An adventure in Dorset, with filters

Dorset

f11, 30 secs, ISO 100, 24mm, cropped
Lee circ. polariser and Big stopper

Yesterday I had a bit of an adventure.  I attended a one day, Lee filters workshop in Portland, Dorset led by Jeremy Walker.  I have been thinking about investing in some filters for a while, particularly to try my hand at some long exposure photography, but also to balance my exposures in camera, so I can spend more time out taking photos and less time in front of my computer. When I came across Jeremy’s course online, it seemed the perfect way to learn how to use the filters, and to try before I buy.

long exposure

f/11, 2 minutes, ISO 800, 28mm
Lee 0.9 pro-glass, big stopper

After an early start and a two and a half hour drive, I found myself tucking into some much needed coffee and meeting Jeremy, Ed (the Managing Director of Lee filters) and Luciana, my fellow student.  We were provided with a set of filters for the day and were soon heading off to capture the waves and pebbles on the shore of Portland, Dorset.  The weather was inauspicious but, as we quickly learned, with filters you can make a photograph out of the most unpromising conditions.

long exposure

f/11, 2.5 secs, ISO 100, Lee circ. polariser, 0.9 pro glass

I am mostly a solitary shooter, finding it difficult to concentrate when in company. Add to that learning how to use the Lee filter system, and it is perhaps hardly surprising I did not take nearly as many exposures as I would normally when at the coast.  But Jeremy and Ed are good company and they were very patient with my rather fumbling, disorganised approach.  I also appreciated all the chocolate!

coastal long exposure

f11, 45 secs, ISO 400, 28mm, Lee 0.6 ND grad, circ. polariser, 0.9 pro glass

There is something very satisfying about using filters.  I think part of the pleasure is that you’re forced to slow down.  It takes time to select the right filter(s), set them up and position them (although I expect one becomes much quicker with practice!).  I liked taking it slowly, just enjoying the process and the experience.  Of course, I also learned a lot and not just how to use the filters.  For example, I can now adjust the kelvin value in camera, which was rather fun.  I chose to emphasize the blue tint in the light.  Well, I like blue!

dorset

f/11, 8 secs, ISO 200, 24mm. Lee 0.6 ND grad, 0.9 pro glass

Of course, back at home, I had to convert some images to black and white.

black and white black and white

Now I just have to buy some filters and start putting every thing I learned into practice.  I leave you with what is possibly my favourite shot from the day. Of course, it’s a blue hour shot, and that’s my favourite time of day, as I have said often enough here.  It also breaks rules (look at that horizon in the middle and all that emptyish space) but, as you know by now,  I like breaking the rules.  We may not have had a sunset, but we made the most of what the weather dished up.

Dorset

f/11, 30 secs, ISO 200, 24 mm. Lee 0.6 ND grad, 0.9 pro glass

If you are interested in learning about using filters, I heartily recommend Jeremy’s workshops. And no-one is paying me anything to say so!

16 thoughts on “An adventure in Dorset, with filters

  1. Utterly fascinating! My favorite was the swirl (4th image)… while I gritted my teeth past the B&W conversions 😀 ! You’re so many giant steps ahead of me, but then you’re giving me stuff to aim for….

  2. I love the first shot of Pulpit Rock. Portland must be a great site for waves and stone as long as you don’t get blown away. I used to use filters with film cameras but I did not realise you could use them with digital.

  3. Excellent adventure and post. I like the part about taking your time and lingering over the preparation for a shot. Most of mine are unfortunately grabbed fast before rushing onwards…

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