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Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 6 December 2020 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.


If you have been following my photos for a while, you might recognise the part of Iceland where this photo comes from. Well, even if you have not been following, you probably would have seen it on many other photos, as this is one of the iconic places in Iceland for photographers - Vestrahorn mountain at Stokksnes Peninsula. It is not hard to see the attraction. Strangely shaped jagged peaks, black sand dunes overgrown with grass, coastal beauty and surreal scenery are what brought us back again to this place in 2019. While it has been photographed a lot, this location looks different every single time I see it and there are plenty of different compositions and perspectives to photograph. I also just simply enjoyed being out there, studying the mountain and feeling its strong presence around.

It was a beautiful crisp and fresh morning with minimal wind and conditions as clear as I can ever remember at Vestrahorn. Clouds would have been welcome to bring some colour to the sky but total lack of any prompted me to look for other compositions that would fill the frame with interest. I found this small pond and instantly liked the different contours visible in this scene, from the sharp edge of the mountains to the edges of the water which framed the main view. I also loved the different textures in this scene - the autumnal grass strands on the black sand dunes, the rugged texture of the mountains, the vein like lines in the foreground, even the bottom of the pond revealed some detail after careful positioning of the polarising filter. They all play a part and each has a different intensity to it so that they do not fight each other for attention (at least in my mind).

Beautiful warm glow of the morning sun over the grass and mountains was fantastic as well and it created interesting tonal contrast to the colder foreground. This really illustrated the morning perfectly for me. The sun was there and it was a touch deceptive because it barely produced any actual warmth, however, it made up for it in the intensity of the colours. At the same time, shaded areas were very cold and close to freezing. Not quite frozen/frosted yet but almost reaching that point. That coldness and lack of wind contribute to the wonderful clarity of this sunrise.

I did wish early on that there were clouds around, however, I have also learned over the years to try and embrace any conditions and use them as best as I can in my photos. It would have been easy to turn around early and head back to our cosy hotel but I was not going to give up that easily and I was very happy with a number of photo I took that morning. Yes, places like this make it a little easier with so many other interesting elements to work with. What also helped was that at this time of year the sun stays lower and lower over horizon for the entire day and the golden hour seemed to last just about forever. This allowed me to slowly make my way around the area to find different compositions.

I hope that you can share in the feeling of awe and beauty which I experienced during this fantastic morning at Stokksnes and they fill you with positive energy and thought, as they very much did for me on that day last year.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 1/5 second F/8.0 ISO 100 15 mm

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