Monday, November 7, 2016

Next Eyes - Introduction

In the novel Second Anointing, the flirtatious and nearly incorrigible Tris tells the protagonist that he hasn’t opened his Next Eyes yet.  He asks her what she means, and she tells him:
“Everyone has a dozen or more pairs of eyes.  Most people go through life with only a couple pairs opening.  A baby gets her first pair when she realizes that she’s alive, when she sees her image in the mirror and knows it’s her.  We get the next pair when we realize everyone else has a pair of eyes, eyes that see a different world for each person.  But as the poet said, trust not too much to appearances.”

That's not snow on the trees around the mountain. It's summer and the brightness is because the photo was capture in infrared light. Don't rely on past expectations.

This blog is about developing next eyes that don’t trust first appearances. Seeing the world in a new light can now literally appear in your camera, if it has been modified to sense the full spectrum it's capable of imaging.

But even your own eyes can be trained to not only dream in infrared, but to envision the world in all colors, seen and unseen.  After all, eyes appear very differently in the infrared than they do to us in the mirror.

For example, blue eyes transmit infrared through the iris and the pupil and appear darker when imaged in the near infrared. On the other hand, dark brown eyes reflect red (brown) and infrared more brightly and appear bright blue, when using an infrared filter. 

At some point, I will discuss in a blog why this is so in the eyes—how eye pigments reflect, absorb and transmit different colors, seen and unseen. Suffice for now, it has to do with melanin reflectivity.

More interesting are bug eyes, some of which can naturally see more than a dozen colors and have polarizers in some eye segments to help them navigate.

This blog will also focus on the science of light interaction with matter and the phenomenology behind full spectrum and near infrared photography.  I will blog about plant physiology, sky radiance and the spectra of nature.  Other blogs will get into specific techniques useful for full spectrum and near infrared photography (FS/NIR), others on unique advantages of FS/NIR composition, and perhaps selfishly I will give narratives of my personal and soulful journeys when I explore the world through full spectrum photography. 

Our Next Eyes can open to see in a new light, figuratively and literally.

Why am I writing this blog? Hopefully I can contribute a unique perspective. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics/optics and biological-physics.  I began modifying digital cameras in late 2001, with the Canon G1 as the first, to sense full spectrum (near UV to Near IR).  Over the years I have modified, owned or purchased for my own purpose or my research job many dozen full spectrum cameras.  The US patent office has awarded me, or issued a notice of allowance to me ten patents.  A few of these are developed on the application and the filters used on modified digital cameras, spectral and polarization imaging.

After a few years exploring full spectrum photography with my own modified cameras, I presented my first of several art showings on my FS/NIR photos, which have won national and international awards, have been/are sold in art galleries, represented in book chapters, highlighted in Shutterbug magazine and other publications.

From 2012-2016 I wrote a popular blog on religion, philosophy and politics that was the subject of articles in Newsweek’s Daily Beast, The New York Times, the UK Daily Mail, the Huffington Post, and many other news outlets. I have retired that blog and today begin another in opening Next Eyes through science, art and soulful exploration.


  1. You're incredibly talented and your photography, an art form all its own. I'm glad to see that you're writing again and I look forward to what lies ahead.

  2. Fantastic start, David! I look forward to you renewing your lessons on techniques in infrared.

  3. This sounds awesome! Looking forward to any posts about how to do this type of photograpy myself ;)

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I can't wait to read your future posts. My Nikon has been neglected for a few years, but reading this has re-sparked my interest for it.

  5. nice job retooling, this is cool.

  6. I'm excited to see your progress and the interesting diversions of your journey, David. Your photography and the themes explored are wonderfully fascinating. You have an impressive sense of composition and drama.

  7. Great start. Interesting perspectives. Look forward to more.

  8. The way our eyes perceive light is so mysterious. Sometimes it seems like we may all see something different in the same thing. Thanks for a new illumination.

  9. Thanks for the amazing intro. Glad to see you back.