Infrared UFO Photography

The pioneer of infrared UFO photography Trevor James Constable began his ground-breaking work in the Mojave Desert of Southern California in the late 1950s, where along with his good friend Dr. James Woods he  managed to capture the first known photographs of invisible UFOs, using a standard 35mm camera loaded with infrared sensitive film. After much experimentation Constable found that Kodak black and white high-speed infrared film gave the best results, although this had to be stored and handled in complete darkness, as even the slightest pin-prick of light could cause fogging and make it unusable. The Kodak high-speed film was used in combination with an 870nm infrared pass filter, although he would occasionally shoot with no filter, which also produced some equally impressive results. Constable discovered that the particular type of energy given off by some invisible UFOs would nullify the film's emulsions, rather than reacting with them as is the normal case, sometimes leaving a black void on the photograph where no reaction had taken place. A perfect example of this nullification can be seen in the  "UFO shower" photograph which is featured below.


When they first set off into the desert in pursuit of invisible UFOs, the main problem they faced was just how they would attract the UFOs to their location, but the answer to this was provided by accomplished occultist Franklin Thomas who suggested cyclical repetitions of the "Star Exercise," an esoteric procedure by which the whole body force is strongly energised. Performing the Star Exercise in a cyclical manner such as this results in a regular pattern of bio-energetic pulsations in the ether, and these pulsations, it was found, would eventually attract the various UFOs to the immediate area, where they could then be photographed. Trevor decided to act as the "bio-energetic" beacon and Dr. Woods the photographer, although Trevor would also have a camera loaded with infrared sensitive film at the ready, should anything be detected.


Constable's first capture in the infrared was not a craft as he had expected, but an amoeba-like invisible UFO, which he photographed on the morning of August 25th 1957 at his campsite in the Mojave desert. Whilst eating breakfast he suddenly became aware of a pulsation immediately overhead, and grabbing an already loaded Leica 35mm camera, he began taking a series of infrared  exposures, while describing to Dr. Woods how the pulsation was moving right above them. All in all Trevor managed to capture six successive images showing the invisible bio-form as it moved from overhead to positions that permitted inclusion of the desert terrain in the photographs. He continued using the Star Exercise as an attraction method right up until May 1968, when he then began using a Reich cloudbuster in its place to excite the atmosphere locally. Trevor James Constable carried on with his pioneering UFO photography for many years, before finally retiring from ufology in 1979 to concentrate on weather engineering. 

Trevor James Constable in a "UFO Shower." (Copyright 1958 Trevor James Constable) 

Infrared UFO pioneer Trevor James Constable surrounded by invisible spheroidal UFOs in the Mojave Desert at sunrise on April 16th 1958. This infrared photograph was taken by Dr. James Woods, using a standard 35mm camera loaded with Kodak high-speed infrared film. Trevor also took a photograph of the same scene, at the same time as Dr. Woods was photographing the "UFO shower," meaning that they both managed to objectify and capture the same group of invisible UFOs, using two different cameras, independently of each other. This infrared photograph is taken from Trevor James Constable's 1958 book They Live in The Sky, which has recently been re-released by The Book Tree. 

Visible light spectrum

The visible light spectrum with its two invisible ends - the infrared, and the ultraviolet. The infrared starts around 750nm and sits just before the red of our visible light spectrum. The higher frequency ultraviolet is situated just beyond the colour violet and goes from around 200nm - 400nm. Both infrared and ultraviolet radiation is invisible to normal human sight, but by using the right equipment you can take a glimpse into the hidden realm that borders our own physical world.

Infrared Film or Digital?


When I first made the decision to start my quest to photograph invisible UFOs, I really wasn't sure whether to use infrared film as Trevor James Constable had, or if I should perhaps try the digital approach. After weighing up all the options I eventually decided to go with the digital option, mainly because the high-speed infrared film favoured by Trevor had been discontinued by Kodak due to a drop in demand, and there didn't seem to be many other alternatives available to me at the time. Over the last few years however, infrared film has made a bit of  a comeback, especially with artists and landscape photographers, and one brand that is readily available is Rollei-IR400, which is a high-speed, high-contrast, black and white infrared film produced by AGFA. When used in combination with a simple 35mm film camera and an infrared pass filter, it becomes an effective tool for capturing invisible UFOs, and Constable's photographs are testament to this. In some cases such as the "amoeba" photograph, incredible detail was revealed, and physical marks resembling nucleoli and vacuoles are visible on the bio-form, and it is not clear if a digital camera would be able to capture these marks with such clarity.


