Tag Archives: LEE Filters

Longer than usual – LEE Big Stopper

This time is a kind of the sequel from the last post.  I always take my smart-phone to back county. Not for phone calls obviously, because it is handy when I use LEE – Big Stopper filter. Big Stopper is 10 stop neutral density filter. 3 or 4 steps are commonly used to slow down shutter speed. But it is 10 stops; you can achieve minutes of exposure time! Here is the easy calculation for exposure time.

  • 10 stops is the tenth power of 2 = 1024.
  • So “Exposure time (sec) without Big Stopper” x 1024 = Exposure time with Big stopper.

For example, You have 1/125 of shutter speed before setting up Big Stopper, the final one will be (1/125)x1024=8.192 (sec). When you have 2 sec of shutter speed initially, you will have 2(sec) x 1024=2048(sec), 2048(sec)/60=34.13(min). Savvy! Now I set a timer and read an eBook. That is why I need a smart-phone all the time for the calculation, timer and eBook. One tip is, when you shoot with auto-exposure and Big Stopper is attached to a lens, you may need to compensate exposure to +1.5 to 2.0.

Melancholic - Bow Lake, Alberta

This photo was posted in my last blog post. The Bow lake in Alberta looks really calm in this picture. But in reality, the day was pretty windy and  it looked like the picture below. The 45 sec of exposure totally calmed waves on the lake. Big Stopper adds a tinge of cyan; this may be problematic for some photographers. But I like the cool tone, which often adds ethereal feel to the image.

Here is other examples, shutter speed 30 sec and the bottom one is 3 min.

Kananaskis big sky

Lastly, I should be honest and share my inspiration of the long exposure. Please check out amazing, Michael Levin. Since I saw his works 2 years ago, they have been big influence on my images.

Nature photography – Luck and patient (1)

Surprisingly, I achieved one-two finish in the foothills camera club monochrome competition. Although it is the competition by a local camera club, it makes me feel good.     

The B&W image is the last shot on my lake O’hara trip at the end of September. After 3 days of rainy days, eventually, I got a blue sky… it was a beautiful blue sky….boring blue sky…I need some cloud patterns! I guess photographers are kinds of species who are never blessed. Anyway, while I was hiking up to the Opabin circuit, I found this location. But the sun was already up high. I took some pictures but they are not even close to “okay”.

You know I mean…the blue sky is boring. This is a  HDR image  and I used LEE Big Stopper filter to calm the wavy water. But I failed to bring punch in the image.

I took whole day in the Opabin circuit until the sun disappeared. It was around 05:20 pm. The last bus to a parking lot is 06:30 pm. I rushed to the camping site because I left my tent and I had to pack it up. When came back to the location where I found in the morning, It was breath-taking…nice side light, mirror-clear surface of the water, now some cloud in the sky. I spoke to myself “which photographer misses this shot”. I quickly set up my tripod and camera, and took 5 color images, then took other 2 shots with infrared set up.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I think I was lucky…only 7 shots for about 10 min from setting up to leaving the location, and I got this gorgeous image. What I learned from this experience? …COME BACK LATER…light is more ideal in evenings, and usually you can expect some clouds near the horizon. I will talk about the patient part next time.