Night Photos from Iceland


Milky way at Jökulsárlón

Posted by Iceland Aurora Photo Tours on 2010-10-13 12:04:14

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The Magic Cloth Photography Technique

The Magic Cloth Photography Technique is a an interesting method to expose a scene with high dynamic range.


Dark Filter: (only if you are shooting during the day)

I suggest circular filters for rainy days.

Heavy Tripod:

I love to get low down for foreground detail so no center column are certainly great options on your tripod. Set up your tripod to make it heavy. Vibrations can be caused by the movement of the Magic Cloth. But, this is good practice for top quality long exposure photography.

Avoid heightening the center column unless it is absolutely essential. The center column is the weak spot of the set up.

If your tripod has a hook , hang things from it to give better strength. Often Travel photographers carry a bag that they can fill with stones to give a better stability which will hold the tripod still – even in strong winds.

Remote release:

Exposures can be longer than the 30 seconds your camera will allow. Having a Remote release (sometimes called “Remote) will allow you to open the shutter: as long as your battery pack allows.

Black cloth:

Pick a big cloth like a mouse-mat, or black card of similar size. Has to be able to cover the optics completely. Better to be Black. A dark colour is best. Use a straight edge of any shaped cloth.

Magic cloth procedure:

Camera settings

Start with a dark filter or low light for a longer exposure time, then over expose the photo by 2 – 3 stops.

Exposure time

It is easier to set a long Exposure time. 2-5 seconds requires a quick, but controlled action to burn the sky within a reflex time. 5-10 seconds 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 many short exposures of the clouds, rather than one initial exposure (30 seconds or more exposures only).

Use your spot meter for the sky and multiply that shutter speed by 3 or 4

See more Ice and Auroras on our Photo Tours.

Thanks for reading!

Check out more photography Pages:

Two day South Coast & Jökulsarlon

“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
— Scott Lorenzo

Check out some of our other articles

Photo Blog – Guðmundur Jónsson hdl

Did you know this about Iceland?

Vatnajokull glacier in Southeast Iceland is the largest glacier in Europe.

Did you know this about Northern Lights?

Northern Lights look like dancing curtains of light when the particles of plasma move in response to the Earth’s magnetic field.

Tagged: , Jökulsárlón , milkyway , magiccloth , iceland , longexposure , jokulsarlon , glacial laggon , ice lagoon , vatnjokull , vatnjökull , photo tours , Tony Prower