2014-05-07

First Steps Using Lee Filters

Ever since I first picked up a DSLR, my favourite thing to do has been to mount it on a tripod and increase the shutter speed, often as long as several minutes at a time. Naturally, this meant that my photography had to be done at night or during the last few minutes of twilight. However, when one has the urge to keep the shutter open, it’s only a matter of time before a Lee Big Stopper becomes irresistible!

There are different ways to use filters; which filter to choose is a personal choice with a number of practical considerations. If increasing shutter speed is your only aim, a dark screw in filter will do a great job, but getting a filter holder and filter separately will cost just about the same and the latter option makes subsequent upgrades less of a hassle. As an added bonus, when using a filter holder, you don’t have to remove the protective filter from the lens before using your dark filter.


Because I think in the long term with my photography, I decided to get a filter holder instead of a screw in filter. I was very impressed by the manufacturing process of Lee Filters and the company’s strong focus on the needs of landscape photographers, so I opted for their system. There is a Starter Kit available that comes with 0.6 hard grad and 0.6 standard ND filters, but if you already have specific ideas about what you want to achieve, a Foundation Kit is a better option as you won’t have to commit to filters that came with the set.

To achieve the goal of long shutter speed during the day, I needed three things: first I got a Foundation Kit that comes only with a filter holder. To mount the holder onto my lens, I needed the correct size adapter ring. Once this is in place, any filter can be used within Lee’s 100mm range.

In spite of only using the Big Stopper for a short while, I feel it’s opened the door to a whole new area of photography that’s not only consistent with my already existing portfolio, but it’s also very different. That only seems like a contradiction in written form; for photographers who have been working with standard long exposure, the Big Stopper is a great next step to expand on their portfolio. The dark filter aided long exposure during the day will produce results that seem otherworldly and sometimes even strange.

This technique enables you to use your camera in completely new creative ways, allowing the shutter to be left open for as long as 30 seconds when facing direct sun light. For fans of long exposure, the Lee Big Stopper is most certainly a must. Once you have this glass in your bag, long shutter speed is possible at virtually any time you have the chance to get out with your camera.

In our stores in Central London, and Burgess Hill (West Sussex), we have a whole range of filters for you to choose from. In both stores, you'll find expert staff on-hand, ready to help you get the right product for your needs. Alternatively visit www.ParkCameras.com where you can our range of Lee filters, all at competitive prices.

If you’ve got a question about Lee filters, or the Big Stopper, why not post a comment in the box below and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.

Arpad Lukacs
Park Cameras

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