Destin is known for the colors in its scenery: the white sand, emerald water and blue skies. One local photographer is capturing those world-famous landscapes in a completely different light.
Jeremy Brownfield has found a unique niche in a town filled to the brim with established photography professionals. He captures images outside of the spectrum of light visible to the human eye, in a range known as "near infrared." His creations, which he offers under the business name Far Destiny Photo, provide a whole new look at the Gulf Coast that is impossible to see without special equipment.
Near infrared is not the thermal imaging many think of when they hear infrared. Near-infrared light includes wavelengths between 800 and 2,500 nanometers. The visible spectrum to the human eye is between about 340 and 740 nanometers. The photos, once processed, often show images with intense contrast, deep blues, bright whites and intensely beautiful skies.
"Normally, I'm not terribly interested in landscapes. I was never interested in doing beautiful scenery stuff. That's kind of a saturated market," Brownfield told The Log.
Brownfield, a Fort Walton Beach native and U.S. Air Force veteran, found his love of photography when he was studying media and communications arts at Macomb Community College in Clinton, Mich., and serving in the Air National Guard as a public affairs photographer.
In that role, he wasn't allowed to alter photos in any way.
"It's about truth over pretty pictures in that position," Brownfield said.
Once Brownfield completed his associate degree in Michigan, he moved to Pensacola to study graphic design at the University of West Florida, before settling down in Destin.
"I took as many drawing and painting classes as I did graphic design," Brownfield said. "You would think I was a fine arts major."
During his arts classes, which concluded when he earned his bachelorís degree in May, Brownfield lost interest in taking photos as mere captures of what the human eye can see.
"Whenever you're dealing in false color infrared, I don't even call them 'shots' anymore," Brownfield said. "It's stepping into a world where photos are the canvases for your art. They are just the starting point."
To create those canvases, he uses a specially-modified Canon 60D camera that only picks up near-infrared light. Whereas most cameras block infrared light and pick up only visible-spectrum light, Brownfield sent his to workers at lifepixel.com, who removed the infrared filter and replaced it with one that blocks the visible spectrum.
After taking the photos, the artistic side of Brownfield's work really begins. He uses software called Adobe Camera Raw to bring out and manipulate colors and contrast in the photos. The finished products come out looking like Destin in an alternate dimension.
"It looks like an alien world," Brownfield said. "Depending on what I create in post processing, I may create something that doesn't even look like it's on planet Earth, but you recognize the area."
The name Far Destiny Photo came from a 3-minute brainstorm during which Brownfield wrote all of his ideas for names on a piece of paper. He said "far" represents both the near-infrared light that comes from the beyond the visible spectrum and the feel of seeing a distant planet when looking at the photos.
Anyone interested in checking out Brownfield's latest photography can see it at www.facebook.com/fardestinyphoto or at fardestiny.com. Brownfield said he hopes to soon program the site so visitors can order prints by simply clicking on that photo and selecting what they want from a pull-down menu.
Brownfield said his prints will appeal to locals and tourists alike. He hopes to also work with local condominiums and hotels to provide his beyond-the-ordinary art for their walls.