make some tweaks with a Selective colour layer.

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Ocean Harbour Dreaming, 2015.

I may also make a range of adjustments using luminosity masks (for which I use TK Actions though there are other alternatives that may be less complex).

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Ocean Harbour Dreaming, 2015.

Of course, you don’t need to use the most complex method possible.  Simple methods are fine if they work for you (and complex methods may not).  I do think it’s important though to always be experimenting and learning….

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Cazneau Tree, Brachina Gorge and Edowie ruins (IR), 2016.

There is potential technical complexity in processing infrared images but it will not work if it becomes just a technical exercise.  It’s the image that you create that is important, not the process you used to create it.  Whether you spend a lot of time doing complex things is ultimately irrelevant, the objective is simply to create Great Art.

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Flinders Ranges Monos 3 IR, 2016.

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Cazneau Tree, Brachina Gorge and Edowie ruins (IR), 2016.

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Parachilna Ruins (IR), 2016.

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Return to Adelaide (IR), 2016.

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Yaxha and Topoxté (IR), 2016.

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Tikal Monochromes, 2016.

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Salton Sea (IR), 2016.

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Salton Sea Monochromes, 2016.

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Sculpture Garden, NGA, 2016.

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KL to KK (Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu), 2019.

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Mount Tamborine, 2021.

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Ashoka (he’s actually a red Burmese), 2021.

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I have deliberately refrained from giving detailed methodology and screen shots partly because the article would get too long but more because I think it’s counter-productive.  There is no correct way of doing this and your own individual approach is for you to discover.

I will however, supply a couple of links for further reading.  You can find more with web searches:

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Mount Tamborine

Brisbane, Queensland, 30 July 2021.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.).
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Infrared, Landscape, Mount Tambourine, Nature, Photography, Rainforest, Skywalk, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Just before dawn, we headed off on our flight from Canberra to Brisbane, the first step of our journey to North Queensland.

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… though as it turned out, we would not get to North Queensland, rather turned back due to COVID lockdowns.

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We met up with our friends Jim and Milena, and later headed for Mount Tamborine.  This is a view looking inland over the plains.

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… and over farmland.

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The weather seems to have been changing considerably and is not quite how I remember it, though perhaps that is the infrared sensor and processing.

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Infrared, Landscape, Mount Tambourine, Nature, Photography, Rainforest, Skywalk, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We stopped at a cafe for lunch.

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And then we headed for the Mount Tamborine Skywalk, so the remaining images are from there.

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The bunga bunga pines are towering over the rest. 

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Eastern yellow robin (male).

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These two images looking straight down at some distance.

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Joshua Tree National Park Monochromes

5 October 2016, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA.

Links go to colour posts (for more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Agriculture in the desert to the north of the Salton Sea.

Cottonwood Spring and Teddybear Chollas.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Cottonwood Spring.

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Mountains and desert.

Cottonwood Spring and Teddybear Chollas.

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Ocotillo and desert landscape.

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Desert landscape.

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Teddy-bear Cholla.

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Chollas.

Cottonwood Spring and Teddybear Chollas..

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Desert landscape, possibly with Triffids.

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Jumbo Rocks.

Jumbo Rocks and Hidden Valley.

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Joshua Tree.

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Hidden Valley.

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Coyote.

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Rock climber.

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Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

 

Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

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This was the last post of my expedition to Cuba & the Caribbean (Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, St Martin, Antigua, Jamaica, California).  This has included over 2,500 images and more than 52,000 words.  I have updated the index of all posts on this expedition which you can find here.

Next I will make a couple of local posts and then I will start on the final posts for my trip to Uzbekistan, Istanbul, Athens, Santorini, Crete, Andalusia, Washington and Oregon.  That is the last trip for which I have not made final posts.  I may not make any overseas trips until 2022 so those posts should keep me occupied for a while.

 

Salton Sea Monochromes

1 to 5 October 2016, Salton Sea, California, USA.

Links go to colour posts (for more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

This car may be going cheap, though also not going at all.

Salton Sea (IR).

 

Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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North shore palms.

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Dead fish by an endangered sea.

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Bombay Beach.

Salton Sea

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Slab City.

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Slab City.

Salton Sea (IR).

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Salton Sea.

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Mud Volcano.

Birds and Mud Volcanoes.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Hummingbird.

