Ice chunks feel amorous on the beach at Jökulsarlon. This couple embraced as they faced the Atlantic Ocean. The distant clouds echoed their shape.

Posted by Iceland Aurora Photo Tours on 2012-11-19 15:01:54

Exposed with the Magic Cloth

The Magic Cloth Technique includes controlling the total amount of exposure during an extended exposure to different areas of a landscape. Under ordinary conditions, the sky part of a landscape is lighter than the lower half. So that you can get the best exposure of both the skies and also the land, photographers have traditionally employed filters that are darker at the top and clear at the bottom. Additionally they come as soft or hard grads. Afterward there are inverse grads to contemplate where the top half is darker, but gets somewhat lighter to the top. The Magic Cloth method gives a similar effect to your soft grad filter and can also behave as a Reverse Grad.


Long Exposure = around 10 sec for regular use, no less than 2 sec. (to reach this you’ve to shoot when the light fades or use a dark filter.)


  • Sturdy Tripod = vital for long exposure function.
  • Digital Camera = Bridge, modern mirror-less or dSLR camera – live view is a bonus to take an extended exposure.
  • Lenses = around 17-35mm is the very be

  • st focal length, choose a lens with a large front glass to maneuver the cloth.
  • A 6 stop ND filter For daytime work.

  • Dark Material or card (larger than the front of lens and using a straight-edge)
  • Settings
    2 stops over compensation (liveview) or 3 stops over (without live-view), 2 second delay
    As an example, a 10 second exposure would be a sky exposure of 1 second. Enable 1 sec for the skies exposure when the shutter is open. Immediately lower the cloth to cover the entire lens, then carefully lift the cloth to the height of the horizon. Do this a few times over the remaining exposure time for around 3:1 ration. Don’t permit the cloth to become still throughout the exposure. Extending the shutter speed and dropping the cloth quicker over the sky will increase the ratio.

    Magic cloth photography

    “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” ― Ansel Adams

    Witness more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Workshops.

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    Facts about glaciers

    Glaciers are massive pieces of ice that ‘flow’ like slow rivers. They evolve over hundreds of years where snow compacts & turns into ice.

    Multi-day tours

    These are multi-day photo tours that include Jökulsarlon glacier ice beach. If conditions are good these tours can include sunrise photography on the diamond ice beach.

    6 day Diamonds & Dragons

    This multi-day tour will take you around the best of South & West Iceland in six days. Touring from North West to South East with many top photo locations.
    Prices from $7,536USD

    Five day Beautiful South

    This photo tour combines the Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes Peninsular , South coast & Jökulsarlon photo tours to give a complete South Iceland experience.

    Four day Geysirs & Glaciers

    This four day Photo Tour of the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, South coast, Jökulsárlón and Höfn offer a huge range of photo opportunities.

    Winter photo workshops with Tony Prower

    5 full photography days
  • South Coast & Vatnjökull region
  • Ice and Aurora photography
  • Regular dates from Oct – March
  • SiXPaXMaX
  • Prices from: $1850 USD
  • Single room supplement: $240 USD
  • Seven day Full Circle

    Iceland has a rich variety of landscapes and seascapes and this tour is designed to enhance that variety & capture Iceland’s full diversity in a week long tour around the country.
    Prices from $8,847 USD

    Two day South Coast & Jökulsarlon

    This 2 day Iceland Photo Tour includes Jökulsarlon and the South coast – with chance for Auroras on the glacier lagoon and sunrise on the ice beach.

    Three day Jökulsarlon, Vestrahorn & South Coast

    Feel the powerful silence of Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon and explore the South Coast & Vesturhorn – one of our best Iceland Photo Tour for Auroras.

    Custom Photo Tour

    If you want something that is not listed or you want see Iceland at your own pace on a bespoke tour, our Custom Photo Tours go to all parts of Iceland.

    FlyTour – Jökulsarlon

    Spend a day or 2 in the Vatnjökull area of Iceland. This Iceland photo tour puts you right in the heart of Iceland’s stunning Glacier landscapes with one of our photo guides. These totally flexible photo tours can be booked on the fly and we can sometimes run with flexible dates to avoid a bad weather trip.

    South Iceland Photo Tours

    Our guided, multi-day photo tours of South Iceland will give you incredible photo opportunities. The South coast is rich with, glacier ice, towering waterfalls and black sand beaches.
    Book online from $2,291 USD

    Glacier Ice Photography

    Here are some more pictures of ice in Iceland.

    Mono Ice

    The lagoon at Jökulsarlon is the deepest lake in Iceland, some parts go as deep as 200m, quite impressive considering the lake was formed in 1923. Jökulsarlon means “the lake of strange mushrooms”. This shot was taken on a very misty Summer night. What I love about fog or mist is that sometimes you see […]

    Sweet as a nut

    This gem of ice on the smooth black sand of Breiðarmerkasandur was beautiful in the morning light. The window in the sky was prefect to be able to balance the composition in a very simple but effective way. Using the Magic Cloth, I was able to balance the exposure and take advantage of the wave […]

    Jokulsarlon Ripples

    In February the ice on the glacier lagoon at Jökulsarlon can be packed together tightly. The main reason is that over the Winter, the ice hasn’t melted and instead has built up on the glacier lagoon. When the ice on Jökulsarlon is fully loaded, the surface of the ice becomes sculpted by the strong winds. […]

    Ice beach lobster

    The Ice Beach at Jökulsarlon offers so many opportunities for unique photographs. I frame can look completely different a few seconds later. The Ice beach is called Breiðamerkursandur which means “The squirrel’s nutsack” although the translation has been lost over 1000 years. This shot was a mixture of the right timing and composition, al that […]

    Zig-Zag Wander

    This was a photographer-crowded beach with few pieces of ice in January. Imagine my luck to spot the zig-zag in these chunks just as the clouds were completing the zig-zag. The moral of the story here is that sometimes, even when things seem hopeless there are treasures to be found. Settings f/8 5 sec iso800 […]

    Deep Purple

    There is no smoke on the water but instead a pretty line and some nice reflected colours on the wet sand left by the ocean as she pounds the glacier ice chunks that rest on the black, volcanic sand. This was on a Winter workshop Feb 2016. On Flickr: Canon 5D3 Canon Ef 24mm f/1.4 […]