Lately I’ve been photographing a lot of long exposures. And I’m especially intrigued by architectural black and white long exposures. Inspired by artists like Joel Tjintjelaar and Julia-Anna Gospodarou I’ve been wanting/planning to do a shot like this for a long time now.

Finally a chance arose. A building in my hometown of Leiden, The Netherlands, suited my ‘needs’. It is located close to the railway station and most people I know are not really fond of it. It’s called ’the Achmea building’ because it is owned by a large insurance company with that name. The building has been designed by VVKH architects and they have been very much influenced by the art movement from the 20’s called De Stijl. One of the characteristics of the building is that it’s very colourful! Indeed a logical choice for a long exposure black and white capture right?

I’ve checked out this spot a couple of times to check the conditions, best compositions and finally, the light was right last monday. To spoil the fun it is not a ‘proper’ LE. During the shoot I did not manage to slow the shutter enough to get the kind of motion blur that you see here. So I had a little help of software & Processing. I definitely need an 10 stop ND now!!!

Instant Aeon

Finally I bought an 10 stop ND filter. I got the one from Hightech because I use other filters by Hitech and am very satisfied with the results. But the Pro Stop 10 IR as it is called just blew me away. Usually I get huge magenta colourcasts when shooting long exposures. But with the Hitech one I get a little Blueish colour cast which i find much better than a magenta one. I like my images cool anyway 😉

ND filter The filter comes in a nice protective pouch as shown.

After acquiring the 10 stopper I kept looking for new possibilites and I discovered a new building being built in my hometown Leiden. This wat the first time I could really use my newly bought 10 stopper… The building looked strange and awkward and it had a little of an alien feel to it so I likes it immediatly. It took me some time to find the right angle. Then I waited until the clouds were almost right, set my exposure and off I went.


Here’s a look at the first composition I made, It was from the angle in which most people approach the building and is was not quite working for me. So after some shots I decided to get on my bike and see if I could find another, better angle. It was exactly at the opposite side of the building that I got what I wanted. A very sharp corner of the building stuck out and gave it a look like it was a pyramid, I had found my angle!

Of course you cannot get a picture like this completely right in camera so here’s how it looked in camera before the processing starts.

Back of camBelow there is an example how I would normally process it it would come out looking like this… it still needs some work but I like it as well. But in my mind’s eye I already previsualised that it was going to be square, dark and black and white.


The building is designed to be used as a school and can house up to 5000 students. Designed by Meyer & Van Schooten Architecten B.V. the building is still under construction. It will be put to use in september 2013. Initially I wanted to call it ‘The Mothership since it has such an alien feel to it. But Hybrid Pyramid has a nice ring to it as well.

Where now? I’m off to search for more characteristic modern architecture buildings and maybe do a series of these… I think I’ve allready found a new candidate. Now all I need is the right conditions and a little time to go out shooting.

Here’s the final image: Hybrid Pyramid, Nikon D90, ISO 200, 22 mm, f 20, 28 seconds, Polarising filter & Hitech 10 stop pro IRND (click to see large)

Hybrid PyramidUpdate… Found a new candidate to my series…

The third one of my series of Long exposure and architecture.

The ROC buiding was designed by Rau and partners and its built for educational purposes. It houses a school, offices, sports and a parking lot.

Stuff used: Nikon D90, Sigma 10-20 F4-5,6, 20mm, ISO 200, f16, Polarising filter, Hitech 10 stops pro IRND, tripod, remote release and a 30 seconds exposure.

(best viewed large..)


Update Update… And yet another candidate to my series…

A fourth addition to my black and white architectural series; The Deloitte Building in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Check out the other images I made that day:

(click to view large..)


And a new addition to my series, ‘The Astellas’ ISO 100, 20 mm, f22, 181,8 seconds, Hitech Pro 10 stop IRND, tripod, remote release. (Click on the image to view large)

_DSC9734 - Version 5

Adding to the series a 2017 image of the Museum Corpus in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands

Human – Martijn van der Nat
The sixth edition to my black and white architectural series; The Museum Corpus, dedicated to the Human Body (designed by PBV Architects)
123 seconds exposure on a dreadful dreary overcast day…
Check out the other images from this series over at my blog;


And the series continue again… I was futon a portrait session in The Hague and thought to myself now that I’m here why not shoot some architecture? The building the Hoftoren is top of my list and I did manage to shoot that but then I noticed the stark contrast of the New Babylon tower and made my way to that location about 500 meters walking. I did not thought much of this shot while shooting but during the processing all things fell into place… So without further ado here it is…


New Babylon
The newest edition to my long exposure architecture shots. I was in The Hague for a business portrait and while I was there anyway I thought why not shoot some more? The conditions were perfect for long exposure architecture shots!
13 seconds exposure in broad daylight by the grace of my #formatt #Hitech IRND 10-stopper
I am very happy how this shot ended up even though I didn’t make much of it whilst taking the shot. During the processing it all fell into place, processing was quick and easy and the result satisfying!
check out my blog on this series
(c)2017 all rights reserved


  1. Comment by Rachel Cohen

    Rachel Cohen Reply 30 juli 2013 at 21:05

    Wow Martijn! Very impressive image! I love these types of architectural long exposures! Well done! 🙂

    • Comment by Martijn

      Martijn Reply 30 juli 2013 at 22:42

      Thank you very much Rachel!

  2. Comment by Robert

    Robert Reply 21 oktober 2016 at 13:16

    Very, very nice! Would you be willing to share the post-processing steps?
    Thank you very much and keep up the fantastic work.

    I have just discovered this style of shooting monochrome and I am blown away by it.

    • Comment by Martijn van der Nat

      Martijn van der Nat Reply 21 oktober 2016 at 13:55

      My workflow was less extensive but kind of similar to Joel Tjintjelaar’s work. Checkout a video of his original version…

      hope that helped?

  3. Comment by Robert

    Robert Reply 21 oktober 2016 at 14:37

    Haha, thanx anyway!
    Hoped to get a workflow a little less than 40 hours… 😉

    • Comment by Martijn van der Nat

      Martijn van der Nat Reply 21 oktober 2016 at 14:40

      Well mine was less than 40 hrs… more like 3 in total…
      Joels Work is fine art and hangs in galleries over the world so he’s a little bit more focussed/concerned with the details… 🙂

      • Comment by Robert

        Robert Reply 21 oktober 2016 at 18:38

        Ok! First step: download the B&W Panel for Photoshop from his website. 😉
        Seems like a good start for/to me.

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