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Ice cave Oskar

Taken on March 24, 2017

Location: In the ice caves under Vatnjökull glacier in South East Iceland. This is a very popular ice cave and is normally full of tourists. On this morning, we were in there hours before the tourists. The caves are formed by glacier melt water during the warmer Summer months. They are not accessible when the glacier rivers are high. They usually only become accessible during Mid-Winter.

Camera settings

  • ƒ/8
  • 24 mm
  • 30 seconds
  • 200

Mode: AV mode with + 2 stops over (compensation +/-).
Focus: f/4 hyperfocal mark. This is slightly weighted to the background.

Camera equipment

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • EF24mm f/1.4L II USM
  • Medium weight Gitzo
  • 6 stop B&W ND filter
  • Magic Cloth = Black woolen mitten.

The Canon 5D mark iii Canon 5D
mark III
Canon 5D mark III Recommended for Magic Cloth Photography

The Canon EF-24mm f/1.4Canon
EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM A nice prime lens for landscape.

Oskar Ice man

Magic Cloth

Long exposure = 30 seconds.

This is a special application of the Magic Cloth. This is one of those situations where the technique is superior over other dynamic range photography techniques.

This was an upside down magic cloth technique. Rather than a quick exposure on the top part and then a longer exposure on the bottom, this technique was a quick exposure on the bottom and a longer exposure on the top. This creates a balanced photograph.

Over the 30 seconds, the bottom part – including the floor and model was exposed for just 2 – 3 seconds. The top half had a much longer exposure to bring out the colours in the dark cave ceiling. The very top of the ceiling would have had about 20 seconds total exposure time. This gives more colours and dynamic range to the photograph.

Special application

The reason why this has an advantage over other dynamic range techniques is because it naturally has a shorter exposure on the model. Oskar was in a comfortable position and was very still throughout the photo shoot. The ambient light entering the cave made the floor and the model brighter than the ice cave ceiling. If we were using graduated filters to balance the dynamic range, the model would have been exposed for the full exposure time. With the Magic Cloth, he was exposed for a 10th of the exposure time. The result is a sharp model and a well exposed ice cave ceiling. This is a good combination in low light photography.

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