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From the Archives: 'Point Roberts View' long exposure photograph using Polaroid Type 55 PN film!

Hello everyone,

Today, I'd like to share an image from my archives.

I photographed this image back in 2007, using my Toyo 4"x5" and Polaroid Type 55 PN film.

This is a 'full-frame' scan of the original negative:

Point Roberts (WA) was my 'playground' when I got serious about improving my long exposure photography skills. I have lost count of how many times I visited over the years.  

Last week, I discovered 2 unopened boxes of Polaroid Type 55 sitting in storage at my studio. This used to be absolute favorite (instant) film as it gave you not only an instant print but a useable negative at the same time. I felt really blessed finding those 2 boxes (it made my day actually), and ever since I have been thinking about a 'worthy' project to use it for. So I revisited some of my old images shot on this film stock, and came across this long exposure image posted here.

Needless to say, I am really excited to be shooting these 2 boxes sometime very soon. Unlike 'regular' film, which can be frozen and kept for many years, this film does not do well with extended storage (the chemistry inside of it dries up). 

In a world of digital 'instant gratification', using his instant film fits right in. You will be able to have quality 4" x 5" negatives ready for scanning within minutes of the original exposure. And the positive image, although pretty low quality, serves well as an instant indicator to confirm your composition and technical qualities such as exposure, sharpness, etc...Just don't rely too much on it -))

I am really taken with the 'organicness' of this film as well. The sprocket holes are real, and I embrace the occasional imperfection.

Stay tuned for more work using this film!


Fine-Art Minimalist and Winter Photography Workshop in Calgary - March 8 + 9

Hello everyone,

I am stoked to be teaching an exclusive 'Fine-Art Minimalist and Winter Photography' Workshop with my good friend Oliver Du Tre.

Images above copyright Olivier Du Tre

Coming up on March 8 + 9 in Calgary, this will be a very unique workshop offering you a chance to create some rare and extraordinary images!

We'll teach you how to make stunning black and white images in winter snow using a minimalist mindset for composition and creative camera techniques such as long-exposures.

The winter landscapes in the Calgary area are very unique and this workshop will have you out shooting at various locations. Capture rare images that only this landscape can deliver!

As this is a winter workshop, you have got to be prepared for temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius (equals -40 Fahrenheit) with the wind chill. In the classroom, we will be addressing 'safety first' and 'technical (equipment)' topics such as:

  • What to wear
  • What not to do (like walking right into a scene and afterwards photographing your own footprints)
  • What can go wrong
  • Planning your shooting day
  • (How to) winterize you and your vehicle (what to bring, food, etc)

Oliver Du Tre will be talking about how weather can simplify snow scenes. He'll address how he photographs in fog and snow, falling snow, etc.

Oliver brings a wealth of knowledge of the local area, and his photographic style and techniques complement Marc's perfectly.

To read more information about this workshop, and to register, please visit the following link:



Long Exposure Photography Techniques Video Released!

Fine-Art Long Exposure Photography Techniques -
A Video Workshop for beginning to intermediate photographers!

This video is released and available now. When you purchase it, a download link will be emailed to you within 48 hours. A physical DVD will be available in March (a small shipping charge will apply)

Long Exposure Video Tutorials:

Once you complete your payment, a download link for the 'Long Exposure Photography Techniques' video will be emailed to you within 48 hours. Please note that the release date for the 'Long Exposure Post Processing Techniques video is March 15th - You will receive a download link as soon as that video is released. Thank you!

I am incredibly excited to release my new 'workshop in a DVD' tutorial on Fine-Art Long Exposure Photography.

After almost 3 years of shooting, carrying a small (and sometimes very large) video camera with me around the world, I am feeling confident that now is time to tell you my story.

The first video 'Fine-Art Long Exposure Photography Techniques' is released now and available for immediate purchase.

A second video entitled 'Fine-Art Long Exposure Post Production Techniques' will be released on March 15th. The special ddiscounted price of only $75 for this video will be available until March 15th (price on March 16th will be $99).

To read more information about both video tutorials please click this link here, or click on the "LE Video Tutorial" Link above in the navigation bar!

Thank you all again for giving me such great support since announcing this video release. I am really excited to see it become reality now!


From RAW to FINAL: Long Exposure Photography with a Leica S2 

Hello everyone,

This past week, I have been working one-on-one with a photographer who is looking to get into long exposure photography in a very serious way.

