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!
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!
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.
This list is by no means complete, but it should serve as a nice starting point for you to browse all the amazing and inspirational work that is on display.
I hope I haven't forgotten anyone. If I did, please don't take it personal -:)
Entry Title: " Sundial Bridge"
Name: Sharon Tenenbaum, Canada
Category: Professional, Bridges
I have known Sharon for several years. As a fellow Vancouverite, we have taught a few workshops together (and more are planned!). After winning 1st place for her photography of Bridges at the IPA 2011, she has done it yet again this year! Congratulation on winning 1st place, Sharon! If you haven't seen her work, make sure to check out her website!
Entry Title: " Like A Harp's Strings - Encore"
Name: Julia Anna Gospodarou, Greece
Category: Professional, Bridges
Julia wins 3rd prize in the same category! I met Julia in Berlin at the GPlus Euro Photowalk. We both did short presentations just before the actual 'photowalk' began. Ever since that first meeting, I have been following her work, and she never ceases to inspire! In addition to 3rd place, Julia wins numerous honourable mention awards as well. Go and check out her work!
Entry Title: " City Centre"
Name: Frank Meyl, United States
Category: Professional, Cityscapes
Frank wins 2nd place in the Cityscapes category. His compositions look similar to what I have seen from many long exposure architecture photographers, but what sets Frank apart is his bold use of color and light. A very unique series, well seen and photographed, and impeccably presented.
Entry Title: " Strong"
Name: Kees Smans, Netherlands
Category: Non-Professional, Bridges
I met Kees when I was teaching a workshop in Amsterdam (together with Joel Tjintjelaar). Less than a year later, Kees came out again to a workshop held in Domburg, and was a great help once again working with the students. I am really happy to see him win this award - In addition to always having a smile on his face, Kees is a 'serious' photographer doing some great long exposure work.
Entry Title: " The Matrix"
Name: Akira TAKAUE, Japan
Category: Non-Professional, Architecture
A must see! This series is, in my humble opinion, one of the most striking imagery to be awarded this year. I rarely have seen long exposures combined with such a strong style and recognition for pattern, perspective and texture. Very clever inclusion of color, too.
Entry Title: " Stalin's Architectural Legacy"
Name: Leslie Hossack, Canada
Category: Non-Professional, Historic
I met Leslie in Vancouver, when she phoned me up to discuss whether she would be a good fit to take a workshop with Ralph Gibson I was organizing. I asked her to come over and she showed me her portfolio. I was so blown away by the quality of her work - it made my day. Leslie signed up for the workshop and it turns out that Ralph liked her work as well - so much so that he acquired her portfolio. Something I have never seen Ralph do and I think this is another testament to the quality of Leslie's work. Having seen her prints, I know Leslie is not just a talented photographer, but also an expert printer with incredible attention to detail. I am proud to say that we kept up our friendship and I look forward to her call every time she comes to visit Vancouver. Congratulations for this well deserved award!
Entry Title: " Classic Cars in Classic B&W Fine Art"
Name: Joel Tjintjelaar, Netherlands
Category: Professional, Automotive
I was really impressed to see Joel's classic car photographs. After winning numerous awards at previous IPA's, this is a different, new, subject matter. Yet Joel manages to photograph it with the same unique and dedicated style that made his fine-art architecture photographs so famous. A feast for the eyes! After teaching workshops together in Amsterdam, Domburg and New York, I hope to be working with Joel again in 2014 and beyond!
Entry Title: " Departure"
Name: Jens Kristian Balle, Canada
Category: Professional, Self-Promotion
Jens is one of my former students, and I am so impressed by what he has accomplished in such a short time. His work has won numerous awards this year, and when you look at his portfolio it's not hard to agree that Jens will continue to rise to teh top of his profession. Jens is talented, dedicated, hard-working and is noty afraid to try new things and concepts. Browse his website to find a portfolio on long exposure work that has a very strong style and unique feel. Well done Jens - I cannot wait to see what's next for you!
Entry Title: " Building A Mystery"
Name: John Kosmopoulos, Canada
Category: Non-Professional, Buildings
I met John in Berlin at the same event I met Julia Anna Gospodarou. We hit it off right away, and in the short span of less than 18 months I saw John again at events in New York and San Francisco. Next week, I will be co-teaching a fine-art architecture workshop in Toronto with John (and I am really looking forward to it and many more events). John is incredibly excited about photography, and his upbeat and fun personality makes him a joy to have around! Congratulations John to this well-deserved award! See you in Toronto in afew days!
