Triangular Shadow Cast on the Strait of Messina

June 23, 2021


Photographer: Fabio Di Stefano

Summary Author: Fabio Di Stefano & Cadan Cummings

This astonishing view from atop Mount Dinnammare overlooks the city of Messina, Italy, located on the eastern edge of the island of Sicily. Separating mainland Italy and Sicily, the 3.2 mi (5.1 km) wide Strait of Messina seen at the base of the mountain connects the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ionian Sea. This photograph taken at sunset on August 7, 2018, adds extra dimension to the picturesque landscape from Mount Dinnammare casting what appears to be a triangular shadow over the strait. This shadow is due to Sun angle on the horizon and perspective exaggerating the shape cast from the rugged landscape on the comparably flat landscape below. Note that shadows such as this are only observed when the Sun is low in the sky and an abundance of dust is present in the atmosphere. The airborne dust outside of the shadow acts to scatter sunlight, but inside of the shadow scattered sunlight is absent. Even mountains that have flat tops when projected in this manner appear to have triangular shadows.

Photo Details: Overview of two shots taken with a Canon EOS M6 and a Tokina 11-6mm f / 2.8 IF DX lens. ISO 200, f / 8, 1/80 " exposure, 11mm focal length.