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Gators and Lizzards and Snakes... OH MY !! by billyboy

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Gators and Lizzards and Snakes... OH MY !! by 

Florida is a state where historic treasure lies in the most unlikely places…
Nestled between the pristine lawns of Palm Coast`s elegant developments (where my mom lives btw:-) and the endless sands of Flagler Beach is the ruins of the ancient Bulow sugar plantation.

Accessing this beautiful state park from the beach, the change of scenery is amazing… overhanging trees covered with spanish moss, with the pointed leaves of palmetto shrubs jutting out like Flamenco dancer’s fans. And on this particular path leading up to the site of the decaying shell of the once flourishing mill, you never know what’s gonna jump out from behind one of those spooky trees and slither towards you faster than you thought it could…

When I took this hot, an afternoon thunderstorm was approaching from behind (like WAY spooky…don’t think I’d ever felt more alone and vulnerable too the elements in my life!), and I believe that such atmospheric change can affect the results you get from infrared photography.

Shot on Kodak high speed B/W infrared film with a Mamiya 35mm SLR (with manual film advance!!), 1/60 sec. at f16.
The cool thing about infrared film is that you never know what you’re gonna get. As infrared is exposed by heat from reflected surfaces rather than light, atmospheric conditions can actually alter exposure values, especially in the late summer heat of Florida, so you need to bracket like crazy. This was one of 5 bracketed shots.
Plus the fact that the smallest amount of light will immediately cloud the film, so changing reels needs to be done in a totally blackened room.

Though infrared filters on digital cameras give similar results such as making green foliage (and spanish moss!) look like it’s covered with snow, the added charm of the film is the heavy grain due to the high speed sensitivity. I felt as much like I was walking through an enchanted forest looking at the final print as when I was taking the picture.

My infrared film was developed and printed by someone who did the job much better than I ever could have. I shot this about 20 years ago and I don’t even know who would be able to process it these days. This upload is from the print scanned to digital on an Epson V500 flatbed.

Sorry I’ve written another book…

Please click the large view…:-)
Thanks for lookin!


  • Desirée Glanville
    Desirée Glanvillealmost 4 years ago

    Your books are always fun to read Bill!!! What a beautiful capture!!! Love the BW, brings me back to my childhood where we had a lane alike, it could be dark in there on the middle of a hot summer day, incredible amounts of branches and foliage entwined! I have spent so many hours there climbing the trees and daydreaming!!!
    Great job Bill!! XXX!
    ( i just proves anyone can write a book….lol!)

  • Daisy, your comments are just as much fun to read:-)
    I`m not surprised the childhood memories came out when you saw this… the effect of the infrared gives an embellishment that is like the unbridled fantasies we used to think we were living as children.
    Having said that, it`s kinda the way I still am now… and looking at your art I wouldn`t be surprised if you`re kinda like that too.
    Hey, wanna make a tree house?
    Thanx for the smiles and the fave!!

    – billyboy

  • Jen Waltmon
    Jen Waltmonalmost 4 years ago

    Ha, I knew it was infrared before I read your description. Absolutely love this one, Billy!

  • Of course I KNEW you knew…
    Thanks for lovin’ Jen!

    – billyboy

  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstonealmost 4 years ago

    I never knew infrared film existed until around 5 years ago, to my shame…in saying that i’ve only ever shot digital infrared! Love your story, and can feel the humidity and spooky mood in this overhanging avenue of trees….I love what infrared does with the light, and shadows….it’s awful hard to go back to straight imaging afterwards!

  • Yer right about the humidity Mel, it gets to 98% no problem in July and August. In fact it IS a problem cause you gotta keep wiping your sweat off the viewfinder.
    But I think this is why I never managed to get IR images of this intensity anywhere else where the climate is more moderate. It just does something of its own to the exposure, and I don`t even know if that would translate to digital IR. Just one of the charms of celluloid film that kept me doing it till the bitter end.
    Thanks for feeling the spook, and a big hug for the fave!!

    – billyboy

  • Stuart Chapman
    Stuart Chapmanalmost 4 years ago

    Well I guess there are some things a computer can’t improve on or replicate (well, i’ll probably be proven wrong in time as technology gathers at a faster pace then I can keep up with) and it’s a shame that those able to process such an image are a dying breed.

    The result is very impressive given the narrative explaining what was needed for it to go even remotely well, let alone come out like this.

    Even though the IR has given it a magical dreamlike quality the heat still packs a serious punch and exerts its authority through the remaining holes left in the foilage and trees.

