This night photograph, from Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in Iceland, captured a comet disappearing into the North sky over Iceland. This was the comet which promised to swing quite close to Earth, but this was as close as it got. Not sure what caused all that green blurring? Maybe it is comet gas? Or green Goblin Fire. This was new moon time at Jökulsarlon which is great for Northern lights photography.
Magic Cloth Photography
Magic Cloth Photography is a fantastic method to capture a high dynamic range scene.
When you like to balance the highlights in the sky with the shadows on the ground like a regular Northern lights photography, the Magic Cloth Photography is a free tool for your camera bag and flexible for your needs.
No Filters: It is important to shoot your Aurora scenes without filters.
Such a long exposure with stars – it’s important to have a perfectly still camera.
Sometimes a tripod has a hook , suspend something from it to give better strength. Many travel photographers carry a special harness to place rocks and stones to give a better stability which will support the tripod well – fine for Magic Cloth photography.
Exposure times can sometimes be longer than the 30 sec the camera will let you do. Having a Remote release (sometimes called “Remote) will allow you to open the shutter: as long as your power allows.
Pick a big cloth like a mouse-mat, or black card of similar size. Must be large enough to totally cover the lens. Better to be Black. A dark colour is preferable. You can normally make a straight edge out of any cloth. If it is cold, then a glove or mitten will suffice because it is such a long exposure, but try to aim for a straight edge on your glove.
When you have established the correct exposure for the Northern Lights (say 20 seconds), you can then multiply that time by 3 to allow extra exposure on the landscape. It is important not to allow any further exposure on the sky, once you have covered up. This can lead to undesirable star ghosts.
Magic Cloth Movement
Hands off while the sky exposes, then cover the whole lens and carefully raise the cloth so as not to expose any more sky. Then a slow up and down motion in the foreground area.
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
— Elliott Erwitt
Although the Northern lights require a long exposure, the object is often to reduce exposure time as much as possible to achieve a usable exposure and with minimal star trails.
Taken on July 17, 2011 on a photo tour through Iceland’s Southern Highlands (or Fjallabak – behind the mountains).
This is at the Fjaðrargljufur river canyon in South East Iceland. The unassuming river winds like a snake between the rocks.