Thursday, April 11, 2013


S. B. made a comment earlier he thought my pictures seemed better this time around.  When in reality D's camera has gotten more beaten up over the last couple of years.  I'm being emotionally biased when I say I feel my best pictures are of Norway, with Cinque Terre second and this last set a close third. 

As mentioned before, my background is with manual photography and I remember learning a bit about the various types of filters available to bring out certain elements. 

What I noticed immediately in Greenland was the clarity of the night sky.  I've never seen stars shine so sharply that their sparkles and flickers were as distinct as metal.  And the amount of stars!  I wish I had access to a telescope.  Whereas in Iceland the daytime light had a clear gray tone to it even on a bright day.  The nighttime sky in the city wasn't remarkable enough to stand out to me.

The glacial ice in Greenland had a tinge of blue or turquoise and sometimes gray blue.  My thought is, when sunlight went through/reflected off of it, it acted like a lens filter, and our eyes took it in as clearer, sharper, brighter.  As if a polarizing filter was used.  Even a scratched up camera lens caught that.  Should I return with a new camera, it would be interesting to compare picture quality.

Also the quality of the ice was something I've never encountered before (not counting cruising by).  Glacial ice is really really hard.  In Iceland we went to what remained of the glacier that was melted when Eyjafjallajokull erupted and our guide got us a piece to chomp on.  We couldn't break into it and D is a veteran ice chewer. 

In Ilulissat one morning I decided to walk to the mouth of the ice fjord and there were quite a few moments where I questioned my judgement.   Crossing small areas of glacial ice melt was extremely slippery and treacherous.  Once you got sliding, you just couldn't stop easily.  I'm not sure sitting down would have helped much. 

And trying to go back uphill...Scared me...No traction.  I ended up leaving the trail and climbing over lichen covered rocks to go around.  Should you find yourself in the same situation, watch your footing because there could be streams underneath the ice and always test your next step as moss may not be covering anything solid.  Getting submerged thigh high and your ankle caught between rocks wouldn't be desirable.  I saw a few scarily misplaced foot prints. 

I had read that when camping in the winter, you need to screw down sleeping bags into the ice because if you get sliding, you may not stop until it is too late.  Didn't understand what that really meant until I got on the ice.  I didn't have my ice cleats with me as I was expecting snow and an "easy" walk but I would definitely remember them for next time.  The less than 5 km took me 1 1/2 hours!  I do question whether they would have been strong enough to penetrate the ice but won't really know until I try them out next time.

And the wind!  You don't realize how surprising wind is when there are no sound indicators (no trees).  In Greenland, you would just suddenly get slammed.  I found I had to turn around to catch my breath because it was so strong.  It was strong enough to physically stop me in my tracks.  I now completely understand how wind and ultra slippery ice form a potentially deadly combination.

One other thing to remember -- Your cell phone (even a world one) will probably not work in Greenland.  Hotels will offer you free use of theirs'.  You just have to pay for air time.  I forgot to get one.   And had no whistle on me either.  You can imagine I felt pretty silly when I found myself with no one around for hours and I wasn't even that far out.  Or it could have been locals had more sense than to be where I was that morning.


Post Eyjafjallajokull eruption site.
Crossing this stuff was crazy!
Easily could have been blown into the water.
I remember standing here thinking, OMG do I keep going?!


  1. Thanks for the explanation. I'm a person with little to no photography skills, so I can only say that the photos appeared to me to "look nicer" than the previous trips.

  2. I wouldn't say that. Your plum blossom pictures are well constructed -- Good contrast.

    By the way, congrats on reaching the tipping point. Hope new worlds of possibility open up to you.