X-Photography – Johann van der Walt – Infrared Photography

When I travel I often take photos in infrared to show a new view to ordinary subjects.

Travel photography can easily be boring. For you as traveller it is important to document your travel – this is even truer for us photographers. But showing the photos afterwards to friends and family normally will put them to sleep – even in daytime!

My approach for sharing my travel photography is to

  • Select only a small group of my photos (I try to keep it below 30 for a specific topic)
  • Categorise the photos and ask the audience which category they want to see
  • Make sure my slideshow goes back to the main menu so that they can select another category
  • Don’t put them under pressure for showing another category – actually always think that this is the end when you get back to the menu. Let them ask to see another category
  • Most Importantly: Use special photographic techniques to change your photos from the ordinary to the extra-ordinary

Taizhou in Infrared

This article (consisting of 20 photos) shows some places I visited in Taizhou – taken in infrared. When I travel, I always take my infrared camera with me – this is one sure way to capture your surroundings in a different way! By using a custom white balance in the camera (taken from some well light green foliage), the scene will be captured in a very extra ordinary way! All these photos were taken with such a custom white balance, but I decided to present this gallery in monochrome – maybe at a later stage I will create a parallel gallery showing them in false colour infrared.

Just to show how the photos look in colour, I’ve included one colour photo.

Compared to the monochrome photo it looks other-worldly. This is a great technique to attract the attention of your audience, and in this case, it is the very reason I decided not to display these photos in colour, but rather in monochrome – I want you to experience the beauty of Taizhou without any trickery! The monochrome versions are a more realistic view of Taizhou. (Let me know what you think of the false colour version.)

Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, China

Let me first tell you where Taizhou is, and why I visited this beautiful city. 

Taizhou is a city on the eastern coast of China’s Zhejiang province, facing the East China Sea. It is located south of Shanghai and southeast of Hangzhou, the provincial capital. It is bordered by Ningbo to the north, Wenzhou to the south, and Shaoxing, Jinhua, and Lishui to the west. In addition to the municipality itself, the prefecture-level city of Taizhou includes 3 districts, 2 county-level cities, and 4 counties. At the 2010 census, its population was recorded as 6 million. 

This was my first visit to Taizhou and I was actually expecting a much smaller town (I did not read the Wikipedia introduction before my visit)! The reason for my visit was to help with the preparation for a South African photography print exhibition that took place in Yixian. My hosts ensured that it was not all just work – they created enough “play” opportunities for me. 

Guo Jing, my host, is the art director of the Shangtuf Image and Art Club, and she really went out of her way to let me feel at home in Taizhou. Shangtuf Image and Art Club is a family business and her brother is an artist in his own right (painter)!  A large part of the Shangtuf business is to form a proxy for Chinese photographers who would like to participate in international salons. This means that there are several English translators on the staff whose full time job it is to translate salon entry forms and brochures into Chinese for publishing on the Shangtuf website. Claire, the youngest of the translators (and also because she grew up in Taizhou), was given the task to accompany me on all formal and informal photo excursions. She never told me her Chinese name, but her English name “Claire Sparks” fits her personality perfectly! She called me “Old man” and I think her personal mission was to ensure that I am fit by the time I left Taizhou… For most of our local photo excursions, we used the Taizhou Public Bicycle system – a very well organised and maintained way of public transport in Taizhou.  

I hope you enjoy this gallery of photos taken in and around Taizhou.

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