I’m Off To Greenland

Icebergs, Mountains, Water, and the big sky. All part of Greenland
Icebergs, Mountains, Water, and the big sky. All part of Greenland

It’s been kind of funny when people ask where I am going next and I say that I am headed to Greenland to assure them we aren’t interested in buying their country. We live in funny times, don’t we? I am excited though, as I am about to embark on my fourth Greenland trip.

Greenland is quite a special country and I’ll be exploring just a small part of it with Steve Gosling, Art Wolfe, and 30 guests who are part of our photography workshop. Our focus will be on the east coast of Greenland; specifically King Oscar Fjord and Scoresby Sound. I can’t even begin to tell you how overwhelmingly beautiful these locations are. Maybe you can get an idea from all the accompanying images in this article.

Our Journey
Our Journey

We begin our journey in Reykjavik, Iceland. On Tuesday we do a briefing and receive our flight information for the following day, as well as briefings on Zodiac loading and unloading, and what to expect on the trip. Having done this a few times now, I know what to expect. We will fly on two small charter planes to a dirt runway airport in Constable Point, Greenland. From there, we will hike about 15 minutes to a beach where we will board zodiacs and be taken to the Ocean Nova our home for the next 9 days.

Devils Castle
Devils Castle

The Ocean Nova has a special place in my heart. I have sailed on this ship dozens of times in Greenland and especially Antarctica. In Antarctica about six years ago the ship’s captain married Debra and I on a beach in Neko Harbor. The whole ship was chartered for the workshop and we had 65 guests on the beach as part of our wedding service. It was one of the coolest things you could imagine.

Ocean Nova
Ocean Nova

The Ocean Nova is a capable ship and perfect for these types of adventures. She is fast and ice-hardened; which is perfect for what we will be doing. The crew on the ship is like family, and many folks have been on the ship, working as crew, for 15 plus years. The cabins are comfortable and basic. The food is great and you never go hungry. And, let’s not forget, the observation lounge bar. Cocktails and the end of day briefing are always special; oftentimes served with glacier ice.

This trip can be described as a non-stop photo trip. I have described Greenland in the past as being immense. As soon as we set sail, we will be moving through a dynamic landscape. We will be cruising towards, and past, icebergs, unlike anything you have seen before. The images we capture will be ours; as tomorrow the scene will change. There is no cliche here. There are no holes where others have had their tripods. These shots will be unique and yours; and maybe those other photographers who see the same shot during this trip.

Amazing Icebergs
Amazing Icebergs. Each is different and each will soon melt away or turtle or break apart. This is something that once photographed, can’t be visited again.

Each day we will be cruising and stopping for at least two excursions on land. We will also be doing numerous zodiac cruises amongst icebergs, and other hidden gems, that Greenland offers. One of my favorite things to do is finding the abstract in the landscape. Also, abstracts with icebergs is a lot of fun to shoot. You may want to brush up on My Favorite Lens article where I discuss shooting icebergs up close. You can see a photo below, where you can see how we nudge our way up to small icebergs to shoot abstracts.

On a typical day, we get up early. Those who make it to sunrise will always be blessed with amazing photo opportunities. We have a buffet breakfast; and after breakfast spend our time on deck, or in the observation lounge on the lookout for something photo-worthy. Usually, we don’t need to wait long. On my last trip, I shot 12,000 images. My favorite lens, for the most part, was the 100-400mm. If we moved closer to icebergs I would switch to the 24-105mm, and on a few occasions, the 16-35mm was needed.

Icebergs that take on their own look
Icebergs that take on their own look. You gotta be ready as this kind of reflections and images come and go quickly.

On this trip, I will be using the Sony a9 and Sony a7r iii (wish the a7r iv would have shown up in time). I will have the 16-35mm, 24-105mm, and the 100-400mm lenses; as well as a 1.4 tele-extender. Because of weight restrictions on what we can bring on the fly-over, I am leaving a tripod behind. I’ll have my MacBook Pro and 4 external hard drives, along with my iPad Pro 11 inch.

As we are cruising, and in between shoots, or after dark, I’ll download my images and begin initial edits. Art Wolfe, Steve Gosling, and I are available to do one-on-ones with the workshop attendees, as well as help them with their processing. we have a lot of fun and get the chance to share our love for photography with the whole group.

Trying to get perspective
Solid thousand-foot wall, iceberg, and sailboat. Kind of help putting the size of things in perspective.

I’ll be doing more trips to Greenland in the future. I just can’t stay away. I’ll also be doing a trip to another Arctic wonder, Svalbard. I am doing a Svalbard trip in 2020 with Peter Eastway. You can check that workshop out HERE.

I will be back in my office again on September 12th, and will most likely be in catch up mode for a few days. The site will continue to publish articles while I am away. I’ll do a recap upon my return. I hope during our trip Greenland isn’t sold, as that would mess up a lot of what we want to do while there.

The big size of everything
The Ocean Nova next to some giant icebergs.

Below are more images from my previous Greenland trips. If you are like me, you like to see images and there a bunch below. I hope you enjoy them and get inspired to get out there and shoot, where ever you are.

The march from the airport to the zodiacs
The march from the airport to the zodiacs
Zodiac Cruising among icebergs
Zodiac Cruising among icebergs
Zodiac Cruising among icebergs
Zodiac Cruising among icebergs
Art Wolfe on the bow of the ship hunting for Fog Bows
Art Wolfe on the bow of the ship hunting for Fog Bows
It's not unusual to have morning fog and then you may be lucky enough to get a Fog Bow
It’s not unusual to have morning fog and then you may be lucky enough to get a Fog Bow
Iceberg
The colors in icebergs will amaze you. This one had green and fantastic greens
Nudging up to small icebergs and doing close up abstracts like shown below
Nudging up to small icebergs and doing close up abstracts like shown below
Iceberg Close Ups
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
Iceberg Abstract close-ups made with the Sony a7riii and 100-400mm lens
This will make great ice for cocktails.
This will make great ice for cocktails.
Ice Diamonds
Ice Diamonds

A Gallery Of All The Images


Kevin Raber
September 2019
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 47 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of pictures taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through photoPXL.com, this site as well as Rockhopper Workshops and other projects as well as teaching at my Gallery in Indianapolis.

Article Type: Columns, MISC

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