Landscape photography in Iceland


I am liking the space in this Winter Sunrise at Jökulsarlon. The sunrise colours reflected in the ice and wet sand really made my day. The fantastic scalloped textures in the ice are a treat for the eyes. The edge of the incoming surf gives the image an extra edge.

Dodged and burned onto my sensor with magic cloth long exposure. Use the Magic Cloth Technique.

Iceland Aurora Photo Tours on 2015-03-03 00:11:39

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This was taken with the Magic Cloth Technique. The Magic Cloth Technique is a fantastic technique to record a high dynamic range scene.


Dark Filter: (not if you are shooting at night!)

I prefer circular filters for wet weather conditions.

strong Tripod:

I have to get as low as possible for foreground detail so extra flexibility are certainly nice options to have on your tripod. Set up your tripod so it is sturdy. Magic Cloth movemnts can cause vibrations. A sturdy tripod is necessary for high end long exposure photography.

Try to avoid raising the center column unless you really need to. The center column is the least stable part of the tripod.

Sometimes your tripod has a hook under it, hang things from it to help with more sturdiness. Often professionals carry a bag to put stones in to give a heavy weight which will hold the tripod steady – fine for Magic Cloth photography.

Remote release:

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

Black cloth:

Choose a large cloth like a mouse-mat, or the same size black card. It should be large enough to cover the lens. Better to be Dark. A non-reflective colour is best. Use a straight edge of any shaped cloth.

What to do:

Camera settings

Start with a filter or low light for a for a slower shutter speed, then over expose the picture by 2 – 3 stops.

Exposure time

It is preferable to work with a long Exposure time. 2-5 sec requires a quick, but controlled movement to cover the sky within a reflex time. 5-10 sec allows for a controlled exposure of the middleground.

Magic Cloth Movement

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

Alternative Methods

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

Spot meter for the sky and

See more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for reading!

Check out more photography Pages:

Northern light photography – Controlling noise

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
— Aaron Siskind

Photo blog Articles – on my photo tutorial blog

Photo Blog – Seeing the un-seen

Did you know?

In the 1970s there was a fishing war between Iceland and the UK over fishing grounds, called the “Cod Wars”.

Tagged: , Iceland , ice , ice lagoon , glacial laggon , Jökulsárlón , Breiðamerkursandur , Magic cloth , Bulkr15

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