Magic Cloth Photos


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The Magic Cloth Technique

The Magic Cloth Technique is a an interesting method to record a high dynamic range scene.

Maybe you need to give more exposure to the shadows like a regular sunset scene, the The Magic Cloth Technique is a useful tool for your camera bag and flexible for your needs.

Magic Cloth photo tips


Be sure to choose the right equipment for Neutral Density photography. A lens with a Some lenses are so wide, such as Nikon’s famous 14-24mm. The lens is great for long exposures at night, but dark filters for day time Long Exposure photography becomes complicated.
Canon pro-DSLRs are perfect for Neutral Density photography.

  • Simple features and total manual mode
  • Amazing live view able to fine focus stars!
  • Most features can be accessed with external buttons .
  • A little Red light on the back lets you know you are shooting. (useful at night)
Recommended Low light camera equipment Canon 5D
mark III
Canon 5D mark III

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

I prefer circular filters for wet atmospheres.

sturdy Tripod:

I like to get as low as possible for an interesting perspective so no center column are definitely nice characters on your tripod. Arrange your tripod so it becomes strong. Magic Cloth movemnts can cause vibrations. But, this is good practice for high end long exposure photography.

Avoid extending the center column unless you really need to. The center column is the least stable part of the set up.

If your tripod has a hook , suspend something from it to give extra stability. Many professionals carry a special tripod bag to put stones in to give a better stability which will support the tripod steady – perfect for long exposures.

Long Exposure photography info…


Remote shutter:

Exposure times can sometimes be longer than the 30 sec the camera will let you do. Having a Remote shutter (sometimes called “infra red Shutter release) will allow you to expose: as long as your battery allows.

Black cloth:

Pick a big cloth like a hat, or black card of similar size. Has to be able to cover the optics completely. Better to be Black. A non-reflective colour is better. Use any shaped cloth, as long as you can get a straight edge.

What you do:


Begin with a filter or low light for a for a slower shutter speed, then over expose the photo by 2 – 3 stops.

Exposure time

It is easier to set a long Exposure time. 2-5 sec requires a quick, but controlled action to darken the sky within a split second. 5-10 sec gives you a controlled exposure of the foreground.

Magic Cloth Action

I usually lower the cloth quickly and bring it up gently.


Change the Action to capture many short exposures of the clouds, rather than one initial exposure (30 sec and over exposures only).

Spot meter for the highlights and {multiply that shutter speed by 4|then x 4 to get the total shutter speed.

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

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“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
— Scott Lorenzo

What a fantastic moment it was to have the opportunity to photograph such incredible landscapes in a fantastic place.

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Tagged: , iceland , magic cloth , longexposure , photo tours , Tony Prower

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