Week 27 Infrared in the Cemetery



You may or may not have noticed that I skipped Week 26, thereby avoiding the retrospective of the first half of the year. It wasn’t on purpose, and I will get back to it. What happened was, I chose that week to return to one of my original purposes which was to use cameras in my collection I hadn’t yet shot. Unfortunately I chose Week 26 to shoot the little Olympus PenEE which I picked up for nothing on Etsy. That means, for good or ill, I have to take 72 shots instead of 36. Should have put a 24 shot roll in….

Anyway, for week 27 I decided to experiment with some things and also go back to what was for quite a while my favorite spot to shoot, the cemetery. We don’t have a lot of old cemeteries in San Diego except the one at the Mission which is quite dull, but Greenwood goes well back in the 19th century and houses some of San Diego’s founding families including Ulysses Grant Jr. I have shot infrared there before and it works quite well on a sunny day. I am most interested in the statuary in cemeteries, rather than the headstones, so that’s something I look for. Infrared accentuates the contrasts between white statue and background. Sometimes it just looks like very pushed film, and sometimes has a more striking effect depending on the length of exposure and other factors that I haven’t fully mastered.

One installation I especially like is a small group of statues that were erected by a man named Tanzer in the early part of the 20th century. He and his wife purchased 16 plots together, for some reason. When she died he spent the rest of his life and money erecting a memorial to her. Technically speaking these are cenotaphs since apparently neither of them is actually buried there. Anyway there is a grouping of statues of various sorts of angels and suffering figures as well as a pair of dogs, looking for all the world like a little cocktail party on the corner.




One more thing I threw in was trying some more multiple exposure shots, which I’ve never done with infrared. I used basically the same exposure rules as for regular black and white (except for the +2 which remained constant) and each was a total of four exposures.

This one is my absolute favorite from the roll


These were all shot on the Nikon FE on Rollei infrared Asa 400, with a dark red filter. I set the exposure compensation at +2 and also overexposed each shot (except the multiples) by one or two additional stops. Shooting with this filter is a pain in the rear because once the filter is on you can’t see much so you have to remove it after each shot and refocus and re-meter. Some of the shots were done with a tripod so I could get longer exposures. I also developed the film myself. I’d never been brave enough before but it develops just like any ordinary black and white film and even has a developing chart printed inside the box!

8 thoughts on “Week 27 Infrared in the Cemetery

  1. Great work….I’m encouraged to try the Rollei Infrared again. I think in my previous attempts I had chosen the wrong subject. That’s what so great about this project. People are constantly trying different things, and it makes all of our work better.


    • Thanks! Using infrared is tricky. Having a bright day and a spot with lots of vegetation helps for sure. I agree that seeing what others are doing has been very inspiring….although it has also increased my desire to acquire more cameras 🙁


  2. What a great post! Two of my favorite things, IR and cemeteries. I’ve converted a digital camera to IR and played with that. Cemeteries and IR really seem to go together well.

    really like the multiple exposure of the Angel. Taking it down the diagonal was a good choice.


    • Yes this film and cemeteries are a match. I’ve shot at three or four different ones. I need to think of some other locations that also have high contrast. As for the angel…it was kind of an accident. When handheld, each exposure moves a little, this one just happened to work perfectly.


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