It had been a long night. I was in Ilulissat, Greenland and it was July 2010. I'd left the hotel at around 9pm to undertake a 7km hike to and then around the edge of the Ilulissat ice fjord prior to heading back inland, via a long, steep climb up to an exposed ridge from where this photo was made.
After a steep decent, along a trail where the loose, sharp rocks bit into the soles of my shoes, it was a further few km back to the hotel, which I was very glad to reach at 5am the next morning. On this final leg of the walk I passed a number of people just wandering around. Adult couples and young teenagers alike were out and about making use of the final days of the midnight sun. I can only imagine how much more difficult life would be during the terribly short days of mid winter.
I was getting pretty tired when I reached the top of the climb, but was spurred on by the light and the potential for a great photograph. The bleak terrain was indeed transformed by beautiful light and I moved off the path to explore and seek out a great vantage point from which to work. I made a number of pictures of the town and landscape below as I moved, from one rock platform to another, across the marshy grass.
But it wasn't easy. I was being buffeted by strong winds which made it tricky to keep the camera still. I had to abandon one image in particular due to the amount of camera shake, caused by vibration, coming through the rock platform on which I was shooting. Moving backwards, and pushing my tripod into the soft grass, provided the stability needed to make a sharp image. When you can feel your tripod trembling you know you're in trouble.
When composing your image its worthwhile thinking less about individual geographic elements like water, rock and sky and more about the shapes, lines and textures produced by these elements and how they relate to each other. The composition of this image is based upon this very approach, in particular shapes and textures. Notice how the shapes of water and grass are used to separate the shapes of the foreground rocks from that of the mountain in the background.
Another compositional device is the use of warm light, from the low-angled sun, to provide a sense of balance, a note of hope, to the predominantly bleak landscape. I hope you enjoy the final result.
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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru