Artist Eye Meets Architecture

Recently, I sat down with friend of mine, and discussed her many interests in long exposer black and white fine art photographs. She expressed an interest in this medium, and in particular, a lad by the name of Joel Tjintjelaar. Joel is known for his own long exposer, black and white, fine art architectural photographs.

Joel can spend upwards of 40+ hours editing his photographs, even after spending the time to shoot long exposers, to enhance his photos. Joel has a series of videos on shooting to his final practices in Photoshop.

In the video The Making of Visual Acoustics VII – Silence and Light – Erasmus Bridge, Joel uses a Canon 5D MK III camera, a Canon 24mmTilt-Shift TS-E II Lens, Format-Hitech Prostop IRND Long Exposer KT-JT Signature Edition kit 10 +6 stops stacked, Exposing for 261 sec., an Aperture of f-9.0, and ISO at 100. Joel dose a sketch of what his vision for the final photograph, then he goes out to find the best angle to shoot. Fast forward 261sec for exposer and then the 40 hours of selective gradient masking (iSGM).

In this downloadable Fine Art Black and White Video Tutorial he shows and explains is process for selective gradient masking, adding depth and a kind surreal element to his photos.


‘A. What the camera sees: The Empire State Building looks flat and has no depth.
B.Defining the edges and changing tonal relations to create depth.
C. What my mind sees: a sculpted minds cape.’


*The long exposure times create frozen, star trails, moon trails and light trails, and blurred ghostlike people.

The exposure time of 316 seconds has been used with a total of 16 ND-filter stops.  (Above)

* Putting your camera in ‘Bulb’ mode will allow you to increase your exposer time past the 30 seconds mark.

* Don’t use a cheap tripod. Get one with maximum stabilization.
Joel states that:
‘Shooting architecture is a different matter and I prefer to shoot architecture at bright day light with fast moving clouds and a blue sky to cloud ratio of 65% blue sky and 35% clouds.’

‘First step away from reality is creating in B&W.

My second step is to use Long Exposure techniques that allow you to capture reality that is distorted by time.

Third step away from reality is to alter tonal relationships the way I like it and not to comply with what my camera captures.

Fourth step away is manipulating light in my photographs: I see light where there isn’t and vice versa and use my ability to control light in post-production to create a different reality. And with that fourth step I essentially manipulate the very essence of photography: light. I’m now looking for another step away from reality: I haven’t found anything yet that fits my personal view on aesthetics and art. Maybe 4 steps away from reality will suffice.’
‘For architectural work with relatively simple and straight lines, I mostly use the selection tools in Photoshop, if I do landscape work however then I tend to use Topaz ReMask, especially when amorphous and intricate shapes like trees are involved. Or even rocks. But for very complicated and intricate selections in my architectural images I would use a combination of PS tools and ReMask.’
The idea behind seeing beyond what the eye can perceive, is the basis for Joel’s work. Experimenting with your camera angles, how light interacts over time, and editing with a fine art critique in mind.

Not everyone has the time to commit to 40+ hours of fine art editing, but Joel has captured a unique way to photograph with an artist eye, and the patience of a Buddhist monk


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