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Thursday
Oct272011

Yarmouth Lighthouse at Cape Forchu - Times Two:

Good evening everyone,

Another rainy and stormy day today here in Newfoundland, so I was able to do some catching up with my processing.

A few days ago on this trip, I visited the small community of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. According to my guidebook, this lighthouse at Cape Forchu is the second most photographed lighthouse in Nova Scotia. 

I can see why. It's an amazing spot, especially now that most tourists are gone.

I returned twice and was rewarded with some great weather conditions and clouds on the second visit.

Here are two images I shot that morning:

This first image was shot with a Phase One IQ 140 Digital Back. It is a panorama, stitched from 2 images with 40 mega pixel each. So the resulting file is huge. I used a 45mm lens, exposure time of 4 minutes.

This second images was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II with a Nikon 24mm Tilt/Shift lens. It is a panorama assembled from 4 images, so again it's a very large file. Exposure was 4 minutes each. The Tilt/Shift lens made it possible to retain straight lines on the tall lighthouse, despite shooting from this low elevation.

I liked the reflection...

Let me know which one you prefer. I posted both to draw attention to the importance of composition. I spent about 4 hours in this spot, and actually shot from one more perspective. 

I knew I wanted to end up with a 'double square' composition, that's why I elected to shoot several images for later merge to panorama.

Tomorrow I am off to Twillingate, Newfoundland. Thanks to Keith Mac for pointing me in that direction.

The forecast calls for snow in the afternoon, so I'll be up well before sunrise...

More tk...

Wednesday
Oct262011

Family shots with my iPhone!

Hello everyone,

I arrived in Newfoundland today, another first visit for me on this trip (had never been to Nova Scotia either).

Unfortunately, the weather was real lousy. Stormy wind conditions made for a bumpy flight, and heavy rain and thick fog had me stay in my car most of the day. This is the first day since leaving Vancouver where I didn't even take my camera out of the bag even once. Keeping my fingers crossed for better conditions tomorrow...

I spend most of the day driving. Had lots of time to think, mostly about photography but also life in general. Yes, I even got a bit emotional.

This trip has been the longest (and furthest) I've been away from my family. I miss my wife, Xenija, and my 2 kids, Mila (2.5 years) and Max (4 months) very dearly.

It's a strange thing. On the one hand I know I need to take trips like this to be able to do serious photography. And Xenija is the first to understand and she actually encourages me to go on these 'adventures'.

On the other hand, today was clear evidence that photography can be a very lonely profession. At least sometimes. I know that I usually create my best work on these trips, and there are benefits to travelling (and photographing) alone. I can get up whenever the light is best. I can concentrate ALL my energy on photography. I can ignore all the typical 'distractions' of everyday life (and work) in Vancouver. I can clear my head, get new ideas and fill up on motivation.

When I return, I am usually full of energy and motivation. Even if I would not come back with a single photograph, I would still seek these trips just for the 'life' experiences I get along the way. I have met some fantastic people and seen some incredible places. All because I had a camera in my hands.

The camera has given me the licence to live this fantastic life, and have these rare experiences.

But still I miss my loved ones each time I go away.

So for today's post, I've decided to share some personal photographs I took of my family in the last 4 months. More precisely, most images are of my son, Max Johann Koegel. He was born in July.

The slideshow below starts with Max's birth. All images were shot exclusively on my iPhone.

Max has done a lot of travelling in his short life. Among his adventures was a trip to Las Vegas where he was likely the youngest participant at PhotoShop World. Before he's 6 months, he'll add Germany to his travel list.

Photography is about many things. And somewhere near the top of the list is that it is about memories. Looking at these images, I remind myself how incredible lucky and proud I am to be a father to our 2 beautiful children.

These images are not about f-stops, shutter speeds or ISO's. They are not technically perfect, nor very sharp.

Still they illustrate the power of photography. In a very personal way. I love my iPhone...

Thanks for reading.

More tk...

Sunday
Oct232011

Long Exposure Workshop in Amsterdam - Confirmed!

UPDATE October 27th: As of today, only 3 seats are left available. Be quick!

I am happy to announce that it took less than a week to get enough participants signed up to confirm my Long Exposure Workshop I'll be teaching together with Joel Tjintjelaar in Amsterdam this December!

There are still some seats left available, but you gotta' be quick! Also, our Hotel offers discounted room rates, but you got to book by October 28th to guarantee them.

I am really looking forward to this workshop - cannot wait to meet Joel in person and teach with him. 

I'll be sure to bring some work photographed on my current trip to Atlantic Canada!

More tk...

Sunday
Oct232011

Hello from Nova Scotia!

I am out on a photography trip! Landed in Nova Scotia yesterday, and I'll be onward to Newfoundland in a few days.

