Magic Cloth Photography


Never noticed until now, the photographer getting soaked in the middle of the ocean.

The photographer is called Leon and this is the picture he was after.

This was on our first Winter Workshop in October 2012.

Tagged: , Iceland , ice , glacial laggon , Jökulsárlón , magic cloth

Nature is BOSS!

„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 Technique

The Magic Cloth Technique is a a clever method to record a scene with high dynamic range.

When you need to balance the highlights in the sky with the shadows on the ground like a average sunset scene, the The Magic Cloth Technique is a great gadget for your camera bag and flexible for your needs.

Magic Cloth photo tips


Be sure to choose the right equipment for Long Exposure photography. A lens with a Some lenses are too large, such as the famous Nikkor 14-24mm. The lens is amazing for long exposures at night, but dark filters for day time Neutral Density photography becomes complicated.
Canon pro-DSLRs are perfect for Long Exposure photography.

  • Great features and true manual mode
  • Fantastic live view able to see auroras before humans!
  • Essential features can be edited with external buttons and dials.
  • A little Red light on the back lets you know you are taking a shot.
Recommended Gear

Dark Filter: (not at night, only in daylight)

I recommend circular filters for wet weather.

strong Tripod:

I like to get down to the ground for foreground intimacy so extra flexibility are definitely good characters to have on your tripod. Set up your tripod to make it sturdy. Magic Cloth movemnts can cause vibrations. A solid tripod is necessary for high end long exposure photography.

Try not to heighten the center column unless you really need to. The center column is the weakest link of the system.

Sometimes your tripod has a hook underneath, hang things from it to provide better strength. Often professionals carry an empty “rock bag” to place rocks and stones to give a better stability which will support the tripod steady – great for long exposure work.

Long Exposure articles…


Remote release:

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

Magic cloth:

Choose a large cloth like a hat, or the same size black card. Must be large enough to totally cover the optics. Better to be Dark. A non-reflective colour is better. Use a straight edge of any shaped cloth.

What to do:


Begin with a filter or darkness for a to acheive a long exposure, then over expose the photo by 2 – 3 stops.

Exposure time

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

Magic Cloth Action

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

Different Methods

Change the Action to allow many short exposures of the clouds, instead of a single medium exposure (30 seconds + exposures only).

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

Check out some Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for reading!

Check out more photography Pages:
<a href="https://www.icelandaurora.com/phototutorials/2014/07/tonys-magic-cloth-technique/

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”
— Ambrose Bierce

Have you ever been so completely at one with the great outdoors behind a lens on a session?

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