Magic Cloth Photos


Blue, blue electric blue, is the colour of my room..

Tagged: , Iceland , Jökulsárlón , magic cloth

Amazing adventure!

What a great moment it was to have the opportunity to shoot such incredible landscapes in a great place.

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Magic Cloth Technique

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

If you like to give more exposure to the shadows like a average northern light show, the The Magic Cloth Technique is a useful gadget for your camera bag – so convenient and inexpensive.

Hints for Magic Cloth photography


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

I prefer circular filters for rainy atmospheres.

sturdy Tripod:

I love to get low down for foreground intimacy so no center column are really great characters on your tripod. Stabilize your tripod to make it sturdy. Vibrations can be caused by the movement of the Magic Cloth. But, this is good practice for fine art long exposure photography.

Avoid raising the center column unless it is absolutely important. The center column is the weakest link of the system.

Sometimes a tripod has a hook under it, hang something from it to help with extra stability. Often Travel photographers carry a special harness to put stones in to give a better stability which will stabilize the tripod nicely – great for long exposure work.

More Long Exposure hints…

Long Exposure Photography: 15 Stunning Examples

Shutter bulb:

Shutter speeds can sometimes be longer than the 30 sec your camera will allow. Having a Shutter bulb (sometimes called “Remote) will allow you to expose: as long as your battery allows.

Black cloth:

Pick a big cloth like a hat, or the same size black card. Has to be able to cover the optics completely. Better to be Black. A dark colour is better. Use a straight edge of any shaped cloth.

Magic cloth procedure:


Use a dark filter or darkness for a longer exposure time, then over expose the picture by two to three stops.

Shutter speed

It is easier to set a long Shutter speed. 2-5 sec requires a quick, but controlled movement to burn the sky within a split second. 5-10 sec gives you a controlled exposure of the middleground.

Magic Cloth Movement

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

Different ways

Change the Movement to capture a dozen short exposures of the clouds, rather than one initial exposure (30 sec or more exposures only).

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

Check out some Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for popping by

Check out more photography tours:
2 day Jökulsarlon photo tour

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

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