Going for a photography trip is always a pleasure but also a huge privilege. As I am typing this sunrise is still an hour away (and of course I shot sunset yesterday). Being on a trip like this let's me focus my energy 100% on photography. Everything else comes second, including my own comfort. I've slept in cars waiting for morning light, and didn't eat all day because I was just so excited to be photographing.

I consider this a privilege because not many people are able to make such a commitment to photography. The guy next to me on the plane couldn't stop repeating how 'kick-ass' and 'cool' my 'job' seemed to him...

As privileged as I feel being able to plan and do these trips, as soon as I sit down in a plane (or car) I begin to miss my family. My love goes out to my wife and kids! Already stopped to buy some gifts (this is day 1) and I know Fido will be very happy about my hefty long distance bill..

I will post a longer essay on the importance of photography trips. Big and small. But for now, I gotta run 'cause the sun is rising on about 50 minutes and I got to be standing on a rock photographing a lighthouse! Hope that Tim Horton's is open early!

Here's a shot I took at Peggy's Cove near Halifax yesterday.

This is a 4 minute exposure shot on an Phase IQ 140 medium format back. 45mm lens. F11 @ISO 50.

This is a quick process using NIK Silver Efex 2 and Photoshop. The long exposure did a great job 'extracting' the many tourists roaming around the structure and the rocks.

This really is a magical place. Cannot wait to take some students there for a workshop in 2012! So many great imaging opportunities.

More tk...

Thursday
Oct202011

New Video: Bring along some Tape!

Just uploaded a new video...take a look and I hope it helps you when shooting long exposures!

Wednesday
Oct192011

Photo-Du-Jour: Sea-Scape in West Vancouver

Hello everyone,

I took my Long Exposure 10 week class out to one of my favorite parks in West Vancouver this morning.

The weather has been 'funny' around here lately. Yeah, I know what you think. Isn't it always grey and raining in Vancouver this time of year? Well, ever since this 10 week course has started, we have run into the challenge of 'too much sun'. And this morning was no exception. Not a cloud in the sky. Even worse, some of the best shooting angles were pointing our lenses directly into the sun. 

I hardly complain about 'too much sun' around Vancouver, but for the next 7 Tuesday's, it would be great to get some clouds -)

Despite the bright sun, everyone was up for the challenge. I myself only had time for a single shooting angle, but wanted to share the result with all of you:

This image was a 4 minute exposure. Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II using a 16mm lens. 16 stops of ND. ISO 160. This is a crop from the original RAW file. Compositionally, I really like the rocks visible in the clear waters in the foreground. They make for a nice leading line. I couldn't really change the perspective much as the sun (and lens flare) was already creeping in from the left.

This image was processed in Slver Efex and Photoshop CS5.

The image above is the same composition and frame, but processed in color. Yes I know. Marc shooting color? Really? He must be nuts...

Yes I might be. But I just couldn't resist trying. And I do like the effect.

It would be much appreciated if you could leave me some comments on this. Let me know if your prefer the color or B+W version.

And here's a behind-the-scenes shot using my iPhone. Just so you all get an idea what the original scene looked like.

Finally, I can't resist sharing one more image with you. This was shot on the Hartblei H-Cam with the Canon 24mm Tilt Shift lens. Captured about a week or so ago. Same location, just about 100 meters to the east.

Yes I know this is color as well. I just let you figure that one out by yourselves....

I hope now you all understand why I was hoping for some clouds today. This capture was 20 seconds exposure time. It was windy and wavy that day, and the clouds were moving extremely fast. So you'll see, depending on the conditions, exposures of 'only' 20 seconds can get you some interesting long exposure effects....

More tk...

Monday
Oct172011

New Work uploaded at www.500px.com!

Hello everyone,

just uploaded some more images to http://500px.com/bulbexposures.

For those not familiar with 500px, I belief it's one of the very best photo sharing sites around. Well worth the look.

I never thought I would upload my images anywhere else on the web but to my own personal website. Along came this service and convinced me otherwise. A great networking opportunity and generally high caliber of work. I like their editorial picks, something flickr really could take advantage of! There's lots of great photography up on flickr, only trouble is finding it....

Only potential negative thing I see with 500px is their point system for 'rating' images.

This could threaten the existence of a positive community with generally supportive feedback. I know several camera clubs that have abandoned point ratings and they usually emerge as better communities as a result.

If you a minute, I would apprceiate if you'd take a look and leave me some feedback.

Thanks for taking a look. More tk....

 

Monday
Oct172011

Long Exposure Workshop in Amsterdam Announced!

For the first time, my Fine-Art Long Exposure Workshop is offered in Europe. Join us in Amsterdam this December 10th and 11th, 2011.

Photographs above copyright Joel Tjintjelaar

Award-winning Photographers Joel Tjintjelaar and Marc Koegel will join forces for this workshop!

