We can observe the same kind of mismatch on the Moon. It is a matter of lighting angle: when sunlight falls obliquely, shadows are elongated and this exaggerates every irregularity.
Lunar mountains are actually "shaped like smooth, rolling hills", but their shadows, observed with a telescope or an orbiting spacecraft, "show sharp, jegged, craggy peaks".
In fact, Michael Carroll could not have got it righter.
Congratulations for this snapshot, a preview of what I am just longing to see, provided that they are actually acquired: the wide angle images in which the shadows cast on the rings by Saturn’s moons have grown longer and longer so that they extend from one end to the other, even touching the planet itself. That should be such an inspiring vista…
(As English is not my first language, some mistakes might have been left in there despite of my attention. Please feel free to point them out).
Once we knew Saturn’s North Pole cold and blue,
Now this new season’s worth a golden hue.
A swift equinoxial tread will renew
The Sun’s equatorial travelling-through.
Rings, as it’s spring, throw a narrow shadow,
Thin as a string, tightened in a drawn bow,
Waiting for one saturnian fellow
To put in a long ebony arrow,
From an icy, half-lit, still satellite,
To an inky-black disk, devoid of light,
Quite ready, Helios in Her line of sight,
To cut through the whole rings during Her flight:
Let Her deep darkness swallow the tenuous coal-
Colored sheet in spiraling continuous fall,
Let Her seem perpendicular to empty slits
That split this see-through expanse into many bits,
Let Her be the stroke on soft and brittle snowflakes,
And on the pin-striped pattern left in their wakes,
Let Her aim Herself at the Main Rings’ border,
Where a snowplow moon stirs up quite a disorder,
Let Her effortlessly cut a notch in these strands,
All but featureless, kinks, knots tied by ghostly hands,
Let Her gingerly approach an old moon that had
It’s days, until it broke up, hanging by a thread,
Let Her eelish shape stand out on the enormous
Ring stamped with the initial of Enceladus,
One of the spherical icicles putting on Fall.
A straggling Sun’s setting while they lumber
Along the horizon of a light-fed South Pole
Slowly sinking into a half year long slumber…