Entry Title: " Axis Mundi - Trees of Life"
Name: Joanne Scherf, United States
Category: Professional, Landscape
Joanne has taken 2 online courses with me in the past year. From the beginning I could tell how dedicated and eager to learn she really was. Joanne has worked hard, and it shows in her photography. It was a pleasure to have her in my course, and I couldn't be more happy for her to win these awards. One of the best and most rewarding parts of teaching is knowing that you can make a difference - Joanne sets a shining example of what can be accomplished with the right attitude and desire! Congratulations!
Entry Title: " Lençóis Maranhenses"
Name: David Burdeny, Canada
Category: Professional, Landscape
A fellow Vancouverite, I have been following David work for nearly 10 years. I first 'discovered' him when he was shooting long exposure sea-scapes and over the years I have seen his work evolve and develop. There are not many photographers I can think of who manage to grow their style and master such as great variety of subject matter as well as David does. Do yourself a favour and check out his website - i am sure you will be impressed!
I could go on and on with this list. But after almost 3 hours writing this blog I am going to stop. For now.
Please go and browse the amazing line-up of winners. There is something for every taste, in a large variety of subject matters.
Thank you for reading (if you made it his far).
after a long break, I am finally back at the keyboard and this blog.
It has been a busy summer, filled with photography and much needed great and relaxing times with the family. I travelled to Europe and across Canada, and now I am back in Vancouver for just a little longer before heading back out on the road.
The image I'd like to share today was photographed in June, here in Vancouver.
I was teaching an advanced long exposure photography workshop (together with Sharon Tennebaum and Grant Murray), and one of the students had a very unique camera that he let me use to take this image.
Image Details: Cambo Wide RS with 23mm Rodenstock lens. Exposure was 10 seconds at F22. ISO 35. Leaf Credo 80 megapixel full spectrum digital back. 20 stops of ND filtration.
We took the workshop to one of my favorite locations to photograph the famous Lions Gate Bridge here in Vancouver. We were very lucky with the weather that day, and the tide was out far enough that we could use the numerous tide pools to enhance our compositions. The reflections in the foreground really make this image sing (in my humble opinion).
Here is a quick shot behind-the-scenes showing our camera(s) setup:
I used a Cambo Wide RS camera with an ultra-wide 23mm Rodenstock lens for this. Combined with the Credo 80 megapixel digital back the field of view is much wider compared to 35mm format. With a lens as wide as this, movements are very limited but I did manage to apply approx. 5 millimeters of upward shift to correct for the tall bridge structure. The very wide-angle view also allowed me to crop the final image to a square while maintaining lots of negative space and expanse.
Below you can see the original RAW file:
When I saw this image for the first time, I remember being utterly surprised. I had never worked with a full spectrum digital camera, so wasn't used to seeing this strong of a color cast. Turns out, this is actually a very normal 'look' for a full spectrum image.
Starting with this, the first step in my workflow was to fine-tune the white balance, and with it the overall color balance in this image. I used Capture One software for this task, which works much better compared to Adobe Camera RAW.
One thing I should mention is that you can clearly see how much I pushed the limits of this lens and its image circle. With 5mm of rise (aka upward shift) applied, the black corners on the top right and left edge of the image clearly show you the limits of the image circle of this lens. This kind of vignetting cannot be corrected - the lens simply cannot 'see' any further. The lens rise did allow me to keep the bridge relatively straight though, and I was able to fine-tune my results further by using perspective correction in Capture One Software.
The next step involved cropping, this is where I decided on a square crop for the final composition.
Below are 2 alternate crops, both of which are in my favorite 2:1 panoramic aspect ratio. Please note that those images are NOT completely finished, they are just 'working files' I made to evaluate composition and aspect ration only (not tonality and final look and feel):
Although I did like the added expanse and negative space in both of these panoramic compositions, I felt strongly about choosing the square crop for the final image. It's been a while that I published a square image, so it may have been time to re-visit old habits :-)
To continue my workflow, I opened the image in Adobe Photoshop CS6 for further processing.
As you can see, it did not take many adjustments to arrive at the final look. One thing I do want to point out is that I used 2 Silver Efex black and white adjustment layers (something I don't often do).
Because if it's full spectrum quality, using color channels was a very effective way to process this image into a black and white. The first time I used Silver Efex, I worked the red channel to give the image a strong infrared look (white foliage). I was able to not only get this effect in the trees of Stanley Park across the water, but also in the algae in the foreground. Highlighting those in the foreground really gave the image a good and strong infrared feeling and balanced the tonality nicely.
You can see the white foilage and overall layers and adjustments in this 100% crop in Photoshop:
The second Silver Efex Layer was created for the sky and its tonality and contrast specifically. I used a mask to prevent it from changing the foreground and the foliage.
As I almost always do, I finished this image by using a Burn and Dodge layer that I placed on top of the layer stack. This allowed for further fine-tuning of tonality and contrast in specific areas of the composition.
