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Elusive Landscape

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 8 February 2021 in Landscape & Rural.

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This is what I call it the most elusive mountain in Iceland, for me anyway. Not because it is hard to get to, as it is just off Route 1, but because every single time we went there it was covered in thick clouds. We drove past it a number of times and also went specifically there to take some photos but all we ever got were clouds. This time we were able to see it, even though clouds were still hanging around and waving their finger at me to take my chance before it's too late. Luckily, the highway was quiet at the time and I was able to photograph it with the road leading in, which was one of my pre-conceived compositions. The name of the elusive mountains is Lómagnúpur and it can be easily found in the south of Iceland.

I remember first time when were looking for it, we passed it on the way without even knowing where it was exactly located. it was not marked on our maps and I could not recall its name so we just went for a drive along the main highway and only after we got back we realised that we did not see it because it was hidden in the clouds. We were able to pinpoint its location for future attempts and while we were not able to see it, we were able to explore the area around it and visualise possible future compositions. One of them is the classic road photo that you see today. I was hoping to photograph the reflection of the mountain in a pool of water but there were not many around as there was not much rain in the few previous days. There was a pond on the other side but it was windy and there was no reflection. Also, Lómagnúpur looks a lot more impressive from this perspective. You can see its towering stature much better from the eastern side as well as its fantastic chiselled detail in the cliff. You might be able to spot a road sign in the distance ahead that can give a little bit of an idea of its size. It really does tower over the surroundings. I think it is more to do with its strong shape and large footprint because it is not that tall at about 760m high.

I had my 70-200mm lens attached as I was photographing some other peaks along the way and I played around with different focal lengths to see which one worked best. I was looking for that "compression" effect that long lens often produces but I did not want just the mountain in the frame. The leading road was an important element and I found that 70mm worked the best in this instance. There is enough of the road in the foreground while the mountain has that grand presence that I was looking for. Sometimes it is also worthwhile to take a few steps forward or back to see if that can improve the perspective. I did that here and decided to include the two poles in the foreground. I like the symmetry that they brought to the scene. They also act as kind of guides or markers that I found helped me to focus my eyes on the road and then towards the mountain.

We were into Autumn when we visited and I enjoyed the different tones of the landscape to the usual greens that we have seen previously. The grasses have turned golden yellow as did the base of the mound. It was cold, quite still and the crisp air made for great visibility despite the overcast conditions. It actually was the proverbial calm before the storm as over the next few days we experienced howling winds and usual dose of horizontal rain that we always get during our visits to Iceland. We could hardly get out of our cottage for a day or two and that made me even more happy that at least this time around Lómagnúpur was a little bit kinder to us and revealed its rugged beauty.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 1/100 second F/8.0 ISO 100 70 mm

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