[dropcap]I[/dropcap] will bet that I have driven past the park entrance of Moose Point State Park at least twenty times and always made a point to myself to get off the state road and check this seaside location out. So in early May just as spring was starting to make the days a bit longer and sweeter. I passed the entrance again, but this time I doubled back and pulled into a large empty tree line lot. The park seems very typical for a state park, they have clean rest room facilities, picnic benches strategically located near fire pits and of corse a grand view of Belfast Bay.
I have waited for a moment like this to use the Lee Big Stopper and put that in my gear bag and headed onto a small trail that walks you thru scented pines and parallels the ocean shoreline. The tide was coming in, the sun was spring time weak and sunset was about 2 hours away. I soon found a break from the trail I was hiking that dropped towards the shore. My goal was to get a close as possible to the surf. Luckily for me, there was a five foot boulder at the edge of where I wanted to shoot. I scrambled up the seaweed covered boulder and slipped, squirmed and slithered into position.
Shooting with the Lee Big Stopper has a few nuances, least of which is handling the special glass filter (that is very pricey and has long delivery lead time) over the oceans edge. It was a bit rattling to think I could drop the filter. I really enjoy the surf, having lived near the ocean most of my days. So I wanted to be here and take this shot and capture what I was seeing and equipment be damned.
Using the Big Stopper you need to be in manual mode, compose your image, I set my exposure and lock it, manual focus, then slide down the stopper, and back off ten clicks of the shutter, if you need more time you can adjust your f/stop towards f/8,f/16. The real goal is to let the camera be a light collector. You have put a piece of black glass in front of your lens and the light will take longer to collect inside your sensor. I wanted to get a proper exposure in the 10-20 seconds range. My settings for this shot were f/8 @ 15sec @ ISO 100.
Another quick way to accomplish getting your settings dialed in is to use live view. In my case, I was sitting on rocks, seaweeds and surf, so I wasn’t able to get my head down enough to use the LCD for live view. I was up on the rock with my RRS ground pod, holding onto everything while the tide was coming in and splashing me.
One last thing about using a Big Stopper or any other black glass filters, I recently read about and the downloaded an App called NDtimer…it takes the calculation work out of setting your shutter.