Back in the 1950s when Trevor James Constable first began his photographic work in the Mojave Desert, he purchased his infrared film in 100 foot roles, which he would then spool into cassettes. Because the film was so sensitive to light and heat it had to be spooled, loaded and unloaded in complete darkness at all times, making it quite a time consuming task. Obviously you won't have to worry about this if you buy your infrared film in smaller quantities from a supplier, but you will need to think about getting your infrared photographs developed at some point. If you plan to take large amounts of photographs on a regular basis it may work out much cheaper to develop your own, rather than paying to have them sent off and developed by a laboratory. Even if you are using a Geiger counter to detect the presence of "invisibles" there is no guarantee that you will successfully capture them each time you take a photograph, as many will be moving at extreme speed, making it much harder to pinpoint their location accurately. Because of this, you may end up taking dozens and dozens of photographs without actually capturing anything, or the objects may still be some distance away at the time of taking the shot, so if you are using infrared film this could work out quite costly in the long run. This is where the digital option really comes into its own, saving on both time and money, and ultimately making the processing and reviewing of footage a quick and easy job, and something that can be done on a computer in the comfort of your own home.


If like me you decide to use a digital camera or camcorder to film "invisibles," you will first need to get your photographic equipment converted. There are three main options available to you, either an infrared conversion, an ultraviolet conversion, or a "full spectrum" (Infrared + Visible + Ultraviolet ) conversion. Because modern digital cameras and camcorders are so sensitive to infrared and ultraviolet, various filters such as anti-aliasing and infrared cut filters are used to block out this invisible light, making the subsequent images appear more natural and life-like. With infrared and ultraviolet conversions these filters are removed and then replaced with either an infrared or an ultraviolet pass filter, or in the case of a "full spectrum" conversion, a clear quartz optical window. Once you camera or camcorder is converted to "full spectrum," optical filters can then be used to block or pass the desired part of the spectrum.


MaxMax have been modifying cameras since 1997 and offer a safe and reliable service. They have an easy to navigate website full of helpful information, including a "frequently asked questions" section, to help you decide which conversion is for you. They have a great range of  infrared and ultraviolet pass filters available, and the transmission chart for their X-Nite range of infrared pass filters is featured below.

X-Nite infrared filter transmission rates. Copyright  

Shown above is the X-Nite range of infrared pass filters available from, a company based in the USA. There are a few other companies out there that supply filters such as Hoya and Schott, but as I have always used MaxMax to do my camcorder conversions I prefer to get my filters from them as well, especially as they have such a good range. The X-Nite range of filters are designed for use with cameras and camcorders which have been converted to full spectrum, (IR + Visible + UV) allowing you to pass or block infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light at many points within the electromagnetic spectrum. The x- axis of the graph shows the infrared transmission in nanometres, while the y-axis gives the percentage of infrared transmission. As can be seen from the diagram, the filters are available from 630nm right up to 1000nm, and they come in a range of different sizes, designed to fit most cameras and camcorders. 


The filters at the lower end of the infrared spectrum such as the 630, 665 and the 715nm, will also pass a small amount of visible light along with their infrared transmission, whereas the filters from 780nm up to 1000nm completely block the visible light spectrum, allowing only infrared radiation to pass. I have used both the X-Nite 715nm and X-Nite 780nm filters regularly in combination with my full spectrum camcorder, and all have proved effective for capturing invisible phenomena. I have found that filters over 780nm are really only effective when used on bright sunny days when there is a lot of natural light. It is all a matter of personal choice at the end of  the day, but I would suggest starting with a 715 or 720nm filter, as these are very effective in both daytime and night-time situations.

Fig: 1

Fig: 2

Fig: 3

Fig: 4

Figs: 1-4. These particular photographs are taken from my book Quest for the Invisibles, and they show just a few of the invisible UFOs I captured in the infrared during my first few years of work. Figs: 1 - 3 were taken using an infrared converted Canon G10, which has an internal 720nm infrared pass filter. Fig: 4 is taken from video footage captured using a full spectrum converted Sony Handycam, fitted with an X-Nite780nm infrared pass filter.