In all the years that I have been traveling, I don’t think I have said “Wow!” as many times as I did on Tuesday 26 June 2007.
Four of us were staying in Tasiilaq on the east coast of Greenland, and we arranged with a local seal hunter to take us out for the day to explore the fjords to the north of the village. For 11 hours we braved freezing winds (but sunny skies) and saw what must surely be some of the most beautiful, rugged and spectacular scenery in the world.
Our hunter had an open 18ft fiberglass boat with a 115 hp outboard motor. It wasn’t comfortable (two of us sat on a ledge in the bow, two on an upturned box in the middle of the boat, and the hunter’s wife and son on the transom at the back), but it was sturdy and fast. We first headed south and then west into the open ocean where we weaved in and out of the pack ice at high speed (see Workshop photo here), occasionally hitting some submerged ice with a big thump on the bottom of the boat.
After about half an hour we turned north into Sermilik – a 10km wide fjord also known as the Egede and Rothe Fjord - and negotiated our way up the fjord between hundreds of massive icebergs which had broken off three large glaciers feeding the fjord. Most of the icebergs were a pristine white, but some were a sparkling aquamarine blue, whilst others were brown or black carrying large chunks of rock from the moraines on top of the glaciers. We headed north for about an hour, occasionally stopping to have a closer look at some of the more impressive icebergs which towered above us like 10 storey buildings, until we reached the Sarpaq channel. Here we hoped we would be able to get through the pack ice to the Ikasartivaq fjord to avoid retracing our route back to the ocean. Our hunter told us that nobody had done that this year, but he thought we had a chance that day.
As we motored up the channel, the pack ice got thicker and thicker until it completely blocked our way on the southern side. We backed off and headed towards the northern shore where we found a narrow channel close to the rocks, and pushed our way slowly through the ice. Twice we thought we couldn’t go any further, but our hunter found some cracks in the ice that he was able to open with the bow of the boat, and eventually we pushed our way through the ice into clear water. We were the first boat through for the season!
After breaking through the pack ice, we stopped at Tiniteqilaq - a small hunting village (population 141) where I climbed a hill to take this shot looking back over Sermilik. As I got to the top of the hill and saw this view, all I could say was “Wow!” That wasn’t the first “Wow!” of the day, and it wouldn’t be the last.
At first glance, the icebergs in this fjord don’t look that large, but when you see the red Bell 212 helicopter in the foreground, taking off from the only piece of flat ground in Tiniteqilaq, you get a better idea of the grandiose scale of this landscape. You can also see some of the village houses in the bottom left.
Critiques | Translate
leonine53 (2850) 2007-06-30 11:19
Quelle aventure trépidante et merveilleuse a la fois.
Tu as trouvé une colline assez haute pour nous montrer un paysage magnifique avec ces icebergs à la dérive et ces quelques bâtiments rudimentaires, c'est spectaculaire. L'hélicoptère vient mettre un brin de couleur chaude à ta photo. Une vraie carte postale
Bonne fin de semaine / Marlyse ;-))
delic (6735) 2007-06-30 11:36
That's a spectacular view. The icebergs are rendered sharply and in good color, esp. the glaciel blue. Getting exposure right is no piece of cake but you have handled it well, esp. the highlights. The red helicopter is the icing on the cake. Cheers,
Didi (56061) 2007-06-30 11:39
Fantastic picture, the houses in forefround gives us an aproximative evaluation of the scale.
Your point of view is very well choosen.
Very interesting subject.
ahmet54 (3045) 2007-06-30 13:25
what an amazing scenery. I would say 'wow' is the adaquate expression. TFS.
isabela_sor (47583) 2007-06-30 13:50
My sister Anes told me:"did you see in Denmark's gallery that perfect phot???"I was very curious and yeeeeeeeeeeeees,she was right ,indeed your shot is perfect!!!The depth,POV,the quality,all details....everything is perfect!!!!Going in my favorite
A nice weekend
sc07 (1292) 2007-06-30 15:18
Magnificient landscape! The houses make us realize once again how small we are in front of Nature. The view is really specacular, and I like very muche the "arctic" blue of the melting icebergs...
jaywalker (16095) 2007-06-30 15:22
Hi David, What I like about this photo is the helicopter, not only dose it give a little drop of colour but it shows what a vast area this place is, the prospective is excellent, TFS, kind regards Wilson.
plimrn (21344) 2007-06-30 21:49
Great POV!! You don't mention how you got up so high that you were looking down at the helicopter. The tiny village and the helicopter show the size of those icebegs littering the sea. The clarity of light is awesome. HLJ, Pat
pablominto (53744) 2007-07-01 1:20
Greenland is a most fascinating place, no doubt about that!
Here you capture well one of the characteristics, the drifting ice...
