Magical Iceland Landscapes


Green fingers stretching over the ice at Jökulsarlon... The best place in the world to photograph Auroras.

Dodged and burned onto my sensor with magic cloth long exposure. Use the Magic Cloth Technique.

Tagged: , Iceland , ice , ice lagoon , glacial laggon , Jökulsárlón , Aurora , aurora borealis , Night , Northern Lights , Magic cloth

Amazing adventure!

What a fabulous moment it was to have the opportunity to snap such incredible landscapes in a fabulous place.

„People feel good in front of the camera only when you learn to help them feel comfortable being there! It is about infusing them with your passion and educating them about the how much they will enjoy the process.” ― David Beckstead

The Magic Cloth Photography Technique

The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a an interesting way to capture a high dynamic range scene.

When you like to avoid burning the highlights in the sky like a average sunrise beach, the The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a good accessory to have in your pocket and flexible for your needs.

Hints for Magic Cloth photography


Dark Filter: (only if you are shooting during the day)

I suggest round filters for wet weather conditions.

Heavy Tripod:

I love to get as low as possible for better details in the foreground so no center column are certainly good options to look out for on your tripod. Set up your tripod so it is sturdy. Vibrations can be caused by the movement of the Magic Cloth. But, this is essential for high end long exposure photography.

Don’t raise the center column unless it is essential. The center column is the weak spot of the set up.

If your tripod has a hook between the legs, hang things from it to give better strength. Often professionals carry an empty “rock bag” that they can fill with stones to give a better strength which will hold the tripod nicely – perfect for long exposures.

Remote shutter:

Shutter speeds can be longer than the 30 sec your camera will allow. 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:

Choose a large cloth like a hat, or black card of similar size. Must be large enough to completely cover the glass. Better to be Black. A dark colour is best. The cloth can be any shape, but you need to be able to create a straight edge.

What to do:


Use a dark filter or darkness for a to acheive a long exposure, then over expose the photograph by two to three stops.

Exposure time

It is easier to set a long Exposure time. 2-5 sec requires a quick, but controlled movement to cover the sky within a reflex time. 5-10 sec allows for a extra exposure of the foreground.

Magic Cloth Motion

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


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

Use your spot meter for the highlights and {multiply that shutter speed by four|then x 4 to get the total shutter speed.

See more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for sharing!

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
— Ralph Hattersley

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