Landscape Photography

Damflask Reservoir

Damflask Reservoir just outside of Sheffield, and on the road to Bradfield.

Today, I was playing with my new ‘toys’; my Lee Big Stopper finally arrived. The Christmas and birthday presents have finally been put to use. Who said I do not have much patience? Certainly being a photographer has taught me a little about being patient. Whether it is the weather or saving up and waiting for equipment.


I am truly amazed, and made a startling discovery. I discovered the long exposures taken with the old Dorr ND8 3 stop filter is the source of the grains and spots. I kept seeing these whilst post editing my long exposures beyond f11. This has been very frustrating. I thought I had sensor dust, never thinking it would be £40 filter. I try my hardest to look after my equipment, and you buy something like the Big Lee Stopper and your heart literally stops; the quality is superb, images are sharp, and the colour cast is minimal. Your faith in your camera and your ability is restored in one afternoon. Not one grain, not one spec of dust were transposed to the images. Well blow me down with a feather! I will be experimenting at f16 and beyond in the future just to be sure.

Lee Filters are hand-made in Britain, and I had to wait 4 weeks for the Big Stopper.

The Set-up

  1. Tripod
  2. Camera set to manual
  3. Lens 17-40mm – set to 17mm
  4. f11, I used daylight for white balance and faithful style setting (as opposed to landscape or portrait).
  5. Hoya circular CPL screw fit polariser attached to the lens
  6. Lee wide – angle adapter ring – attached to the circular polariser
  7. Lee filter holder (100mm)
  8. The Big Stopper set at the position nearest the camera in the holder (v. important as it has foam seal to prevent light leaking and lens fogging)
  9. A piece of blue – tack for the view finder – this prevents light leaks on to the sensor thus reducing flare
  10. Meter at focusing either manually or using the auto-focus (in my case 15th of a second set in AF)
  11. Attach the filter holder to adapter ring carefully.
  12. Set to exposure time to bulb mode and make sure the lens is in manual focus; to prevent to the camera trying to compensate for the dark.
  13. Timer remote to program the exposure time you require. I required 1 minute. For my remote cable timer I set a delay 5 seconds, my camera was set up on timer remote, therefore when activated there is an automatic 10 second delay; thus the long exposure time was set to 1 minute and 10 seconds. the number of shots was set to 1.

The Filter was stacked with Hoya CPL filter, I attached the wide-angle adapter ring to this filter which was directly attached to the lens. There are lots of discussions regarding the Lee circular polariser with its adapter ring for the holder. People say there is some vignetting and for a filter and its adapter you have to purchase separately at total cost around £250 is an expensive outlay; only to have vignetting you can’t remove unless you crop – then you make do with what you have for time being. I am considering the much cheaper square circular polariser that fits in the holder, but not sure how this will work with ND grads.

I set up the shot and metered the scene in auto-focus, then switched to manual. I attached the holder with the filter in place taking care not to upset the tripod and camera. I used the check card to calculate the time. The original meter reading was set at 15th second, my exposure time with the filter is 1 minute. This is not an easy calculation as it is reciprocal number, which is beyond my maths ability. Lee kindly give you a card with the number crunchers for you with the filter. However this is a guide you may have to tweak your exposure time and check your histogram for under / over exposure and blown highlights.

Another couple of tips, keep warm – where layers of clothing, take a flask of your preferred hot drink (mine is coffee with milk, and no sugar), maybe a snack, and waterproof blanket or mat to sit on or just to pop your camera bag and things on, and don’t stand or sit for too long especially this time of year when it is cold. When you are cold you can drop things more easily…. and finally can anyone recommend any decent wellies?

Thank you calling into my blog today 😀


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