Long Exposure Workshop – September 30 to October 2, 2016

A three day workshop with Marc Koegel a Vancouver, BC based photographer turned out to be a really cool way of learning a new skill. Marc was a great teacher as his teaching style was easy to follow and he concentrated his time on the workshop attendees. If you’re not familiar with Marc or his work check him out here.

Not only did I learn about Marc’s technique but I also learned an important aspect of working with my own images. I don’t have to have real to life images! I have been trying for so long to “get it right in camera” that I’ve forgotten to move on to post processing and photo manipulation. Probably the single most important thing I learned was that it was OK to create art from my images. Thanks Marc!

In the spirit of what I learned over the three days I’d like to share some of my work from the workshop and I will. But first, what is long exposure? There are various definitions but the one Marc gave is one I like – “Long exposure is anything that causes movement to be blurred.” Accordingly it can be a 1/250th of a second shot of something so fast that it shows up blurred or it can be a 1 hour shot of the moon transiting the sky at night.

It is the longer exposures I went to the workshop for. The kind that my camera can’t do by itself – not without the aid of really dark filters. Neutral Density filters to be exact. Also known as ND’s, they block light from reaching or camera’s sensor – or at least slow it down. Because the camera has to take so much more time to capture an image all ND’s end up introducing a colour cast. (Mine introduced a heavy magenta colour cast.)

Marc recommended taking a standard well exposed shot then putting the filters on and working from there. This recommendation allows you to compare before and after images for a variety of reasons. For me, it allows me to share the differing results along the way from start to finish.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river.

Camera Defaults: F/16, 1/6s, 200 ISO

In the image above the camera was set for a sunny white balance (hence the blue cast) and the rest of the images here have the same white balance setting. I usually would process the image in DXO’s Optics Pro and be done. Something like this would end up being my “default” image.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river.

DXO Processed Image

After putting the ND filters onto the camera – a total of 16 stops (two ND filters, 10 & 6) a recalculation of the duration needs to be done. In the next image a two minute exposure with the 16 stops of filters in place was made.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river using a long exposure.

F/11, 121.3s, 200 ISO

In this camera processed image the magenta colour cast is because of the low quality filters I purchased. It turns out the Formatt-Hitech filters were likely “old stock” – Marc indicated new ones don’t have this bad of a colour cast. At any rate its easy enough to remove in post processing. So playing around in DXO again I ended up with this one.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river using a long exposure.

The colour cast is still evident but already you can see the effects of a long exposure vs the original. Marc however doesn’t stop there – he likes to convert his images to striking works of art in B&W and with that in mind I didn’t bother trying to rid the remaining cast from the image. My next step was to turn it into my own flavour of a monochrome “art” piece (if I could).

After a couple of tries I’ve come up with a couple of versions.


I’m not done yet – but I think this one is good enough to get a feel for where I’m heading with this style of photography. Today I re-did my post processing with a similar image and I like it better this way.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river using a long exposure.

F/4, 20.8 s, 200 ISO

Leave me a comment, let me know what you think.

Experiments in New Worlds, Perseids Meteors & Flowers

I started experimenting with making small worlds from my photographs. I’m not skilled in using Photoshop – despite that, I’m fairly happy with the end result. I’ll keep doing more of them and trying to perfect the technique so I can minimise my Photoshop-ing.

Shows a playground turned into a world of trees and the playground

Little World

Next up are some flowers my wife has grown from seed. I wanted to practice a little with my flash and capture the flowers using a macro lens. Using the flash allowed me to hand hold the camera. I’m happy with the results and look forward to doing more macro photography. Here’s a couple with the rest in my flickr share here https://flic.kr/s/aHskGjnDy6

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Persied Meteor Showers

I’ve been looking forward to this event all week. I planned to go to a lonely place in the dark and setup for a long night on my own to take pictures and hopefully capture a few meteors. Here are the images from the skies https://flic.kr/s/aHskGjE882 and couple to preview.

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While processing my images I discovered I captured a galaxy (Triangulum I think). To the galaxy you’ll have to go the Flickr share and look at the high resolution image there. Look on the right side of the image about middle of the way up. You’ll also see some meteor streaks near it. After a while I put my fish eye lens on and captured the Milkyway over West Lake.  

Pride Parade/Hubble Picnic/Gardening & Water Falls

What do all four have in common?

Nothing really, but I photographed the Prince George, BC Pride Parade, the Hubble Homestead picnic for our Photo Club’s annual picnic, some garden results we’re getting & Hixon Falls when I went there for the first time! I just haven’t blogged much about any of them so here they are with some select picture for you to view and as always the rest are on my Flickr share at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

Prince George Pride Parade

We went to the Pride parade on July 19th, 2016. I expected a bit more racy and drag stuff but it was very family friendly and nothing anyone could consider “offensive” (well, nothing anyone in this day and age should consider offensive.) Here are a couple of images from Pride.

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I enjoyed working with the images, making some with Black & White backgrounds. It takes more work but I like the results. More images are in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskCuhmqW.

Picnic at Hubble Homestead

Each year the Photo Club (Prince George Photographic Society) has it’s member picnic. This year we held it at Hubble Homestead. I had brought my remote shutter release and long exposure filters with me in the hopes of trying them out along the river. Unfortunately the shutter release didn’t work and I made a simple mistake of using the wrong ND filters. So, I bombed out on that try! Still, I got a few images on the O’l Homestead that I liked. Here’s a couple for you.

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More images are in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskAx4L69.