Wonderful view of the fjord, the red aircraft is an awesome contrast in more than one way!
vincz (19113) 2007-07-01 2:45
Fascinating picture. The composition is excellent with the human elements in the foreground (houses, helicopter, ...) and this incredible icy landscape taking most of the picture. The light is very unique I like very much hte texture of the water with the reflections of the icebergs. Excellent one.
feather (51130) 2007-07-01 2:55
Until seeing the foreground it's not easy to get any idea of scale and then ... indeed ... WOW! Nature is certianly towering over anything man-made in the scene. I love the blue colours of the iceberegs and the little splash of red from the helicopter.
What an adventure! I got goosebumps reading your excellent (as usual) note.
anes_lc (14968) 2007-07-01 2:57
this pictures of yours just show me how much i still must learn.this is the perfect shot...i simply love it
pboehringer (770) 2007-07-01 8:35
Finally, I see the landscape a little bit closer. Usually I see it from the plane flying from Europe to the US west coast. Greenland is fascinating and quite often I had the word WOW coming from my lips while gliding 33,000 feet above ground. The airplane windows unfortunately do not give such prisitne images as you did it here. I really thank you for this post and I'm looking forward to share with you many other WOW's!
siolaw (38262) 2007-07-01 9:22
That is a spectacular view for sure! High POV on the iceberg field across the fjord, great soft pastel colors and correct sharpening. The helico gives the scale as before noticing it I wouls have thought the pieces of ice were much smaller!
leo61 (0) 2007-07-01 9:26
Fantastic view,and wow,what a depth.Good POV,an interesting foreground with these houses and the red helicopter and a great view at the calm water and the snowy peaks in the distance.A great shot.
jemaflor (83014) 2007-07-01 11:24
Great pov and wonderful view with good details for the composition with helicopter and house ... i understand you about the wow ! i don't know this coast but i visited beautiful Disko Bay... and i imagine your impressive moments, Greenland with icebergs is a wonderful country ;-)
jmcl (14535) 2007-07-01 19:32
Your note says it all .. beautiful .. rugged .. spectacular .. the scale of the little human elements is great .. I love the tone of the icy filled water.
ViktorVaughn (1521) 2007-07-01 23:52
This is a "Wow" photo indeed, simply stunning. At first I didn't realize the size or scope of the photo, it wasn't until I noticed the red helicopter, then the little houses. What a great view of a gorgeous place. You are lucky, I must say to have visited here.
Clairedelune (4923) 2007-07-02 8:15
I think I had tell you before, David. But just in case I did not, I will say it again: what a treat it is to read your notes! Always interesting. And the feeling we are there, with you! Thanks for that.
One word comes to my mind in looking at your photo: grandiose! I understand how the only word that came in your mouth was "Wow!". What an inhospitable environment! Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about people here. I'm just talking about that rugged ground and the sharp coldness one might feel. And still, I just can't deny the incredible beauty of such a barren landscape. And much, much respect for people who live there...
The icing on the cake? Obviously, that red helicopter there! Love it! It looks like some firy dragonfly! :))
lucinka (9976) 2007-07-02 9:26
Hello David, what an interesting shot from Greenland. This place is very high on my list of places to visit for some time now. So I'm bit jealous to see photo from this surely amazing place however I am sure that the time will come for me too at some point. In the meantime I'm glad you shared with us such a great shot from this place. Rgrds, Lucie
brevbrev14 (140) 2007-07-04 1:36
Oh a show of the nature this place David!
great image and the place looks fantastic!
the red airplane is a great spot!
Charo (51210) 2007-07-04 15:55
Fantástica foto de esos hielos polares y el helicóptero que los sobrevuela.
bakes888 (18499) 2007-07-06 1:24
Hi David. This is one of those shots that the thumbnail just doesn’t do justice to. It’s only when you can make out the helicopter and the buildings that go get the full picture. Fantastic! I have just had a similar experience in Alaska though not quite as adventurous. Great photo and story, thanks for sharing.
PS Great WS also.
capthaddock (28790) 2007-07-08 14:08
Hi again David - it looks like you decided to delete the other greenland photo, this one I like much better, and the note is equally informative, the ice-choked harbour is infinitely pretty and the helicopter helps a lot in putting scales into perspective.
Polonaise (5802) 2007-07-11 15:51
Sometimes, I feel so helpless to describe the magnificency of our world...
Your photography doesn't help me, neither...
Quite honestly... It makes me even more helpless...
To hell with your gallery, David...
fabEarth (281) 2007-07-16 17:03
Wow ! Great POV
So many thing to see, thanks !
mumek (20198) 2007-07-17 2:19
You captured a very beautiful and interesting place from Geenland. Nice view from the hill at the village ,icebergs in the water and mountains in the background.The note is very interesting and informative
riclopes (35577) 2007-07-18 9:06
Olá David, I finally decided to come back to TE, after 3 weeks of abcence...
What a day you had! I have to say 'wow' to this series of yours. Amazing scenery and what a surprise finding the red helicopter flying downthere. It looks so small here.
Loved the WS.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2007-06-26
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED, Circular PL
- Exposure: f/8, 1/125 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2007-06-30 11:01
- Favorites: 1 [view]