Magic Cloth at low light


Even a decapitated head can breathe fire… but not for long!

Prumpt onto my sensor with magic cloth long exposure. Use the Magic Cloth Technique.

Tagged: , Iceland , ice , Breiðamerkursandur , glacial laggon , Jökulsárlón , Magic cloth

“Go ahead, make my day.”!

Have you ever felt so totally at one with the landscape behind a lens on a shoot?

“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” ― Abraham Lincoln

The Magic Cloth Technique

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

Maybe you want to balance the highlights in the sky with the shadows on the ground like a average aurora display, the The Magic Cloth Technique is a good accessory to carry – so convenient and inexpensive.

Magic Cloth Tricks


Dark Filter: (not at night, only in daylight)

I suggest round filters for wet atmospheres.

Heavy Tripod:

I like to get down to the ground for better details in the foreground so folding legs are certainly great options to look out for on your tripod. Arrange your tripod so it becomes heavy. Vibrations can be caused by the movement of the Magic Cloth. A solid tripod is necessary for high end long exposure photography.

Try to avoid heightening the center column unless you really need to. The center column is the weakest link of the system.

If your tripod has a hook underneath, hang things from it to help with better strength. Often Travel photographers carry a special harness to place rocks and stones to give a better strength which will support the tripod still – great for long exposure work.

More Long Exposure articles…

Shoot Stunning Seascapes With These Long Exposure Tips

Remote release:

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

Black cloth:

Choose a large cloth like a hat, or the same size black card. Should be large enough to cover the optics. Better to be Dark. A dark colour is preferable. The cloth can be any shape, but you need to be able to create a straight edge.

The Magic Cloth Technique:


Start with a filter or darkness for a for a slower shutter speed, then over expose the photograph by 2 – 3 stops.

Shutter speed

It is easier to set a long Shutter speed. 2-5 seconds requires a quick, but controlled action to burn the sky within a split second. 5-10 seconds lets you have a extra exposure of the middleground.

Magic Cloth Action

I usually bring the cloth down quickly and bring it up carefully.

Different ways

Vary the Action to capture many short exposures of the clouds, rather than one initial exposure (30 seconds + exposures only).

Use your spot meter for the highlights and {multiply that shutter speed by |then x 4 to get the total exposure time.

Check out some Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for popping by

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“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
— Aaron Siskind

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