I am really excited to be working with Joel. If you haven't seen his captivating photography, make sure to check out his site. Here's a link to his work on 500px.com. Take a look today!

Photographs above copyright by Marc Koegel

To see all the details about this workshop, please make sure to vist the detailed workshop description page on http://vancouverphotoworkshops.com/workshops/long-exposure-workshop-amsterdam-2011.php. The first 5 people who register get a 50 Euros discount off regular tuition fees!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday
Oct132011

Out there with the Hartblei HCam B1:

Well you certainly don't see this camera everyday. That's what I thought when Walter from B3K Digital first showed me this 'machine' earlier this year. And about 2 weeks ago he was kind enough to ship it out to Vancouver for me to give it a thorough test. How could I say no?

The Hartblei HCam - B1 is a strange beast, but fulfills a very interesting niche, especially interesting for architectural and landscape photographers (like me).

The camera itself is 'just' a body, but the uniqueness is the ability to mount 35mm lenses on the front, while mounting medium format digital back on the rear.

In these images of the camera, you can see that I am using a Canon 24mm Tilt/Shift lens, and on the rear I have a Phase One P45+ Digital back (39 megapixels). With a sensor size significantly larger than even full-frame DSLR's, I get an extreme wide-angle perspective. And I can use up to 12mm of shift! That's really incredible. No other camera system I know of can deliver this.

So what kind of images can you get with this camera? Well let's have a look:

I wanted to show you this architectural image, because it shows the full capabilities of this camera system. I am standing across the street from this approx. 20 story building here in Vancouver. It's our public library. The lens is shifted to the maximum of 12mm (which helps keep a natural perspective with straight lines up the buildings).

I am shooting this long exposure at 6 minutes (using 13 stops of ND filters on the front of the lens). Aperture was F11, ISO 50.

I will post an in-depth review of this camera, together with some comparison images I shot with a Canon 5d Mark II (and the same 24mm lens) in the next few days.

I am rather excited about the visual opportunities that I can see myself exploring with this camera. It let's me create compositions that I am hoping will convey how urban settings feel to me. Rarely do we stop to admire architecture and the urban environment, and this is especially true for familiar surroundings. The places we live and work in on a daily basis. The long exposure reveals evidence of life by way of people/traffic movement, while the wide perspective shows this all in the context of the larger urban environment. 

Stay tuned. More tk...

Tuesday
Oct112011

ND Filter Color Cast:

Good morning everyone!

I was out on the weekend shooting some long exposures around downtown Vancouver with a private student. Since there were only 2 of us, I brought my camera to do some shooting as well (images to be posted soon). While we were out, I thought it would be a great idea to test a new ND filter I had just received.

Ever since I started shooting long exposures I have been using ND filters made by B+W. This is also the brand I most recommend my students buy. A few months back, I discovered an ND filter made by Tiffen which I thought looked interesting. It is a 7 stop ND filter (ND 2.1) combined with an Infrared cut filter (IR).

Here's a picture of it:

So what's the use of an added IR cut filter? Well, let's take a look at the 2 images below:

As you can see above, the metadata on both exposures above is (almost) identical. The camera was set to automatic white balance for both exposures. The image on the right was shot with B+W Filters, while the image on the right was shot using the new Tiffen ND Filter.

The magenta color cast found in the image on the left is a frequent 'side-effect' of using strong ND filtration (we used 16 stops of ND filtration in both images above). If you're going to convert to black and white, then this color cast may not be a big deal. I have been dealing with it for years, and have accepted it as a common side-effect that is almost negligible once I am converting to black and white.

But what if you want to experiment shooting long exposures in color? Then, the Tiffen Filter may be a very convenient and valuable tool, saving you from attempting to color correct the magenta out of your RAW files.

The images above demonstrate that Tiffen has made a great product here. Only negative as far as I can tell is that this filter seems to be offered in only one strength: 7 stops of ND. So I combined it with a HOYA ND 400x, which is equivalent to roughly 9 stops. This combination gives a total of 16 stops, same as combining a 10 stop and 6 stop B+W filter(s).

Why the magenta cast with 'regular' ND filters?

For those interested in the technical details, the reason that most ND filters cause a magenta cast is the fact that they are only 'neutral' across the visible spectrum of light (but they let infrared light pass through). When shooting film this is not problem, as only a very limited number of film stock is sensitive to infrared light. But most digital cameras are sensitive to infrared light, so using a regular ND filter causes infrared light to built up on the sensor (despite most DSLR's having an Infrared cut filter installed over the sensor). Adding the IR cut filter to the ND component on the Tiffen filter, helps prevent this infrared light built-up, which also prevents the magenta color cast from forming.

Give the Tiffen a try sometime!