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L.A. and Salton Sea Monochromes

1 to 5 October 2016, Los Angeles and Salton Sea, USA.

Links go to colour posts (for more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Colombian Mammoth (Mammathus Columbi)

La Brea Tar Pits.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Chest of drawers from the 18th century Japan.

Netsuke Gallery, LACMA.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Netsuke.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Buddha Shakyamuni, Sukothai, Thailand, 14th-15th century.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Eagle-headed demon (Assyria).

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Borrego Palm Canyon.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Desert cacti, perhaps clavellina cholla.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Gomphothere.

Encounters with Megafauna.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

A locust or grasshopper and a scorpion.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Ground sloths.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Chinese dragon.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Humans in vehicle.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Salton Sea.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Dead fish on the salt.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

The end, but of what?

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Near Salton City.

Salton Sea (IR).

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Probably at Desert Shores.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Trees in the desert.

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Joshua Tree National Park (IR)

California USA, 3 October 2016

(Click on any image for a larger view).

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We are in Cottonwood Spring in Joshua Tree National Park.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We see the autumnal yellow of the leaves and sometimes white leaves protesting against environmental indignities.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

Deep in the grove is a fiery furnace of localised volcanic activity.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

You can tell the person at bottom left comes from Colorado because he is turning yellow in sympathy with the leaves of the trees.  This is due to long-term deciduous exposure.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The leaves become more orange as the day warms up.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

… then more yellow due to a sudden cool breeze.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We’re now in the desert with the ocotillos..

Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The ancient spirit of a sky snake hangs in the sky.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The local authorities have helpfully planted a sign showing which way is up.  This is puzzling for some.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

You might have noticed it’s a desert and quite dry.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

One day many years ago, triffids rained down.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

But it was a desert and no good for them so they turned into teddybear chollas.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

Because it’s so arid they usually don’t move much at all, except sometimes a little in the wind.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

You might be tempted to cuddle up in bed with a nice teddybear cholla but beware, it might turn into a triffid.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We are now approaching Jumbo Rocks.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

It’s much safer to cuddle up with a rock.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

And here we have a Joshua Tree in full autumn colours.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

in the foreground we have a Joshua Tree with an identity crisis, trying to be a palm.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The rocks are actually ancient fossilised Mojave Indian spirits.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We are now in Hidden Valley and this may be the headquarters of the Mojave spirits.  They provide psychiatric assistance to Joshua Trees with identity crises

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The plants here are all Joshua Trees.  Some of them are very confused.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The spirit snakes are also very active in the sky in this area.

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OK, these are all infrared images.  So what does that mean?  Well, human eyes have a range of visible colours that can be expressed as combinations of red, green and blue.  Below that is infrared and above that is ultraviolet.  Many animals see outside our spectral range.  One of my cameras has a modified sensor that records infrared, red and green but not blue.  (You can also do this with most normal digital cameras but it requires using an R72 filter and a tripod).

The image out of the camera is basically orange but this hides the potential for other colours.  I then use software to hit the image with a virtual firehose to assign and modify colours.  My last infrared post I processed using complex processes in Photoshop and I processed each image quite differently.  Since the images in this post are more homogeneous, I decided to apply similar processing to them all.  I used a more simple process just in Lightroom, though using channel-swap profiles I had created in Photoshop.

Salton Sea (IR)

California USA, 1 October 2016

With Jeni Bate of Skyscapes for the Soul.

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If you have not read the previous post on the Salton Sea then you really should do so.  It contains images from similar places but also includes the ecological history of the Salton Sea and the way in which it represents a modern ecological parable.

(Click on any image for a larger view).

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness
The sign is headed SCSB – could this be Salton City Surf Beach?  It goes on to say: Property/ Parking Lot/ XXXX (i.e. erased) & Jetty/ Open to Public Use/ Sunrise to Sunset.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end my only friend, the end (Jim Morrison, not to be confused with Van Morrison).

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Of course everyone knows that the camera presents a completely accurate representation of reality.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

What is not so commonly known is that cameras have a mind-reading chip and really show what you see when you look at the subject.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

This is why images commonly have more contrast, more saturated colours  and more pleasing renditions than reality.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

It is also why most nude photographs you see are of people who had their clothes on at the time.  It just depends on how the photographer’s mind works.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

One of my cameras is particularly honest and shows what I saw as I stood there in the searing heat with the agricultural toxins born on the wind slowly searing into my brain.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Sometimes it is night, sometimes it is day and sometimes in the day it is night.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

We’re on a road to nowhere….

