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Boundaries of Reality

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 18 August 2021 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.


Some of the scenery that we can see in the world around us can be just so unreal and mesmeriing. This is the mind bending view of Leitisvatn Lake (also known as Sørvágsvatn) sitting atop Trælanípa cliffs on Vágar in the Faroe Islands. It makes for a wonderful sight in real life but in photos it comes across really pushing the boundaries of reality in terms of how we perceive depth and dimension. I remember looking at photos from this spot a while ago before even contemplating visiting the Faroes and wondering as to how the heck can this work in reality.

It indeed is a lake and its surface is around 40m above sea level but well below the edge of the cliffs that you can see here. Photos taken there can create an illusion that the lake is situated above the cliffs and floating up over a 100 meters over the sea. You can search for other images on the net and there are some good ones taken by drones from open water that will give you a different perspective on this location. But before you do that let yourself be immersed in the optical illusion and this stunning landscape. Let yourself question what is real and what is not because this is the amazing power of photography and this place.

I had limited time for photography here because we had a long list of places to visit on this beautiful day. We went to Saksun afterwards to photograph the turf houses and also to another stunning location that I will post in the near future. There is a hike along the lake of about an hour to get to the end of the cliff and we started reasonably early in the day to be able to complete it with plenty of time to spare. This meant that I had to be quick with my composition choices. I chose this composition for the reasons mentioned in the paragraph above. It worked best in my opinion to show the optical illusion and also to present a good perspective over the entire area. This is a great place for someone who likes to shoot panoramas and it would be something that I would explore further if we are ever able to return.

We were lucky with interesting clouds and lighting conditions to allow for great mood in the scene despite photographing during the day. The sun was still low enough in the sky to provide great side light and I was able to avoid harshest of sunlight while it still came through nicely to highlight the cliffs and to create spotlights in the landscape above. There was a fine balance between bright areas and shadows with no harsh transitions and a touch of drama in the sky completed the scene perfectly.

This location has definitely surpassed my expectations and just when you think you have seen it all, nature can surprise you yet again to create something very memorable and totally surreal.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 1/10 second F/8.0 ISO 100 16 mm

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