Infrared photography, which blocks visible light and captures only the IR spectrum to produce strange, beautiful images like the one above, has been around for more than a century. But it’s become more popular recently, since now anyone with a point-and-shoot camera can easily take these unusual shots. Not all subjects are suitable—some objects reflect part of the infrared spectrum, making them appear white and almost ghostly, so you won’t want to shoot, say, candid family shots. When done right, however, IR can work wonders. Formal portraits, for example, gain a delicate touch. Because IR softens the image, your subject’s skin will be imbued with a smooth glow that effectively hides blemishes and wrinkles. Landscapes, too, take on an ethereal look.
Infrared light can cause color shifts and soft focus, so manufacturers today make digicams less IR-sensitive by installing an IR-blocking filter in front of the sensor. That need not stop you, though. There are a number of methods you can use to make infrared photos [launch them here]. No matter which one you choose, before long you’ll have a whole portfolio of haunting artistic shots.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.