  • Stuart, it`s much the same with analog music recorded to tape. Today`s digital technology already allows an incredibly wide range envelope to sample and reproduce sound. But with tape it seems like you can almost hear the atmosphere in the room, and this is something I don`t think digital recording will ever be able to manage. The nuances are just too subtle.

    Having said that, I was happy that at least some of the nuance managed to get picked by through my scanner. Felt good to revisit the thrill of having no idea how a shot would turn out!

    Thanks for being impressed and feeling the heat.
    And cheers for favin’!!

    – billyboy

  • Hans Kawitzki
    Hans Kawitzkialmost 4 years ago

    Nice IR Billy and great “book”.
    I have done a lot of IR film in my time and own darkroom,processing IR film these days would be no problem but getting IR film would be.
    I still do IR,because I love it so much,but these days with a converted digi-camera.

  • Wow Hans, kudos for having done the hard work!
    Processing chemistry intrigued me and I even loved the smell… but I guess not enough to actually get stuck into it. Pity cause I think it would have been so much more satisfying when the results were beyond expectation.

    And yeah, never thought about availability of IR film these days. They stopped making the Kodak IR film in 2007, and I think because of the sensitivity its shelf life was even shorted than that of normal films.
    Maybe I should try digital IR…
    If you’ve got time, maybe shoot me a BM to let me know how you converted your cam?
    Cheers for stopping by!

    – billyboy

  • Traceyisanozzy
    Traceyisanozzyalmost 4 years ago

    Is this one and the same as in Innocence Billy? :)
    Looks fantastic and def dreamlike, love the neverending road amongst all those trees and can’t believe the massive difference a couple of trees turned into a heart shape can make!!
    Awesomeness! :)

  • OK, just thought I’d stick it here so’s to compare…

    And now comparing the two, I think the version without the heart and the felines looks kinda boring and dispassionate.
    Fancy doin anotha collab?

    So cool to see you here Tracie, and a massive hug for the fave!!

    – billyboy

  • Denzil
    Denzilalmost 4 years ago

    Oh please, write another book!! This is so informative … I know nothing about infrared, except what my RB mate Lightsmith does.
    Obviously the gators didn’t get you…

  • Hiya Denzil!
    Nope, the gators missed me that time… only cause 20 years ago I could slither faster than they thought I could…
    Lightsmith’s IR work IS awesome, and since yer twisting my arm, I do have one or two more pics to post so will do my best at narrating:-)
    And cheers for faving!!

    – billyboy

  • Mieke Boynton
    Mieke Boyntonalmost 4 years ago

    I liked the book ;)
    I didn’t know about infrared film either!! Wonderful moody image… (“Run away! Hide! Never come back!!!” cried the Huntsman to Snow White…)

  • Cool you picked up on the Enchanted Forest thing Mieke:-)
    So maybe you didn’t know about IR film… but I didn’t know that bitch queen actually ordered the huntsman to kill Snow White!
    Was I like getting watered down versions of fairytales as a kid??
    Scuze me while I call my mom…

    – billyboy

  • Barbara Sparhawk
    Barbara Sparhawkalmost 4 years ago

    One of those magical places where the forest leans in, like the Cocteau Beauty & The Beast scenery, to threaten and challenge the reconnoitering stranger. In some way you take your photographs like a thrilled child seeing shapes and shadows never witnessed before, and bring us into that, hand held out, come with me, look! Through the looking glass and right down the rabbit hole. It’s never the presentation of a scene with which we can fully identify with familiar comfort, your view is never nostalgic pleasant, easy. Always intrigue. And I always hear the laughter of discovery in you, the delight. You are part Huck Finn and part Fellini and part Indiana Jones, and fully marvelous.

  • See Barbara? You make your stuff do strange dances, and I look for stuff that’s already dancing strangely. I guess that means we both dig the thrill of speeding down the rabbit hole… and yeah, it’s def no fun to do it alone or at least not be able to tell someone about it.

    You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been told why I take or make the pictures I do, and it actually makes me sigh with relief that it’s not cause I’m a repressed serial killer or somethin.
    So you’ve actually made my day.
    The same way you do with yer dancin farken flowerz and stuff…
    Part Fellini and part Indiana Jones??
    My daughter’s gonna be SO proud of me!!

    – billyboy

  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstonealmost 4 years ago

    I’ve only ever shot digital infrared in this horrendously hot and sunny climate I live in here, which would be pretty similar to Florida…it’s one of the few times I’ll go out in the middle of the day to shoot :)

  • Like mad dogs and Aussies, yeah?
    I kinda dig likkin off a bit of sweat mysself:-))

    – billyboy

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