Italian photographer Paolo Pettigiani has been experimenting with capturing the infrared spectrum of light for several years, most notably turning New York’s Central Park into a psychedelic wonderland. His latest work explores two fascinating infrared contrasts: the imposing concrete jungle of Dubai and the amazing tropics of the Maldives.

Pettigiani’s work is primarily created using full-spectrum converted cameras. While the Dubai photographs used a converted Nikon D750, the Maldives shots were taken using a converted DJI Mavic Pro 2.

The Maldives Series

“Those conversions involve removing the lowpass filter in the camera and replacing it with a clear glass,” Pettigiani explains to New Atlas. “This enables the full sensitivity of the camera’s sensor, making it sensitive to UV, visible, and IR light. This allows you to pick and choose which parts of the spectrum your camera captures depending on which screw-in filter you use in front of your lens.”

Both sets of images were created using a 590 nanometer filter, with only mild editing work done in Photoshop to slightly adjust the colors. The technique essentially takes organic elements containing chlorophyll, and captures the infrared light they reflect, turning an invisible wavelength into a visible otherworldly red hue.

Pockets of red suggest more greenery in Dubai than one would have expected

The Dubai photographs compellingly highlight an impressive amount of greenery in a city filled with concrete and glass structures. Pettigiani’s Maldives images, meanwhile, offer a great contrast to the city shots. Celebrating aerial photography, the images offer a unique perspective on classical tropical landscapes, contrasting the gorgeous blue ocean and white sands with the dense patches of surreal red trees and jungle.

The Burj Khalifa from the desert

Take a look through our gallery at more of Pettigiani’s amazing city and coast infrared photographs.

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