Friday, December 27, 2013

First Exposure to Long Exposure




Several years ago I was fortunate enough to work on the team bringing Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2 to market. Our product manager Josh Haftel was a huge black and white fan and saw the potential for the software to help photographers interested in long exposure photography really turn out world-class work.  We often created inspirational videos for brand new products, and he recommended that we work with a Dutch photographer named Joel Tjintjelaar on the Silver Efex Pro 2 product intro video.

Joel was a lawyer by trade (if my memory serves), but very passionate about long exposure photography. What started out as a hobby for him has actually earned him 'round the world recognition. View his exquisite work on the BWVision.com website.

Watching Joel take the image of Crystal Pier here in San Diego that would come to be emblematic of the product planted a seed in my brain ("I really want to do this someday"). At some point, my friend and work colleague Laurie Rubin mentioned that the finest 10-stop filter for crafting long exposures is the Lee Filters Big Stopper.  I had investigated them and determined they were simply too expensive for this lad.

Until Christmas 2013. I was given a Big Stopper as a company gift from the gents at Macphun Software - it's something I would never have bought myself, but recall casually mentioning it at the office as something for which I'd lusted. Lo and Behold, it ended up underneath my tree (thanks guys!).

My first image, above, was a re-imagining of that first shoot by Joel out at Crystal Pier. I used Macphun's Snapheal Pro (as a plug-in from Lightroom) to remove some dust spots and then converted to black and white in Lightroom.

Long exposure photography is by nature a bit experimental. Once you've framed the shot and determined your shutter speed, you sort of multiply that time by 10 (if using a 10-stop filter) and fire away. I used a locking remote and also covered my viewfinder to limit any light leaks.

However, by the time I got things dialed in, there was a lot of light being thrown out by the Sun. The shot below was a long-ish exposure from this morning, only about 40 seconds. I left it in color because I liked the way the water on the wave and beach look like will-o'-the-wisps... darting and cavorting in the morning light. ;-)



The shot below was processed using Lightroom, Macphun's Snapheal Pro and Macphun's Intensify Pro with the "dreamy" preset. Intensify just earned one of Apple's "Best of 2013" honors.



I'm absolutely enthralled with the results of the Big Stopper and plan to use it and experiment further every chance I get. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Recent Macphun Software news

As many of you know, earlier this summer I took a position at a company called Macphun Software, founded in 2008. Macphun originates from Kiev, Ukraine and was the brainchild of Paul Muzok and Dima Sytnik.  Along with Alex Tsepko, in June 2013 they reached out to me and several others formerly of Nik Software inquiring about whether we'd be interested in helping them open up U.S. operations for their company.

What an opportunity!  To try and "capture lightning twice" was a real gift and at the same time a challenge. The guys from Macphun had experienced tremendous success in the Mac App Store which was a great foundation upon which to build. Along with my good friends MorneĆ© Sherry and Matt Cummins (both from Nik), it's a dream come true and we're having a lot of fun.

As I type this, our products occupy 5 of the top 10 spots in the photography category of the Mac App Store. Intensify Pro - our latest - has garnered a 5-star reputation and won over many Nik advocates.

I plan to update my friends and family via this blog as significant news comes along, and I would consider the following local San Diego coverage cool enough to mention.  ;-)  Without further ado:

San Diego Union Tribune: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/nov/29/Nik-Software-MacPhun-Google-photo-editing/


San Diego Business JournalClick here to download and view the scanned article.

Channel 10 TV news:  http://www.10news.com/news/local-startups-photo-editing-software-is-hot-seller-11202013