So, there you have it. One of my first digital infrared images. If only the camera wouldn't be $50K +, it'll likely take me some time to get my hands on one of these again.
As always, please leave your questions and comments below. Please also let me know if there is any interest for me to do a short video about this image and how I processed it. Just leave me a comment.
I am extremely excited and honoured that my photography has won 5 awards at the 2013 PX3 - Prix De La Photographie Paris.
PX3 is one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world, and I encourage you to check out all the winning galleries - you're sure to find many hours of photographic inspiration.
My photography received 4 honourable mentions, and my most recent fine-art long exposure series entitled 'The Lighthouse Series' won 3rd Prize in the Fine Art - Landscape category.
This makes my 'Lighthouse Series' the second series of long exposure photographs that wins awards at international competitions (the first being my 'Canadian Grain Elevator Series which won awards at PX3 2012 and IPA 2011).
Below you can see my winning series images, or click this link to visit the PX3 web page directly:
In addition to my lighthouse series, my images 'Icelandic Rock' and 'Brigus' received honourable mentions.
Looking over the winners galleries, I noticed that very few long exposure photographs received awards this year.
Below I would like to give you some links to some of my favorite photographs by other awards recipients.
This list is by no means complete, but it should serve as a nice starting point for you to browse all the amazing and inspirational work that is on display:
- Entry Title: " American Deindustrialization", by Joseph Romeo
This is a series of long exposure images illustrating the sad decline of industry in the American Rust Belt.
- Entry Title: " Icelandic series", by Massimo Margagnoni
This is a series of images from Iceland, which was one of my favorite trips of all time. Well worth taking a look at.
- Entry Title: " IMPERIAL POMP", by Frank Herfort
I discovered Frank's work earlier this year, and it comes as no surprise to me that he has received several awards for it. I would love to visi some of the sights depicted in Frank's photographs...
- Entry Title: " Ode To Black", by Julia Anna Gospodarou
I met Julia at the Berlin Long Exposure Photowalk in 2012, where we were both instructors as well as eager participants. In addition to being a huge inspiration, she is one of the nicest (and smartest) people you'll ever meet! I am very happy to see Julia win an honourable mention for her series, and encourage you all to check out her website where much more of her photography is on display.
- Entry Title: " Phoenix", by Martina+ Reem
Martina and Reem are previous students of mine, so seeing them receive an honourable mention for their series 'Phoenix' feels very, very special to me. A huge congratulations is in order! Yes I did teach them long exposure photography but it was very obvious that their true love and calling was in fashion photography. This goes to show that you can achieve your dreams if you're wiling to work hard for it!
- Entry Title: " A Threatened Legacy: Epilogue", by Jeff Gaydash
Last, but not least, I am delighted to see Jeff win 2nd Prize in the Fine-Art Architecture category. Very well deserved! After even a very short glimpse you will be able to tell how much Jeff is a true master of his craft. Composition, theme, and especially the virtually never-ending tonality and incredible detail in his photographs are simply stunning. I am looking forward to finally be meeting Jeff at a workshop in Chicago later this year. Check out his website and you'll see that Jeff is not only an acclaimed photographer but also an incredibly capable fine-art printer as well.
Enjoy looking over all these images!
Many regards from Spain,
here's another post in my series: From RAW to Final, where I show you how I take an image all the way from RAW to its finished, final, look.
Today, I would like to share an image I took last week as I was traveling and photographing in the Canadian Prairies. This image, entitled "Prairie Train Cars' was photographed near Calgary, Alberta.
Image Details: Cambo WDS camera with 35mm Lens. Phase One Digital Back. Panorama from 2 images, 300 and 538 second exposure time. Merged in Autopano Pro.
I was on a 5 day trip, starting and ending in Calgary. We spend between 12 - 15 hours each day travelling and photographing the Prairie landscape and communities such as Lethbridge, Oyen, Drumheller etc...
The focus of this photography tour was to discover, and photograph, the wooden grain elevators and grainaries dotting the landscape.
We found these train cars, apparently parked in this location for undetermined amounts of time, near the grain elevator of Herronton. When we arrived, our attention shifted away from the grain elevator (we also photographed it, of course).
The clouds and weather conditions were simply amazing, I setup my Cambo WDS camera so as to take 2 images that I planned to merge to a panorama.
Using panoramic images, not only do I get images with higher resolution, but I also get a wider angle of view without having to buy a wider angle lens. On my Cambo camera, the 35mm lens I was using is very wide on its own already, but merging 2 images gave me an even wider perspective. While working on my composition, I wanted to make sure to place the 'Canada' train car close to the middle so that it would serve as the focal point.