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Perhaps this is an alien landscape with a dead robot trying to emerge from the primordial slime.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Here, though, Jools and Jeni are discussing what we can possibly say to the rental car company.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

The reality is having an identity crisis.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

It is changing before our eyes.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

So back to normal reality.  Here we are at the North Shore Beach and Yacht Club, hoping for a swig or two amongst the jet-setters.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

The streetlight is causing a total eclipse of the sun.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

It’s gone now.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Ah, but it’s back again to normal daylight.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

You may think they are giant mushrooms but I’m assured they are palm trees.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Notwithstanding what appears to be an orange jump suit, i can assure you this is not a person recently escaped from prison.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Fish and chips anyone?  (Fission chips may be another option but Diablo Canyon is hundreds of kilometres away).

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

I’m told the fishing has been better.

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

Purple haze all in my brain.  Lately things don’t seem the same….

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Desert, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wilderness

The great desert paradise of Bombay Beach.  I didn’t manage to catch the frolicking Beach Boys at the time though.

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Head in the Clouds (Lahad Datu to KK)

14 May 2019, Lahad Datu, Sabah, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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These are images from two flights, from Ladah Datu to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur. They are all monochrome conversions of infrared images.

When leaving on the plane from Lahad Datu I was instructed by a stewardess that I was not allowed to take photographs out the window during takeoff because the camera is an electronic device. That has never happened to me previously and astonished me as the camera is hardly going to be sending out wifi signals. Consequently, most of these images are of clouds.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Not long before, we took off from Lahad Datu in Eastern Sabah.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

We are flying over Sabah.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Rivers and mainly cleared land below here.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

The clouds could be quite majestic though.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

This is near Kota Kinabalu.  We have landed and taken off again.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

I was able to photograph clouds over the South China Sea for a while until the visibility closed right in.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Now we are over mainland Malaysia.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

A small sea-front village.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Workers’ cottages, probably, beside the ubiquitous palm oil plantations.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Palm Oil plantations.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

This was the last post of our trip to Sabah.  You can see links to all the other posts in the Sabah Itinerary post.

Next, a return to the last few days in Havana in the Caribbean trip.

Sabah Monochromes

3-14 May 2019, Sabah, Malaysia

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Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Street markets, Kota Kinabalu.

from KK Markets (Kota Kinabalu).

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Fish markets, Kota Kinabalu.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Fishing boat, Kota Kinabalu.

from KK Fishing Boats (Kota Kinabalu).

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Egret, Kota Kinabalu Wetland Ramsar Site.

from Egrets – I’ve had a few….

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orchid, Mt Kinabalu Botanical Garden.

from Mount Kinabalu.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Common Tree Nymphs, Butterf;y Farm, Poring Hot Springs.

from Poring Hot Springs and Sabah Tea Plantation.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sunset, Sabah Tea Plantation.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Scarlet-backed flowerpecker.

from Sepilok Day 1 – Giant Flying Squirrels.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Unidentified Butterfly.

from Sepilok Day 2 – Sun Bears and Orang Utans.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sun Bear, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Native bees and hive, on the trunk of a tree.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orangutan, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sepilok.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Wild orangutan, Sepilok.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orangutans in nest high in trees, Sepilok.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife
Plantain squirrel, Sepilok.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Western Tarsier, Sepilok.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife
Pig-tailed macaques, Kinabatangan River.

from Kinabatangan River Day 1 – Pig Tailed Macaques.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Egret, Kinabatangan River

from Kinabatangan River Day 2 – Proboscis Monkeys.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Male Proboscis Monkey.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Male Proboscis Monkey.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Wild orangutan and baby, Caves of Goomontong.

from Tabin Day 1.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pig-tailed macaques, Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

from Tabin Day 1.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Monitor lizard.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Agamid lizard (draco genus).

from Tabin Day 2 – Clouded Leopard.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife
White-crowned hornbill.

from Tabin Day 3 – Last day in Sabah.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Honey comb of the Giant Honey Bee (apis dosata).

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Walking towards the mud volcano.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife
Buffy fish owl.

