Black Sand & Treasures
Iceland’s black sand beach at Jökulsárlón is a treasure chest full of crystal gems. If you catch the glacier ice beach at the right time, you can photograph the incredible colours of a sunset or sunrise. Sometimes a big wave hits the diamond beach at just the right moment for a long exposure photograph. This shot was taken early on an October morning on the South Coast of Iceland.
- CAMERA Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- LENS Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM
- ISO 800
- FOCAL LENGTH 24.0 mm (24.0 mm in 35mm)
- APERTURE f/6.3
- EXPOSURE TIME 5s (5)
“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” ― Eudora Welty
Tours Around Iceland
It is risky to use such a large aperture on a wide angle landscape photograph. I like to use f/6.3 on the beach, but I normally just have a sky in the background, which doesn’t have to be super sharp. The aperture of f/6.3 with a focal point that favours the foreground, leaves the distant mountain soft. This is audacious and experimental, and I risk all sorts of criticism by leaving a strong part of the landscape un-sharp. I do hope that it adds a mystic feel to the scene, giving it a fairy tale quality. What do you think?
The Magic Cloth Photography Technique
The Magic Cloth Photography Trick is an inexpensive way to capture a high dynamic range scene. If you lose the highlights when you take a regular landscape scene, the Magic Cloth Technique is a useful tool to carry. This photo was a 5 second exposure, which was calculated as 2 stops overexposed. My cloth was brought down quickly over the lens and then slowly up to expose the wave action on the beach.
A solid tripod is good practice for top-quality long-exposure photography. It is no good to use a light-weight tripod for serious long-exposure work. You need a tripod that will withstand a nudge from the wind or a wave if you are on the beach. I like to get low and close to the foreground for intimate details, so folding legs are certainly nice options to look out for when choosing your tripod.
Stabilize your tripod so it becomes sturdy. Moving your Magic Cloth can cause vibrations. Sometimes your tripod has a hook underneath, hang something from it to provide extra stability. Many travel photographers carry an empty “rock bag” that they can fill with stones to give a good weight which will hold the tripod still – even in strong winds.