Title: The Moon, The Sun and The Instruction Manual
Location & Date: Maskinonge Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park | 2015
Camera Set-Up: Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 @ 16mm (Lee Big Stopper + Lee .6 Soft Edge ND Filter)
Shutter Speed: 6 seconds
This would have been a great shot, but alas it’s only a passible image thanks to cropping and a bit of good luck. In the summer of 2016, I invested in a new filter system for my camera, one that would allow me to capture better landscape images and circumvent issues with dust on my censor. You see, dust is not an issue for photographs taken with large telephoto lenses, but can create major problems for landscape shots that have a large depth of field (small aperture). One work around (aside from having a dedicated landscape camera set-up and that’s out of the question for me, given the cost and priority I place on wildlife images) is to use a ‘big stopper’ or, essentially, a filter that artificially lowers the light in an image and allows for a long exposure (the byproduct is, for example, blurred water and clouds) that, usually, can only be achieved with an f-stop set to a high number. But the big stopper – and its subsequent long exposure – only works when you have a sturdy tripod, a remote trigger and a means to block any light from leaking into your camera. Check. Check. And, um, oops. I had forgotten to block light from coming in through my camera’s viewfinder – something I would have been able to remember if I had even bothered to look at my filter’s manual. Rookie mistake. And the price? Awful pink and greens in the lower half of my shot, ruining my composition and the overall colours. Lesson learned.