Picture this: Photographer captures landscapes in stunning infrared shots
At first glance, they look like eerily perfect winter shots: trees laden with downy white leaves in a white field beneath a blue sky. Yet appearances can be misleading: Przemysław Kruk shot the landscapes in summer using infrared photography.
Kruk, who lives near Częstochowa in southern Poland, has a different day job, but photography is his passion. He started thirty years ago with an analogue camera, later moving on to digital. As a landscape photographer, he has a penchant for mountains – such as the jagged Dolomites – and Polish fields, from the soft hills of Roztocze to the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland closer to home.
“If I travel for myself, then it’s from the perspective of photography,” he told The First News in an interview. “To take a good photograph, you need to be in a good spot early in the morning or late in the evening to get the right light – that ‘golden hour’. The hiking suffers for the sake of the photographs.”
Kruk, whose background is in physics, became fascinated by infrared photography after seeing some white landscapes online. “Initially, I thought they were photographed in winter,” he said.
Infrared light, which lies beyond the “visible” spectrum, can be captured using a special camera filter. The reflectiveness of chlorophyll, the photosynthetic green pigment in plants, explains why leaves and grass appear white in IR photographs, including Kruk’s ones of Polish fields.
Unlike with his other landscapes, Kruk shoots these in the strongest light possible, often at midday. Some of his black and white photographs are shot in infrared, too, but there the effect is different and less discernible, he explains.
“These infrared fields are fleeting and ethereal – not entirely real,” he says of his work. “There is something mysterious and secretive about these artificially created white landscapes under a bright sky.”
As summer slowly ends, Kruk is leaving infrared photography – which uses strong sunlight and green leaves – until the spring. In the intervening months, he will be photographing mountains, with a trip to the Bardenas Reales mountains in Spain planned for this autumn.