Magic Cloth at low light


I think it is time to say good bye to Stokksness


You got tickets to the Gun show!

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.” ― Diane Arbus

The Magic Cloth Photography Trick

The Magic Cloth Photography Trick is a a unique technique to expose a scene with high dynamic range.

When you have to balance the highlights in the sky with the shadows on the ground like a typical northern light show, the The Magic Cloth Photography Trick is a useful accessory to have in your pocket.

Magic Cloth photo tips


Be sure to choose the right equipment for Long Exposure photography. A lens with a large= element is essential, I find things difficult with lenses lower than 58mm filter size. The larger the lens element, the truer the cloth shadow. Lenses can be too large, such as the Nikkor 14-24mm. For low light and night, this lens is fine, but dark filters for day time Long Exposure photography becomes complicated.
Canon pro-DSLRs are perfect for Long Exposure photography.

  • Simple features and manual mode
  • Fantastic live view can focus on stars!
  • Important features can be changed with external buttons and dials.
  • The Red light on the back lets you know you are shooting.
Recommended Gear Canon 5D  mark III Canon 5D mark III

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

I suggest round filters for damp days.

sturdy Tripod:

I have to get down to the ground for foreground intimacy so quickly adjusting legs are definitely good features on your tripod. Set up your tripod to make it strong. Magic Cloth movemnts can cause vibrations. But, this is essential for fine art long exposure photography.

Try to avoid raising the center column unless it is absolutely essential. The center column is the weak spot of the system.

Sometimes your tripod has a hook under it, hang something from it to help with more sturdiness. Many professionals carry a special tripod bag that they can fill with stones to give a better strength which will support the tripod still – even in strong winds.

More Long Exposure photography info…


Remote shutter:

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

Black cloth:

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

What you do:


Begin with a filter or darkness for a longer exposure time, then over expose the scene by 2 – 3 stops.

Exposure time

It is easier to set a long Exposure time. 2-5 seconds requires a fast, but smooth action to cover the sky within a split second. 5-10 seconds allows for a controlled exposure of the foreground.

Magic Cloth Motion

Normally, I use very fast downward motion and slow, controlled upward movements.


Vary the Motion to allow several short exposures of the clouds, rather than one initial exposure (30 seconds + exposures only).

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

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

Many thanks for visiting!

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“A tear contains an ocean. A photographer is aware of the tiny moments in a persons life that reveal greater truths.”
— Anonymous

What a great moment it was to have the chance to snap such incredible landscapes in a great place.

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Photo Blog : Magic Cloth Image focus – LandmannaMossy Link

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