Colour Infrared

My Experience With Kodak EIR Film

3 min read by Bob St-Cyr.
Under the Tree.

Analogue and alternative photography offers many avenues towards visual creativity. Infrared colour film creates one of those special opportunities to try something quite different from straight colour work, just as black and white infrared is unique in that film genre.

I bought a roll of Kodak Ektachrome infrared film several years before I actually felt I had the right setting to use it. When I purchased the film in the early 2000s, I thought it was quite expensive but little did I know that once a film stock is no longer in production the price for it skyrockets; this film sure follows that pattern.

I hope you can understand some apprehension when dealing with a very rare film stock; picking the “right” photographic conditions was not to be taken lightly. I had one chance at this, and I had to make it count, so my thinking went. I couldn’t keep this roll of 135-36 exposure roll on ice forever, so a place I had previously scouted provided the ideal conditions, i.e., a well-lit landscape with lots of deciduous vegetation. The camera was my Nikon FM2n and a yellow filter. I chose this camera because it was what I had at the time and because there were no electronics (save for a light meter) and a lack of a film window in the rear door that would have fogged the film. The camera cannot have any internal illumination either, or this can fog the film. The FM2n camera was perfectly robust and ideal for the job.

Unlike black & white infrared film, I did not need an opaque filter, but just a yellow or orange filter which still allowed me to view the image in the camera viewfinder. Because of that, metering wasn’t a problem.

As I recall, it was the summer of 2017, and I had the film processed at The Lab in Vancouver, and they did an amazing job for me; I was quite pleased with their work. Since my first experience with this wonderful emulsion, I have been able to track down some Aerochrome (same stuff, different name) in a 120 format, and I started to self process my E6 with great results.

I only wish I could get my hands on a few more rolls as it is a film stock that I think really lends itself to raising awareness to the fact that IR photography allows me to visualize the world in more than one way as I follow the Light.