The wideangle perspective allowed me to include generous amounts of sky and negative space around the train cars. The foreground was simple gras, which also helped draw the viewers eye into the scene.
STEP 1: So let's get started and first take a look at my 2 RAW files:
Note that I have converted the original RAW files to DNG format. This allows my panoramic program of choice, Autopano Pro, to read my RAW files coming from my Phase One Digital Back. If you're shooting with a DSLR you won't need this step as Autopano can read most RAW file format from major manufacturers.
Also note that I made a 'mistake' as I did not use the same exposure time for both images. Because if this, I will run into some merging troubles later on, and you'll see how I addressed it. In a perfect world, you want to make sure you'll use the same exposure time for all images you plan to merge into a panorama.
STEP 2: Merge images into a panorama using Autopano Pro Software:
In the image above, you can see that cropping to a 2:1 panoramic aspect ratio will result in only a small loss of original resolution. In my workflow, I usually crop in Autopano Software, and then export the image for editing in Photoshop later.
STEP 3: Editing in Adobe Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro Software:
You can see that I 'only' needed 5 layers to get this edit done. The biggest adjustment, if you want to call it that, is that I split the sky and clouds in half and then mirrored it and put it back into the image.
I also use 2 other essential techniques in my Photoshop workflow, namely a Dodge and Burn Layer, and a selective sharpening layer using the Hi-Pass filter.
I decided to record a video showcasing my entire workfow for this image. I think this will go a long way to explain what I was doing.
The video is uploaded and posted on Vimeo. Take a look:
Please be so kind and leave me some feedback on the video. Do you want to see more like this? Do you have any additional questions? Anything I missed that would improve this effort?
Thank you for reading/watching this post.
so I spend the day yesterday retracing some 'old tracks' photographing the great Prairie Landscape near Calgary, Alberta.
I took my students to many sites, from rows of trees to granaries (big and small), to churches and, of course, wooden grain elevators. There is a lot that this area has to offer, and guess what, you don't have to travel far and wide to 'exotic' destinations to discover this. Calgary is within a few hours travel from most Canada and US cities.
There is a lot of history here, and it's a playground for photographers interested in sharpening not only their technical skills (aka long exposure landscape photography) but also their compositional skills (aka minimalist, simpler vision).
We toured for about 11 hours, and covered nearly 300 kilometers yesterday. That's what I call a full day of photography!
Here is a quick edit from our shoot yesterday. It's a site I have visited many times before.
Dorothy is a small ghost town located near Drumheller. It has 2 old churches (which we photographed as well) but the main attraction is this very photogenic wooden grain elevator silting in a field.
Image details: Cambo Wide DS with Phase One Digital Back. Schneider 35mm Lens. Exposure 120 seconds @F8
On my website you can see the image I took on a previous trip several years ago. We had some fabolous clouds so I couldn't resist sharing this new image.
I will be travelling through the Prairies for 3 more days with my small group 'Canadian Prairies Tour' Photo Tour.
Before I go, here you can see our 'line-up of tripods' as we photograph at this location:
The best part is, despite the fact that we all photographed from a very similar angle, I bet all of our images will turn out rather different.
Looking out my window this morning as I am typing this, it looks like another great day with some awesome clouds! Can't wait to get out there with my camera!
Stay tuned as I continue to post from along the way this week!
Regards from Calgary!
I left Vancouver and now heading back on a much anticipated roadtrip to the Canadian Prairies with the aim to photograph more of the vanishing historic grain elevators in Alberta and Sasketchewan.
I made this photograph near Lethbridge yesterday:
Image Details: Nikon D800e, 24mm Tilt/Shift Lens, Exposure 60 seconds @ F11
It was raining hard for most of the drive yesterday. When I got to this location, which I visited twice several years ago, I had a glimpse of hope that the rain would slow enough to allow me to setup my camera and take a shot. Sure enough after waiting for about 30 minutes, I was able to do so. Being from Vancouver I am used to working with an umbrella anyway :-)
The image was taken with an exposure time of 60 seconds at F11, using 13 stops of ND filtration. The clouds were moving fast, but did not have much definition. It was a very grey day overall. I made a few images using various exposure times, raging from 30 seconds to 8 minutes. After doing such an image series, I found that extending my exposure to beyond 1 minute resulted in much less defined skies.
My students often ask me if 'longer is always better'. Well, in this particular case, you have an example where extending exposure time further results in less definition in the sky. With the clouds moving rapidly, exposing for several minutes will leave the sky 'blank' and grey. It was important for me to preserve at least some details in the clouds, so that's why I decided not to extend my exposure time further than 1 minute.
I will be in the area for the next 10 days, teaching a workshop and leading a photo-tour back-to-back. I will be posting more images from along the way.
Regards from Swift Current (SK),