Magic Cloth Photography – Magical Long Exposures

All from the Same workshop Ladies and Gentlemen! Our Winter workshops are rich with great locations and fantastic photo opportunities. If you have a good camera and lens you can’t really go wrong and with the right guide you will return with stunning images.

Saving the best til last and uploading it on a Monday morning (in case you hate Mondays!!)

Posted by Iceland Aurora Photo Tours on 2016-05-23 07:59:21

It definitely was an incredible Icelandic glacier lagoon!! And definitely worth the trip.

The Magic Cloth Technique

The Magic Cloth Technique is a a unique way to record a scene with high dynamic range.

Maybe you want to give more exposure to the shadows like a normal sunrise beach, the The Magic Cloth Technique is a good tool for your camera kit – so convenient and inexpensive.

Magic Cloth Tricks


Neutral Density Filter: (Not nightime, only day!)

I recommend round filters for rainy conditions.

sturdy Tripod:

I like to get as low as possible for foreground intimacy so extra flexibility are definitely great characters to look out for on your tripod. Set up your tripod so it becomes sturdy. Vibrations can be caused by the movement of the Magic Cloth. But, this is important for fine art long exposure photography.

Try to avoid heightening the center column unless you really need to. The center column is the weak spot of the set up.

Sometimes your tripod has a hook between the legs, suspend things from it to give better strength. Many travel photographers carry a special bag that they can fill with stones to give a good weight which will support the tripod still – even in strong winds.

Long Exposure articles…

8 Tips for Long Exposure Photography

Shutter bulb:

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

Magic Sock:

Choose a large cloth like a mouse-mat, or black card of similar size. Has to be able to cover the glass completely. Better to be Black. A dark colour is better. Use a straight edge of any shaped cloth.

What you do:

Camera settings

Begin with a filter or low light for a for a slower shutter speed, then over expose the photograph by two to three stops.

Exposure time

It is preferable to work with a long Exposure time. 2-5 seconds requires a quick, but controlled action to darken the sky within a reflex time. 5-10 seconds gives you a controlled exposure of the middle-ground.

Magic Cloth Action

In many situations I bring the cloth down quickly and up slowly.

Alternative Methods

Change the Action to capture a dozen short exposures of the sky, rather than one initial exposure (30 seconds & over exposures only).

Meter for the sky and {multiply that shutter speed by 3 or 4|then x 4 to get the total shutter speed.

See more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Many thanks for visiting!

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

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