Yesterday, we took out his Leica S2 to see how well it would perform for long exposure photography.

Below you can see the first image I had a chance to process:

Image Details: Leica S2 with 35mm Lens. Exposure was 60 seconds with 16 stops of ND filtration.

There are many reviews of the Leica S2 around on the web, including this one on Luminous Landscape, but I haven't seen many people writing about how well this camera does for long exposures.

So here is a quick 'From RAW to FINAL' report on my first impressions. This coming week, I am hoping to be able and shoot more long exposures with this unique camera.

Working with the Leica S2:

As soon as you hold the camera, you cannot help but be impressed with the quality feel and very minimalist set of controls and buttons. Everything that needs to be there is within easy reach, without any clutter. I wonder why Canon, Nikon, Sony etc cannot make a camera that is this easy to use and has such a logical layout of buttons and controls. All of this 'simplicity' comes with a price of course (so less really is more $$ in this case).

There are a few disappointments, like with any camera system. Trying to read the top OLED display while shooting outdoors in bright sunlight is virtually impossible. And it does take some time to navigate through the menus and camera controls. It took me a few minutes to find the self-timer and mirror-up function, and without a cable release, I had to do some test shots until I was able to use the 'Bulb' mode and control the shutter to achieve exposure times from 8 to 128 seconds (the maximum recommended exposure time).

In the end, I was able to use the 'Bulb' mode similar to a 'T' mode, where you're able to start the exposure by pressing the shutter button once, and then pressing it again to stop the exposure.

Maximum exposure time is 2 minutes: 

Without the optional cable release, the camera is 'limited' to 128 seconds exposure time. This time is also the longest exposure time Leica recommends. In-camera noise reduction is NOT optional, but this is the first camera that shows you a 'preview' of the image (for 2 seconds or so) before the noise reduction begins. This is very handy, as you could use this to quickly identify any 'mishaps' without having to wait additional time until the in-camera noise reduction has finished working.

Looking at the image results, there certainly is some noise that I can see in the 2 minute exposures (but it is still rather well controlled). Elsewhere on the web, people have been reporting to 'get-away' with exposures up to 4 minutes, and I would expect noise levels to become 'unacceptable' if you go much beyond that time.

Some people may find this limiting, but I can think of many examples where even a 2 minute exposure time is more than sufficient.

If you take the image posted above as an example, going any longer than 60 seconds resulted in the clouds blurring so much that the sky looked a lot less dramatic. In this case, I wanted to capture a dramatic sky in front of the silhouette of the bridge, so 1 minute was perfect as it recorded 'enough' movement in the clouds without washing out too much details.

From RAW to FINAL:

So let's look at a 'step-by-step;' of how I created the image above.

I used 16 stops of ND to arrive at the 60 second exposure time.

In Adobe Camera RAW, I adjusted the exposure and used the 'lens correction' functionality to correct the vertical perspective on the bridge (the camera was tilted upward for the capture).

I also cropped the image to 2:1 aspect ratio.

You can see that in this particular case, the adjustments made in RAW do make a significant difference.

Next, I took the image into Photoshop CC, and added several adjustments and layers.

Still, the adjustments are very simple and the entire 'workflow' from start to finish took less than 20 minutes.

Obviously, some more refinements could be applied, but I wanted to show you that a lot can be accomplished without having to sit in front of Photoshop for hours at a time. Yes, we can spend more time shooting outside!!

Below, you can see a screenshot of my 'final' Photoshop file:

I used Silver Efex to make the initial black and white conversion. I added a lot of contrast, and also some heavy grain in an effort to create a moody image.

After working in Silver Efex, I added 3 more layers in Photoshop:

  • Sky Vignette
  • Selective Brightness for the water (using a curve adjustment layer with a mask)
  • Burn and Dodge layer (50% grey layer using 'Soft Light' blend mode)

Most of these layers are used to fine-tune the adjustments that were started in Silver Efex. Photoshop simply offers much more control, and I also like to use 'layers' rather than 'control point' to make selective adjustments to just one (or a few) selected areas of an image.

And there you have it. A first, for me, long exposure using a Leica S2.

More tk...


New Phase One IQ 250 - First Digital Back with a CMOS Sensor!

Hello everyone,

The news hit last Friday morning: After Hasselblad made a similar announcement earlier in the week (albeit with no specific details), Phase One announced the IQ 250. The first digital back with CMOS sensor.