Garden Shots

I bought a new off camera flash for my gear. I hadn’t really worked with one before so when my wife told me she was going to harvest our currents I decided I better get out there and try it out. Putting on my Macro lens and using my flash off camera (remotely) I experimented with the currents. Then a few others! Here are a couple of images for you.

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There is more in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskAx6Bwb.

Hixon Falls

Hixon Falls is fairly close to where I live (Hixon being about an hour away). So, after living here for twenty one years there really wasn’t a good reason to have not been there yet! I thought this would be another opportunity to try out my ND filters with long exposure – cause who doesn’t like a great water fall shot! Right? Once again I ran into issues – but I over came them. This time I used the correct ND filters (yea me…) and managed a few long exposure images I’m happy with (if not terribly interesting at least technically correct!) So, here are a few for you.

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I took several pictures from above the falls to show how dangerous that area is. There are no warning signs posted – just memorial signs, so if you above the falls be careful. The slopes above falls are very step and extremely difficult to get up. We went back to the parking area and walked up a side road till we could hear the falls. Then started following paths in and quickly found the top of the falls. I think this image best displays just how dangerous it is up there.

Shows dangerously steep cliff side to water fall

More images of the top side are in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskETciaj

Barkerville (part 2)

I saved four images of the water wheel in motion and wanted to make them into a gif to show. Unfortunately though Flickr doesn’t seem to animate the gif, so I’m placing it here. I also uploaded a short video of some period actors singing “Oh my darling” which you might be interested in. It’s on Flickr here https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

gif animation showing a 1800's era water wheel in motion.

Water Wheel


We went to Barkerville Sunday June 26th, 2016. A slow day of walking about and just looking here and there. There just isn’t enough time in a day to see it all. If you every have the chance to visit Barkerville I recommend it. You can even stay on site! Check it out at http://www.barkerville.ca/.

When I was in grade 5 (1977?) our class went to Barkerville by train (from the lower mainland) and we stayed in a school gym. I really remember only two things about that weekend. Getting sick on the train (Hey – it was a baloney sandwich, who wouldn’t get sick!) and the dentist & patient in Barkerville.

The old dentist is still there. With some new stuff and buildings the trip shouldn’t be forgotten just because you’ve been there before. I took a whole bunch of pictures, here are a few to sample. The rest as usual are in my flickr share at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

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We were out on the farm (private property, so geo tags are not included on this set of images) to plant potatoes (well, my wife was…) and thought I’d go in search of pictures. As I walked to the hay-field I noticed a path through it, so I followed that. I came across a few flowers and I took images of them. I was surprised at how “alive” the rose was, it was crawling with very tiny insects – cool!

I carried on into the forest beyond the fence and found a few opportunities there as well. I walked towards a creek on the property and surprised a bear in hiding – not a good thing to do. It jumped up a tree to get a better look at me (and presumably size me up for dinner?) I immediately started backing away from it as I was only about 20 feet away. I took the chance to snap a quick shot (or two) but not much more. The second was blurry and the bear was starting to grunt and climb down. Fortunately the brown, black bear and I went our separate ways. My wife reminded me that it could have ended much differently…

From the hay-field I tried to set up a number of images to use for a panoramic view of the Rockies off in the distance – but I’ve spent several hours trying to correct Windows 10 upgrade issues with permissions on my computer (way to go Microsoft…) It seems that Hugin can’t handle something about the images as well and the latest version won’t install (actually any Microsoft installer seems to be having issues.) So, when I get that straightened out I’ll post something about it then. Till then here are a few images I’m happy with and the rest as usual are on my Flickr share at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel. I’ll always try to upload smaller resolution images here to help you with viewing and you’ll always be able to view higher resolution images on my Flickr share.

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Ginter’s 2nd Night 20160506

I wasn’t satisfied with the previous nights attempt and since it was now Friday I wanted to try again. I was really after stars in a photograph and to learn more about my camera and night-time photography.

This time I chose my 35mm prime lens. I wanted some city type shots with stars overhead. I also wanted to get the “Big Dipper” and try some different things with aperture, ISO and shutter speeds to see how the images were affected.

Again I setup my tripod, camera and tablet and let loose with finger tapping on the tablet screen. While it was a lot darker than the night before the connected tablet let me do previews of what it would take. This gave me the opportunity to do some composing for the shot, before the shot. Which ultimately is actually just taking a picture, view the results and then deciding if it was good enough before taking a picture to keep.

I’m curious also about the program I’m using to edit images – DXO OpticsPro 10. OpticsPro 10 has a high noise reduction option which DXO claims to be the best. Since I shoot RAW & Fine JPG combined I’m going to compare Nikon’s D90 JPG image processing with the results of the RAW processed images to how DXO and Nikon look side  by side.

First up is a set of images that show the effect aperture has on the image with this particular lens. These images are all straight from the camera using Nikon’s built-in jpg image processing.

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While its pretty clear that the aperture lets more light in the image suffers because the lens isn’t designed for optimal focusing at F4. F8 gave a better result for sharpness in the stars but at ISO 400 it was pretty dark. Boosting the ISO to 640 helped show more star light.

Next lets take a look at DXO’s processing of the RAW images. Using DXO’s Night preset (I didn’t alter anything.)

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OK, I think DXO wins. It seems the worst image clearer after DXO processed the RAW. I like what the presets did for the rest of the images too.

The remaining images are in my Flickr share here http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel except for this one. I’m including it here just because it caught a satellite passing. The image is pretty bad but it does demonstrate what happens when you’re focusing on technology instead of trying to pay attention to your surroundings.

Ginters at Night May 6, 2015 15Small

Satellite (passing lower right)

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