Summer Infrared Photography

June, 2016


Chatting Angels, 2005

Here in lovely North Carolina, the Summer Solstice is drawing near. The 20th of June is the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. For those of us who enjoy infrared photography, this time of year brings two important elements to enhance our images.
First, deciduous foliage and grasses reach their peak chlorophyll production. This is important because it is the chlorophyll that reflects infrared light, giving the leaves and grass that remarkable high key glow in infrared photos. This is how the ground can look almost like it is covered in snow in the middle of summer!


Elgin Cathedral, Elgin, Moray, Scotland Infrared Film Photograph; shot in 2012, scanned for digital edit and print 2013, final edit 2015 James C. Williams Photography © Copyright 2015 James C. Williams

Elgin Cathedral, 2012

The second important element we have at this time is the power of the sun’s light. As the Earth tilts so that the northern hemisphere now faces the sun more directly than any other time of year, the angle of light is more effective. This produces stronger infrared light. While many photographers shy away from so much daylight and the shadows it casts, we infrared shooters love that powerful light!


Salt Marsh, Edisto, South Carolina Infrared Film Photograph © Copyright 2007 James C. Williams

Salt Marsh, Edisto, 2007

If you are unfamiliar with infrared photography, you may be thinking about thermal imaging. This is another application of digital imaging closely related to, but different from, reflective infrared or near infrared photography.

Infrared is the invisible spectrum of light beyond the color red. Thermal imaging is used to find heat leaks in buildings. While some avant-garde photographers use thermal imaging, most fine art photographers prefer reflective infrared photography.

My current summer photography plans are to go on a road trip and shoot both digital and film in some locations of my boyhood home in Indiana. I look forward to sharing this journey in a later blog post.

Trees of Green Hill, Green Hill Cemetery, Greensboro, NC Digital Infrared Black and White Photo James C. Williams Photography © Copyright 2015 James C. Williams

Trees of Green Hill, Green Hill Cemetery, Greensboro, NC, 2015

Thanks for reading and I wish all of you a wonderful summer! All of my images are available for purchase as framed or unframed prints and for commercial license. All images and content are protected by US and international copyright law. If you need more information about my photography, or want to purchase my photos, please email me at james (at)

James C. Williams photography is located in Winston-Salem, NC, serving the Piedmont Triad region for all of your photography needs.

See more infrared images here –>

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One Comment

  1. Chris June 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    Great information, Jimmy! I particularly like the notion of the infrared spectrum being “beyond red” (could be a catchy title for a book about infrared).

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