That morning I also got an email from my dealer in Toronto, B3K Digital, saying that they would do their best to get me one for testing as soon as possible.

When I was reading over the specs, I was obvioulsy drawn to this new back's long exposure capabilities. In contrast to the IQ 260, the IQ 250 will not require a special long exposure mode and the ISO will stay at 100 as well.

Note though that dark frame noise reduction is still required and not optional (so you got to be patient).

It is this long exposure capability that I am most eager to test.

CMOS sensors have been used in nearly all high-end DSLR's of the last 2 years, and seeing this technology 'arrive' in digital backs is very exciting. I think Phase One deserves much credit for bringing this new technology to their platform.

With the CMOS sensor comes the ability to offer, for the first time, an expanded ISO range up to 6400 (without sensor + mode of earlier backs). Being a landscape and architectural photographer, an increased ISO range is much less important to me (compared to if I was an event / wedding photographer).

What is important to me, however, is the ability to use technical cameras with the IQ 250, such as my Cambo WDS, and I'll be waiting for test results (or hopefully will be able to do my own testing once I receive a unit) to confirm whether the micro lenses on this back result in less than desirable results.

When I look at forums discussing this new back, such as this thread on getdpi, a lot of people seem to have a lot of negative feelings about this new back. As mentioned above, I do belief that Phase One deserves much praise for bringing us this new technology. Yes it may not be perfect yet, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but this is a very important step in the evolution of medium format backs.

To me, I have to be working with a camera and test it thoroughly, before I know if it is for me. There is no camera out there today that can handle every shooting situation, so what I do is to define a set of priorities. On top of that list is image quality (including 'elasticity' of the file in post production), followed by long exposure capability, and ability to be used with technical cameras.

Once I got an IQ 250 in my hands, I will be reporting on all of these capabilities.

More tk...



The Oregon Coast Roadtrip with a Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic

Hello everyone,

just before the year 2013 was over, I packed up the Van and my family went on a road trip down to the Oregon Coast.

In my bag was a Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic, provided by my friends of B3K Digital in Toronto. After shooting with this very unique camera in Toronto for just 2 days, I was waiting to get another chance to work with it some more.

Oregon has an amazing coastline. I have done several trips down there over the years, and never been disappointed by the photographic opportunities.

Here is the first image I've had a chance to work on and finish. Photographed just south of Cannon Beach, from the side of the road on a windy day. 

Image Details: Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic on a Cambo WDS with 43mm lens. Exposure time was 20 seconds.

While driving along the coast, it is nearly impossible not to notice the many 'sea-stacks', tall rocks sticking out of the surf fairly close to the beach. The further south you travel, the more of them you'll see.

With this image, given that it was a stormy and windy day, I wanted to make sure to capture the movement in the waves. An exposure time of 20 seconds gave me some blur, without loosing too much details. The high winds moved the clouds by really fast, so I was able to pick up lots of motion there.

The IQ 260 Achromatic shoots native black and white, and while processing the image I was blown away by the subtle details and shades of grey I was able to pick up in the blurred water as well as in the sky. Those of you who follow my work know how much I like strong contrast, and the richness in original tonality here allowed me to increase contrast without the loss of mid tone and highlight details. It was a joy to edit and work on this file.

As I am looking to develop my photography further in 2014 (and beyond) I have the feeling that this image may have started a 'trend' towards more minimalism in my compositions. As mentioned above, I have travelled those roads before, but was not ready to take a picture like this until now. I am excited to see what road this may take me on...

Please stay tuned for more images from this trip.

More tk...


Why I Love Long Exposure Photography...


Pure Black and White - My Photography featured on the Phase One Website!

Hello everyone,

I am happy to announce that my photography is now featured on the Phase One Website.

On a recent trip to Toronto I was given a Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic for a weekend.

Obviously, as a black and white photographer, I was really excited to give this unique camera a try. With a workshop to teach my agenda was pretty full already, but I managed to shoot a small series of architectural images which you can view on the Phase One website now. There you can also read about some of my impressions and experience using this unique camera. Let's just say I liked it so much that I knew I wanted to have more time to work with it...

So I was able to do another shoot with it this past week. This time, I took the IQ 260 Achromatic around Vancouver, and managed to escape for a quick shooting trip down to the Oregon Coast as well.

