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Photographer's Note

As I mentioned in the note to my previous post
it is very hard to depict the enormity of a glacier without something like a boat or a person in the photograph to provide scale, but I thought I would still post this close-up of part of the terminus (or ‘snout’ as it is sometimes called) of the Knud Rasmussen glacier so that you can see the detail of what a glacier terminus looks like.

This shot was taken on the right hand side (i.e. the south-east corner) of the terminus that is pictured in my previous post, where it is much lower than on the left and in the middle. The height of the ice in this picture is about 30 metres (about 100 ft) on the left and about 15 metres on the right - still quite an impressive sight.

This was taken with a wide angle lens, so we were quite close to the face of the terminus – which, as I was to find out later, is not all that safe a place to be. As I was urging our seal-hunter boatman to take us closer to the ice, one of my traveling companions was looking very nervous.

I found out later that whilst I had been busy taking photographs earlier, our boatman had been telling my friends that it is not safe to go too close to a glacier terminus because sometimes there can be a shelf of ice still attached to the glacier underwater, and this can break off without warning and rise to the surface like a submarine, tipping over any boats above and its occupants into the freezing water. (I suppose if the chunk of ice that broke off was large enough, we could find ourselves floating down the fjord on top of a new iceberg). As well, when the icebergs are calved from the front of the glacier terminus, the wave that is created can also be quite dangerous for any small boats close-by (and ours was only an 18 footer).

So it was only afterwards that I understood the look of apprehension on my friend’s face as I was shouting to the boatman: “Can you go closer please, closer please!”

I sharpened only the ice in this image, in order not to introduce any noise into the beautiful blue sky (the air is so crystal clear and unpolluted in Greenland). My Iceland/Greenland trip was my first outing with my new D200 body (I’d been having problems with the metering on my D100 recently) and I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the images produced by the D200. With the D100, even at the lowest ISO setting, I had to process nearly every image through NeatImage, but with the D200 I haven’t used NeatImage at all yet (the lower ISO100 setting certainly helps – with the D100, the lowest ISO was 200).

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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