Magic Cloth Images


A tough place to compose!!

Posted by Iceland Aurora Photo Tours on 2013-09-27 01:36:43

Amazing adventure!

It certainly was an outstanding Icelandic scene!! And certainly worth the trip.

Be sure to choose the right equipment for Magic Cloth photography. A lens with a big too large, such as the famous Nikkor 14-24mm. For low light and night, this lens is fine, but dark filters for day time photography becomes complicated.
Canon pro-DSLRs are perfect for Magic Cloth photography.

  • Simple features and total manual mode
  • Great live view able to focus on stars!
  • Important settings can be accessed with external buttons and dials.
  • A little Red light on the back lets you know you are taking a picture. (useful at night)
Recommended Photo stuff Canon 5D  mark III Canon 5D mark III

Magic Cloth Photography

Magic Cloth Photography is a a unique method to record a high dynamic range scene.

When you have to give more exposure to the shadows like a normal sunrise beach, the Magic Cloth Photography is a useful gadget for your camera kit – so convenient and inexpensive.

Hints for Magic Cloth photography


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

I prefer round filters for damp conditions.

Heavy Tripod:

I love to get down to the ground for better details in the foreground so no center column are certainly good characters to look out for choosing your tripod. Stabilize your tripod so it is heavy. Vibrations can be caused by the movement of the Magic Cloth. But, this is good practice for fine art long exposure photography.

Try to avoid extending the center column unless it is absolutely important. The center column is the weakest link of the tripod.

Sometimes a tripod has a hook under it, suspend something from it to give better strength. Many professionals carry a special harness to put stones in to give a heavy weight which will stabilize the tripod steady – even in strong winds.

Long Exposure tips…

Shoot Stunning Seascapes With These Long Exposure Tips

Remote shutter:

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

Magic Sock:

Pick a big cloth like a large sock, or black card of similar size. It should be large enough to completely cover the glass. Better to be Black. A dark colour is better. Use any shaped cloth, as long as you can get a straight edge.

The Magic Cloth Technique:


Begin with a dark filter or darkness for a for a slower shutter speed, then over expose the photo by two to three stops.

Shutter speed

It is preferable to work with a long Shutter speed. 2-5 sec requires a quick, but controlled movement to cover the sky within a split second. 5-10 sec gives you a extra exposure of the middleground.

Magic Cloth Action

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

Alternative ways

Vary the Action to capture several short exposures of the clouds, instead of a single medium exposure (30 sec and over exposures only).

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

Check out some Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for reading!

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

Check out some other articles

Photo Blogger – Magic Cloth Technique https://www.icelandaurora.com/phototutorials/magic-cloth-photography/

Tagged: , Fjallsárlón , Iceland , ice , ice lagoon , glacial laggon , magic cloth , magic cloth technique

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