Magic Cloth Photos


Return of the egg!!

Tagged: , Iceland , ice , ice lagoon , Icelandaurora , Aurora , aurora borealis , Night , Northern Lights , Jökulsárlón , glacial laggon , magic cloth , magic cloth technique

Good Morning photographers!

It was an amazing Icelandic view!! And certainly worth taking.

„I find humor in many situations and things and I tend to make photographs that point out these things. We photograph according to our character.” ― Huy Nguyen

The Magic Cloth Photography Technique

The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a an interesting technique to capture a scene with high dynamic range.

Maybe you want to give more exposure to the shadows like a regular northern light show, the The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a great accessory to have in your pocket and flexible for your needs.

Magic Cloth Tricks

What you need:

ND Filter: (not if you are shootig at night!)

I recommend circular filters for rainy days.

sturdy Tripod:

I have to get as low as possible for an interesting perspective so no center column are certainly nice options to look out for on your tripod. Stabilize your tripod so it is sturdy. Magic Cloth movemnts can cause vibrations. But, this is necessary for high end long exposure photography.

Avoid heightening the center column unless it is absolutely important. The center column is the weakest link of the system.

Sometimes a tripod has a hook betweent the legs, hang something from it to help with better strength. Often professionals carry a bag to put stones in to give a better strength which will stabilize the tripod still – even in strong winds.

Remote shutter:

Exposures can sometimes be longer than the 30 seconds the camera will let you do. Having a Remote shutter (sometimes called “Remote) will allow you to expose: as long as your battery allows.

Magic Sock:

Choose a large cloth like a large sock, or the same size black card. Must be large enough to completely cover the optics. Better to be Black. A dark colour is best. Use a straight edge of any shaped cloth.

What you do:


Begin with a filter or low light for a for a slower shutter speed, then over expose the image by two to three stops.

Shutter speed

There are benefits to using a long Shutter speed. 2-5 seconds requires a fast, but smooth action to darken the sky within a split second. 5-10 seconds lets you have a controlled exposure of the middleground.

Magic Cloth Action

Normally, I use very fast downward motion and slow, gentle upward movements.

Alternative Methods

Vary the Action to allow several short exposures of the clouds, rather than one initial exposure (30 sec and over exposures only).

Meter for the highlights and {multiply that shutter speed by4|then times four to get the total exposure time.

Check out some more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for reading!

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