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Dragon's Lair

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 15 March 2021 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.


Still in Iceland for today's post, this is a photo that had been on my mind for a long time now. I took it back in 2015 during our first visit to Iceland and its beautiful rugged coast near the town of Vik in the south. I have been think about processing this one for a while and never quite got around to it, however, I kept coming back to it and finally I decided to start working on it. Part of the reason that kept me delaying was that some time ago I already posted a slightly different vertical version of this scene with a faster shutter speed. I did love the long exposure one as well though and here it is.

My first thought when I went back to processing this photo was a somewhat Game of Thrones influenced 'surely this looks just like a dragon's lair would'. Your might even see a dragon's head and scales in the photo if you let your imagination roam a little bit. This was just the kind of scenery that drew me towards Iceland before our first trip. We loved this location and I especially enjoyed a morning of photography with superb conditions. I took a number of photos that I was very happy with that day and I also have not seen any other photos with similar composition from this area.

The long exposure had an interesting effect on the water in the foreground. The waves were quite large and they were arriving at longer intervals, from memory it was about fifteen to twenty seconds between waves. It meant that instead of the usual smooth misty effect you can actually see the outline of where each wave got to on the black sand. This created a cool layered effect that I really liked when I saw it on the back screen of my camera. Combined with the more usual misty feel of the water around the rocks and the softer clouds, it gave a the scene a different character to the more dynamic image that I posted before.

It is a good example of how you can achieve different takes on the same scene. In this case it was the use of different filters that allowed me to do so and sometimes the light might change dramatically during a shoot that can provide a completely different mood. The good thing about light in Iceland is that the best conditions in the mornings and evenings last a long time, provided there is no sudden change in the weather. This allowed me to get some dynamic images before still having lots of time to set up a long exposure and take this photo. Having allocated extra time to stay out there that morning and the ability to be extra patient helped a fair bit as well.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 170 second F/16.0 ISO 50 24 mm

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