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Photographing the Enchanted Faroe Islands

Have you heard about Faroe Islands? Faroe Island, the constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark, the North Atlantic archipelago and island country with 18 major islands (and total of 779 islands, islets and skerries), and with the total area of 1,400 square kilometer and the population of 50,000! In this newsletter, let me tell you some fun facts about this little but amazing place!

There are about 80 nationalities and 110 different languages spoken on this tiny place of 50,000 people. BTW, there is no McDonald's here, there's only a Burger King in the capital, Torshavn.

Gasadalur is probably the most recognizable landscape of Faroe Islands. The small village had a population of 18 in 2012. The reason for the significant decrease in population over the time is because of the isolated location. The boat landing site is poor because it is located higher than the shore. To reach the village by land, one has to take the strenuous route over the mountain of more than 400m. The village can finally be reached by car since 2004 when the Gásadalstunnilin tunnel was built.

The climate in Faroe Islands is subpolar oceanic climate, which is windy, wet, cloudy, and cool, but the ever-changing weather makes it a wonderful place for landscape photography. Faroe Islands has an average of 210 rainy or snowy days per year and can be really foggy in the summer. There are 37 words for fog in Faroese!

The aquaculture for Atlantic salmons in Faroe Islands. Faroe Islands have the pristine waters, strong gulf stream, and cool and steady all-year sea temperature that create the environment for top quality Atlantic salmons. The Faroese aquaculture industry produces over 40000 tonnes of Atlantic salmons each year, which accounts for about 40% of the total export value of Faroe Islands.

Do you know that Faroe Islands is one of the world’s leading countries in producing sustainable electricity, there are over 50% of the electricity coming from renewable energy sources. The aim is to have the electricity sourced solely from renewable energy by 2030.

Kvivik is one of the oldest settlements on Faroe Islands. There are two remains of Viking-period buildings and the excavations prove that it dates back over 1,000 years ago, i.e. around the 10th century. Many household objects were uncovered during excavations, like spindles, oil lamps, fishing gear, ropes made of juniper, weights for looms and children’s toys. The knowledge of early history of Faroe Islands is mainly based on archaeology because written sources are very scarce.

Just to compare the size and the sense of scale with Singapore. Faroe Islands is about 1393 sq km, and Singapore is about 719 sq km, so Faroe Islands is about 1.9 times bigger than Singapore. Do you know that Faroe Islands has only 9 traffic lights (as of July 2021), i.e. 8 in the capital, Torshavn and 1 in Norddepil; while Singapore has 2185 traffic lights!

Klaksvik is the second largest town of the Faroe Islands, with population of 5000 people. It used to be an isolated town until 2006 when the Nordoyatunnilin (The Northern Isles Tunnel) opened.

Do you know that there is no indigenous trees grow on Faroe Islands. This is due to the extreme oceanic climate, with winds bring substantial amount of sea salt into the air, makes the soils very unfavorable to trees, although there are a few species from South America have been introduced since 1970s.

Sorvagsvatn (named by people in the West of lake) or Leitisvatn (named by people in the East of lake), in this image, is the largest lake on Faroe Islands. The lake looks like it is floating high above the ocean, in fact this is a big optical illusion. The lake is about 30 meters above sea level, but the steep cliff combined with perfect angle creates the illusion as if it is hundreds of meters height. The cliff where I am standing is Traelanipa, also known as Slave Cliff, it is about 142 meters upwards from the ocean. Slave Cliff has gotten the name where the slaves were pushed off the cliff and threw into the ocean in the Viking Age.

Summer is the season when the puffins are feeding their chicks. Puffin’s tongues and spiny palates allow them to grab over 10 small fishes in their beaks per dive. One puffin in Britain set a record for holding 62 fish at one time.

Come join us for the Faroe Islands Photo Workshop this coming July! For more information, click here

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