I am working on a very detailed report about my experiences, things I liked, disliked and learned along the way. Having had the camera for 10 days this time around, I feel that I understand it much more now then after just 2 days during that initial weekend. 

Please feel free to leave me any comments and/or questions below (in the comment section). And please stay tuned for the full report which will be posted to my blog within the next week.

For now, here is the first image from my trip down to Oregon. This was photographed in Astoria.

Image details: Cambo WDS Camera with 43mm Lens. Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic Digital back. Exposure: 90 seconds at F8.

I have visited Astoria many times before, it's a great location for sea-scape long exposures. I have enjoyed photographing the old industrial remains that are close to shore in shallow water.

I had noticed the container ships and tankers further out in the bay before, but never attempted to photograph them until a few days ago. 

I only had a wide-angle lens, so had to crop to get to the composition above. But having 60 megapixels to start sure helps maintain image quality, even when it's necessary to crop in a bit -:)

It was rainy all day, with a sky that lacked any features and definition to the naked eye. Being able to 'pull out' details shown above blew me away and speaks to the quality of the camera and capture. The sky looked completely washed out and pale. Bottom line is that I feel like I was able to walk away with an image that captured the mood and feeling of that grey and rainy day. 

Stay tuned for my full report and more images from the trip!


Exhibition Opening Friday, November 8th!

Hello everyone,

I am excited to share with you that my upcoming exhibition 'Lifelines' will open Friday, November 8th, at 7pm at PhotoHaus Gallery in Vancouver.

And I am even more excited to be exhibiting alongside my good friend and mentor, Greg Gorman. It is an honour to be sharing the gallery space with a true legendary photographer.

This exhibition is part of Capture Photography Festival, currently taking place in Vancouver.

"For me a photograph is most successful when it doesn’t answer all the questions," says Gorman, "and it leaves something to the imagination."

For over three decades, Greg Gorman has continued to master the art of photography. From personality portraits and advertising campaigns to magazine layouts and fine art work, Greg has developed and showcased a discriminating and unique style in his profession.

I am humbled to be able to hang my photography next to his. Together, we will be showing some 40 photographs raging is size up to 5 feet. All images in this exhibition will be black and white.

In preparing for this exhibition, I made some of the biggest prints of my career. It is very rewarding seeing your work at the large scale of 5 feet. A lot of hard work has gone into each piece.

I'll be posting a report of how the Opening went so please stay tuned.

If you're in Vancouver, or within driving distance, I hope to see you come out on Friday. Both Greg and I will be there and look forward to seeing you!

More tk..


Long Exposure Photography with the Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic Digital Back

Hello everyone,

I recently had the rare opportunity to work with a dedicated black and white camera solution. When visiting Toronto, my friends of B3K Digital let me work with a Phase One IQ 260 Achromatic Digital Back.

This is a 60 megapixel digital back that is dedicated to black and white photography only. The IQ 260 Achromatic offers pure black and white images; no filters or interpolation applied. As there is no IR cut-off filter mounted on the sensor, there are some very exciting opportunities to create very distinct imagery using lens-mounted filters.

I had 2 days to work with this digital back, and here's a preview of one of the images from my shoot in downtown Toronto:

This image is a 61 second exposure. I shot the image above using my Cambo WDS with 35mm lens. To get this perspective and to keep the architectural lines straight, a very generous amount of rise (upward lens shift) was applied. It's a square crop from the original 4:3 aspect ratio RAW image shown above on the rear screen of the IQ 260 Achromatic.

As you can see when comparing both images, the RAW file already looks very much like the final edited version shown above. In fact, this was one of the things that impressed me the most about this digital back. Sure it's got sharpness and incredible detail, but the fact that it is black and white direct capture makes this the first digital camera where I can see my vision come to life in camera (without having to 'previsualize' what I will be doing in Photoshop later).

You can use color filters like you would with traditional film photography and you can see the effect right away. You are not being distracted by color. This is a very dedicated, specific tool but that's were its beauty lies. When shooting film, you make the decision to shoot in black and white even before you take your first image (by loading black and white film). Same when using this back. I loved the fact that color wasn't an option, as I think we have way too many choices these days. It's nice and refreshing to keep things this simple once again. The only negative I could see in this is the steep price tag. As they say 'Things are simple at the top'. 

I will be posting a longer report about using this digital back very soon - please stay tuned for that.

More tk...