Nothing into Something

The Lee Big stopper, transforming nothing into something

Anyone who has ever heard me talk or rant, knows I have somewhat of a love hate relationship  with the Lee Big Stopper. Its purpose, to drastically reduce the amount of light hitting the camera's sensor (by up to 10 stops), is something that camera manufacturers could implement as a "feature" on modern SLRs. Until they do, Lee are filling that gap with a piece of glass that transforms day into night.

Using the filter is tricky, but what is undeniable is its ability to transform something into nothing. Seconds become minutes, and minutes become hours. Leaving the user with a set of moody ghostly images.

( L) 1/3sec @F11, (R) 121 sec @ (F8)

( L) 1/3sec @F11, (R) 121 sec @ (F8)

Above, this image taken at the base of Howth Head in County Dublin shows were I am coming from. Taken at practically the same location, the rather dull image on the left taken at 1/3rd of a sec @F11 is transformed by the use of the "Big Stopper". A third of a second becomes two minutes, and that rather dull snapshot morphs into something a little more interesting.

The example, below shows its capability again.

Here perched on the edge of the rocky Inis Oirr coastline, seconds become minutes and a rather dull image is transformed into something a little more.

(L) 1/30th @F11 (R) 15sec @ F11

(L) 1/30th @F11 (R) 15sec @ F11

If you are thinking of buying one, or its new cousin The "little stopper" then have a look at the exposure card from Lee below. Be prepared for lots of standing around waiting. Not for the light but the camera this time :)

Lee Big Stopper Exposure Guide

Lee Big Stopper Exposure Guide


All images are © Peter McCabe