Like many photographers, I too adore a well-taken long exposure image. It’s no longer photography, it’s art. It’s pushing the boundaries of ‘true’ photography, and recording time like we can’t see it ourselves. And, I’m sure, like many photographers, I have serious location envy of anyone who finds themselves living in the most idyllic and photogenic locations – Norway, Switzerland, Canada, hell – even the Lake District! To have successful long exposure images you need either vast sea or sky. Or some sort of moving water. I find myself living a stone’s throw from London, yes near stunning countryside, but more like undulating hills than mountains and waterfalls, and the nearest thing I get to fast running water without driving for some hours is a watermill! So, like many photographers, I haven’t yet mustered up the courage to invest in a Lee Big Stopper (or any of their other very enticing filters) for extremely occasional use. Instead, I purchased an ND1000 from SRB Photographic – another of my local go-to photography stores – for a much more reasonable price point, to use when I travel and experiment with on my somewhat less exciting Hertfordshire countryside!

And since I mentioned it, yes, I did take this filter to the Lake District! Though not to appear to mimic every photographer ever, tried out my new filter on the River Brathay – which, by the way, is worth a visit!

Perfect if you’ve got your favourite landscape lens, these circular threaded filters are available in this format or ‘rugged’, which I imagine is great for colder conditions, particularly if wearing gloves! Of course the advantage of any square filter in an adapter ring is that you need only buy one filter for use with all of your lenses. If, like me, you find your equipment changes (you can read why here), or you feel like using a different lens, you’ll end up buying various sizes of the same filter – by which time you may as well have invested in the larger format. If you don’t feel the need to filter stack however, you may be perfectly comfortable in sticking with the trusty circular format – quicker to set up, quicker to clean, and easier to store, just because some photographers favour Lee, it doesn’t mean you have to!

What’s In The Box: handy exposure guide & ND1000

I love them so much, I have two…

ND1000 filters block ten stops of light from entering your lens; the glass is so dark, you can’t see through them

So we all have to start somewhere with long exposures. If you’ve not used an ND filter before, you’ll find the included exposure value table extremely helpful – guard it well – mine is looking very well loved indeed. There are apps available if you prefer, or for the mathematicians among you, your brain will suffice! I do have an exposure calculator on my phone, but find that nothing beats SRB’s handy guide; if your hands are just about ready to drop off from the cold, taking off your gloves and reaching for your phone is the last thing you want to do!

f4 / ISO 400 / 5s

f4 / ISO 400 / 15s

1 Comment

  1. Fabulous reviews. I’m really enjoying your blog and love Your style of writing.


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