Magical Long Exposures


It’s a bit naughty giving you a huge version to look at, but this was my favourite from our workshop last week, and it is Christmas (nearly). Thanks for all your support this year Flickr friends.

OMG I forgot to fix the horizon! This was one of those "rush the camera into position before the wave disappears" moments.

Winter Sunrise at Jökulsarlon... The best place in the world to photograph glacier ice

Conjured onto my sensor with the Magic Cloth Technique.

Photo quotes

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” ― Robert Frank

The Magic Cloth Photography Trick

The Magic Cloth Photography Trick is a an interesting way to expose a high dynamic range scene.

Maybe you have to give more exposure to the shadows like a average northern light show, the The Magic Cloth Photography Trick is a good accessory to have in your pocket and flexible for your needs.

Magic Cloth Tricks


Be sure to choose the right equipment for Long Exposure photography. A lens with a big too large, such as Nikon’s 14-24mm. The lens is perfect 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.

  • Simple features and total manual mode
  • Excellent live view able to focus on stars!
  • Most features can be changed with external buttons .
  • The Red light on the back lets you know you are shooting. (useful at night)
Essential Photo stuff

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

I suggest screw-on filters for rainy weather conditions.

sturdy Tripod:

I have to get low down for foreground intimacy so folding legs are really nice features to look out for choosing your tripod. Stabilize your tripod so it becomes strong. Moving the Magic Cloth can introduce vibrations. A solid tripod is essential for top quality long exposure photography.

Don’t raise the center column unless it is necessary. The center column is the least stable part of the set up.

If your tripod has a hook between the legs, hang things from it to provide better strength. Often professionals carry a special harness to place rocks and stones to give a better strength which will stabilize the tripod well – great for long exposure work.

Some more Long Exposure articles…


Remote release:

Shutter speeds can be longer than the 30 sec 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.

Black cloth:

Pick a big cloth like a large sock, or the same size black card. Should be able to cover the whole surface of the lens. Better to be Dark. A non-reflective colour is preferable. You can normally make a straight edge out of any cloth.

What to do:

Camera settings

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

Exposure time

There is an advantage to a long Exposure time. 2-5 sec requires a fast, but smooth movement to cover the sky within a reflex time. 5-10 sec allows for a controlled exposure of the foreground.

Magic Cloth Movement

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


Change the Movement to allow several short exposures of the sky, rather than one initial exposure (30 seconds + exposures only).

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

See more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Many thanks for visiting!

Check out more photography Pages:”>Link

“You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.”
— Unknown

What a fantastic moment it was to have the opportunity to photograph such wonderful scenes in a fantastic location.

Check out some latest articles

FlyTour – Westfjords – Iceland Aurora Photo tours Link

Tagged: , Iceland , ice , Jökulsárlón , glacial laggon , ice beach , Magic cloth

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This