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Black and White, Butterfly, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Proboscis Monkey, Sabah, Street photography, Tarsier, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sunset.

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Tabin Day 3 – Last day in Sabah

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 13 May 2019.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gibbon.

I got up early this morning and the gibbons went across overhead again but the light wasn’t nearly as good as the previous day.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gibbon.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

White-crowned hornbill.

After breakfast we went for a drive and then for a walk to the mud volcano.  This and the next few images were on the way there.

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Honey comb of the Giant Honey Bee (apis dosata).

These bees make their honey combs on places like the underneath of branches to make it hard for the sun bears to access them.  That texture you see is the comb covered in bees.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Female long-tailed parakeet.

As we passed another tree there was the head of a parrot appearing from a nesting hole on the trunk.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Some of our party walking along towards the mud volcano.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Mud volcano.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bornean Rhino and Teetash.

This is the third-last Bornean Rhino in Sabah, which had died a couple of years before and was stuffed.  This is an adult rhino and Teetash kindly volunteered to stand beside it so you can see how small it is.  The Bornean Rhino is a subspecies of the Sumatran Rhino.  There are less than 100 Sumatran Rhinos and likely no more than 15 Bornean Rhinos.  The numbers are so small due to habitat loss.  We were due to see the last male Bornean rhino in Sabah but he took ill a few days before we arrived and died shortly after we left.  There is one female left in Sabah but she is not in good health.

There are three species of rhinoceros, the African, the Asian and the Sumatran.  The Sumatran is more closely related to the extinct Woolly Rhinoceros of Europe (as shown in cave paintings) than the African or Asian rhinos.  A distant and extinct rhino, Elasmotherium sibiricum, with a two-metre horn, is the likely source of the unicorn legend.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant by elephant.

This is a painting by an Asian elephant.  Borneo pygmy elephants are a subspecies that has been separated for 3,000 years.  They may have been in Borneo for that long but it is likely they are actually surviving Javan elephants (otherwise extinct), given to the Sultan of Sulu (NE Sabah/ SE Philippines) around 1395.  Compared to Asian elephants, they are smaller with relatively larger ears, longer tails and straighter tusks.  They are threatened by habitat loss.  There are 1,000 to 4,000 in Borneo, including some in Tabin but we did not see any.  However, we did hear them in Sepilok.  They have a group there but do not want human interaction as they are intending to return them to the wild.

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Rhinoceros hornbill.

Not to be confused with Bornean rhinoceros which does not have a bill and are not known for their flying.

We are now in the late afternoon to evening, taking photographs again from the back of a truck.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A piece of grass in focus and the disappearing tip of the tail of a leopard cat, somewhat out of focus.

The previous night, I had a leopard cat in focus and lined up.  Unfortunately I hesitated to adjust exposure and it was gone.  Gaaah!  So I was determined to find another one if I could.  There it was this night, on the other side of the truck, but by the time I found it through my long telephoto lens, it was on its way and this was all I got.

Leopard cats are similar in size to domestic cats but more slender with longer legs.  They are widespread in India, China, Japan and South East Asia and not under threat.  The ones in Sabah are of the Sunda subspecies.  The ones we saw were leaving the forest at night for the palm oil plantations, probably to hunt for rats.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Leopard cat.

However, Clive Moon, who was sitting beside me, did get a photograph of the leopard cat and he has very kindly allowed me to show it on this blog.

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Buffy fish owl.

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Buffy fish owl.

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A disappearing sunset.

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Water lilies.

On the last morning, I also went looking for gibbons but they were later than the previous two days and I did not wait around long enough so I missed them and took these photographs of lilies instead.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

All of these photographs are completely normal images with normal colour, as certified by the Andaman Islander Institute of Normalcy (AIIN).  Well, OK, maybe not all.  That’s except for the four infrared images.  You may be able to work out which they are.

 

25,000 Images

Just a note of trivia.  There are now 25,000 images that you can access through this Blog.  There are 14,555 in the blog itself and another 10,458 live music images from 1,001 performances that you can access through links on the All Performances page.   The Honey comb of the Giant Honey Bee was image number 25,000.  If I printed each of these images at A4 and laid them end to end, they would stretch nearly 7.5 kilometres.

This is also the last post from Sabah, except for some images from the plane and some monochromes.