This past Sunday, I was out hiking to Lost Lake in the James Peak Wilderness. The day was actually much nicer than expected and the hike was full of great photographic opportunities.
The main purpose for the hike was to get some unique compositions with my Lee "Big Stopper" filter.
The first place I chose to stop and use the filter was this nice little meadow with a cabin in the mid-ground and some beautiful peaks and great cloud action. I set up the camera/tripod to ensure I had the right composition, then set my f-stop & shutter speed with no filters on (manual mode). Using this information (1/13th@f/22, ISO100), I attached the Lee Big Stopper (10 stop ND filter) and my Lee Circular Polarizer filter, shifted to Bulb mode and used my remote trigger to open the shutter for 54 seconds. The one thing I forgot to account for was the extra ~1-1/2 stops the CP filter adds, which means I should have added an additional 10-15 seconds to my exposure time.
I shoot in RAW, so I was able to make the minor adjustment in LR4 during post...but a good piece of information to remember. Had I stacked a 3rd filter (had considered using my 0.6 GND filter as well), that would have added an additional 2 stops and another 20 seconds or so to the exposure time.
The Backcountry Cabin image came out pretty good overall, so I'm happy:
Backcountry Cabin (James Peak Wilderness, Lost Lake Trail):
Once I was done shooting at that location, I continued on my trek to Lost Lake stopping along the way at a few spots here and there (I'm a sucker for shooting water falls, so I did get a few of those in, with the Big Stopper/CP combo as well).
Middle Boulder Creek Falls (James Peak Wilderness, Lost Lake Trail):
On to the main point of this blog entry "Turn Around!"
What the heck do I mean? Well, let me tell you; While shooting Lost Lake and the backcountry peaks of the James Peak Wilderness, I was able to get another nice big stopper/CP composition with nice dramatic clouds:
Lost Lake & James Peak Wilderness (James Peak Wilderness, Lost Lake Trail):
Once done, I removed the Big Stopper and put it back in its' filter pouch and was about to put the camera back in my backpack and put the tripod on the pack to head back to the trailhead for the drive home. As I turned around, I was greeted with this image (which I think was the best of the entire day!!!):
Lost Reflections (James Peak Wilderness, Lost Lake Trail):
This shot reminded me of one other instance this past Summer, where I was so focused on capturing a subject that I almost missed a fantastic shot. I was on my way back to the trailhead after hiking to Blue Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and saw a cow moose and two calves off in the distance, so I scurried around a rock outcropping to see if I could get a better shot angle. Unfortunately, a couple people were too aggressive in chasing the moose and they hurried off before I could get a shot. As I turned around, I was blessed with the following shot (which amazed me because it was really windy, except for when I was composing and shooting this image):
Reflections (Indian Peaks Wilderness, Blue Lake Trail):
So, when you are out shooting...remember to TURN AROUND! What you see may surprise you (and you may get the gallery shot of the day).