Interval Illuminance | Manhattan | B&W Fine Art Architectural Photography

Interval Illuminance | Manhattan | B&W Fine Art Architectural Photography

Interval Illuminance | Manhattan | 2015

This is the story of how I came to create my first Fine Art image titled Interval Illuminance.

Getting Wise to the Fact

I can’t remember where I first saw a black and white fine art image. What I do remember is that I couldn’t wrap my head around how it was executed until I discovered the work of two photographers in January of 2014. First came Joel Tjintjelaar (website) and from there I was made aware of Julia Anna Gospodarou (website). Since then, for nearly two years, I have been independently researching and analyzing the techniques and methods that are used in creating these amazing black and white, fine art, architectural images.

My wife and I were heading to NYC for Thanksgiving in 2014 and after 10 months of going through their material I decided this would be the time to start applying what I’ve learned.

Below is a video of my first effort as it was happening. It occurred on November 28th 2014 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Gear and Setup: Canon 5D Mark III, 24mm TS-E with a 4mm vertical shift, and a 10 and 6 stop Formatt-Hitech iRND filter. All of this mounted on top of the Arca Swiss D4 geared head.

The image turned out as expected, below is the original SOOC after the crop.  Settings: ISO 100, f/8, 357 sec.

Live. Work. Play.

Here’s the thing though, 51 weeks had lapsed before I even touched this image.  This trip to NYC last year was meant to celebrate the great news that my wife and I were finally expecting a baby and we knew that upon our return, preparing for our new life was going to consume us. On top of that, I had to manage my company, its dramatic growth and all the traveling that came with it.  I’ve never experienced a time crush like this. Therefore, the time for personal projects was non-existent. Not happening. No. Time. Ever.

Fast forward to October of 2015. By then my son, Harrison, was nearly four months old, the maternity leave was over and my wife and I were hitting our strides as new parents.  The opportunity came up to actually study directly under Julia Anna Gospodarou so I packed up my new family and mother-in-law, we flew to Chicago, and I took advantage.

If There Was Ever A Time, the Time Is Now

Julia Anna Gospodarou and I in front of The Bean, Chicago, IL

Now, this was my first workshop in over six years as a professional. I didn’t know what to expect but, I knew I had to do this. No more excuses, no more ‘next year’. There is something that happens (and it can’t be explained) when you find yourself in the presence of someone who is an inspiration. She delved deep into this subject of (en) Visionography and Photography Drawing (PhtD).  At times it became very philosophical and that registered very clearly with me. Overall, it was an intensive few days of learning about the theory, visualization, and processes that comprise this type of imagery.  It completely changed the way I approach my architectural photography. Studying under her revealed an aspect of my creativity that I knew was there, I just didn’t realize how to draw from it.

Ties that Bind

When I returned home, I gradually revisited my notes and culled through the images that were taken during that experience.  I had made my selections to start applying what I learned (memory fades quick when left without recall or practice) but, then we scheduled a last minute trip to NYC. We just had to take Harrison to see the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, right?

So I scrapped my original selections for this fine art processing and I landed right back to the image that I initially shot of the Manhattan skyline.  Logically, it made the most sense.  After all, since this would be my first venture into creating a fine art image why not start with the first image I captured with this intention.

After 18 hours of making tedious selections, photography drawing (phtD), a few expletives and a couple headaches,  I was pumped to release my first black and white fine art image…but what would its name be? What should it be called?  Our name is what defines us, it’s one of the single most important characteristics that demarcates our existence. And a fine art piece is no exception.

In Search of Identity

The endgame is to create a series of these images so its title had to be descriptive, unconstricted and have purpose.  In other words, un-specifically specific. On Thanksgiving day I went out for a run in search of this title and it came to me…Interval Illuminance.

The interpretation of this is simple.  An interval is effectively a space between two things; a gap in time, so to speak, in this case. This ‘interval’ represents the long exposure field technique that is used during the capture. Illuminance is a term derived from the subject of physics and it designates the luminous flux per unit area. This ‘illuminance’ is what is created through the use of PhtD in order to achieve the desired effect.

Thus, we have Interval Illuminance.


As if the final result wasn’t enough, even better is hearing the thoughts of Julia and Joel themselves. This is so important because it demonstrates the fact that they truly care about their students and want to see them succeed.

“This article gives insight into how you think when creating which is the most important thing for me in fine art photography. I really love the image and how you applied what we discussed next to your own way of working. So proud of you, Tim!” –Julia Anna Gospodarou

“What a great little story! I’m honored to be part of your development as an artist. Your NYC image is a great interpretation of that iconic view, not easy to make it look “different and interesting” but I can assure you it does!  You did an amazing job with the light rendering on the buildings: it’s sublime!” – Joel Tjintjelaar

And that’s my short narrative, from beginning to end, of my journey through acquiring this capability of creating Black and White Fine Art Architectural Images.

From here it’s all about refining the pre-visualization and experimenting with different implementations of PhtD.  I’ve entered a new chapter in my career thanks to Julia and Joel and for that I will be forever indebted.