Magic Cloth at low light

Jökulsarlon Aurora Pano

Made from 2 horizontal frames.

Tagged: , iceland , aurora , magiccloth , photo tours , jokulsarlon , Tony Prower

Buckets list checked!

Have you experienced a feeling so 100% at one with the great outdoors behind a tripod on a session?

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

The Magic Cloth Photography Technique

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The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a fantastic way to photograph a scene with high dynamic range.

If you have to avoid burning the highlights in the sky like a regular northern light show, the The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a useful tool to carry – so convenient and inexpensive.

Hints for Magic Cloth photography


Dark Filter: (not if you are shooting at night!)

I prefer screw-on filters for rainy atmospheres.

sturdy Tripod:

I like to get low down for better details in the foreground so no center column are really nice options to look out for on your tripod. Set up your tripod so it is heavy. Moving the Magic Cloth can introduce vibrations. A solid tripod is essential for top quality long exposure photography.

Avoid raising the center column unless it is essential. The center column is the weak spot of the system.

If your tripod has a hook , suspend things from it to help with more sturdiness. Often professionals carry a bag to place rocks and stones to give a good weight which will stabilize the tripod still – fine for Magic Cloth photography.

Thanks for Reading!!

More Long Exposure articles…

Long Exposure Photography Tips

Remote release:

Exposures can sometimes be longer than the 30 seconds your camera will allow. Having a Remote release (sometimes called “Remote) will allow you to expose: as long as your power allows.

Magic Sock:

Choose a large cloth like a hat, or black card of similar size. Must be large enough to cover the optics. Better to be Black. A dark colour is best. You can normally make a straight edge out of any cloth.

What to do:


Use a filter or low light for a longer exposure time, then over expose the photo by two to three stops.

Shutter speed

There is an advantage to a long Shutter speed. 2-5 seconds requires a quick, but controlled action to cover the sky within a reflex time. 5-10 seconds gives you a extra exposure of the middleground.

Magic Cloth Movement

I usually lower the cloth as fast as possible and bring it up carefully.

Alternative Methods

Change the Movement to allow a dozen short exposures of the clouds, instead of a single medium exposure (30 sec and over exposures only).

Use your spot meter for the sky and {multiply that shutter speed by three or four|then times four to get the total shutter speed.

Check out some Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for popping by

Check out more photography Pages:

Winter Workshops

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
— Don McCullin

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