A shattering experience
I will at some point get round to writing a comparison between the Lee and Hitech ten stop filters but in the mean time I just wanted to write a short post about my recent experiences with Lee and their filters.
There's a spot on the coast at Felixstowe that I'd already visited a few times to take some long exposures of the unusual sea defences but each time either the weather or the tide height hasn't been right. Finally on my fourth visit everything seemed to be falling into place and I clambered up the rocks from the beach for a slightly elevated position to look down on the sea defences sweeping away to my right.
Once I'd found my composition I set the camera up on the tripod, fitted the filter holder and started to position filters. It was a bright day and I was going to need to stack a 3 stop pro glass ND filter with my 10 stop big stopper to get the length of exposure I needed to totally smooth out the sea as well as an ND grad to add a touch of drama to the sky. As I slid the pro glass filter into the middle slot I noticed it felt a bit looser than usual but carried on setting up the shot regardless. Ok I'm sure you can see where this is heading and sure enough as I was about to fire the shutter the filter dropped from the holder and smashed rather noisily to pieces on the rocks below!
After a brief moment spent staring dumbly at the empty space in the filter holder the swearing started, this was followed by a few more moments of trying to remember how much that thing had cost me which inevitably prompted more bad language and then I did an inexplicable thing. I still hadn't got my photo so rather than check the filter holder to see what was wrong I took out another filter... a 3 stop hard edged grad this time, which could at a pinch serve as a full ND filter by pulling it all the way over the front of the lens, fitted it and started shooting.
I got the shot I was after (above) and luckily the grad filter survived the experience intact but I was around £120 worse off a bit miffed! Having checked the filter holder it looked like the screws had worked a bit loose but I got in touch with Lee and they suggested I returned it along with the broken filter for them to check.... which I did.
Happy ending... Monday morning I received an email letting me know my package had arrived with them and they'd sort it out as soon as possible and two days later a parcel arrived for me containing a brand new foundation kit and brand new replacement pro glass filter... while I've never been disappointed with a Lee product or their service, I thought this was exceptional service and deserved a mention so thanks to Graham Merritt at Lee!