Safe Waters and Beyond, Ilulissat, Greenland

Safe waters on the edge of the massive Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland.

The Ilulissat Icefjord is a huge, ever-changing body of ice off the west coast of Greenland. Located in Disko Bay 250km north of the Arctic Circle, and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, this huge expanse of ice is best explored on a midnight cruise.

Greenland Is Where Water And Sky collide

In this case the photo was made during a long evening hike I undertook in late July. From memory I started the hike around 9pm and didn't get back to my hotel till around 5am the next morning. It was a big effort, but well worthwhile. To be out exploring and photographing, on the edge of the wilderness, under lovely, soft light for such an extended time was an amazing experience.

It's interesting how the reflection links the quiet pool of water in the foreground with the sky above. It reminds me of that famous quote, as above so below.

How to Photograph All That There Is

The icebergs in the middle of the frame give a hint to the wildness of this location. The photo was made at 24 mm on a Canon 5D Mark II full-frame DSLR camera. (These days I utilize a Sony a7Rii camera). Wide angle lenses place emphasis on the foreground but, as a consequence, make the background look smaller and further away. That's why the section of ice through the mid ground doesn't seem that dominant. But, believe me, it contains huge blocks of ice, some seemingly the size of sky scrappers.

I photographed the Ilulissat Icefjord and much of the surrounding landscape with a variety of lenses. But, as this image was about the relationship between sky and water, the 24 mm focal length was appropriate.

The ice helps to place the location in which the image was made and serves to separate the foreground from the background, thereby helping to illustrate three dimensional space.

If you see more than what's immediately present then the photograph is truly successful. Sometimes what's suggested is so much more important than what's described.

How to Make Your Own Dreams A Reality

I can't wait to return and explore more of the harsh beauty of Greenland. It's an incredible place! In my case it was an extra bonus I added onto a photography expedition to Iceland. It's a long way from my home in Melbourne, Australia but, given that I'd realized a near life-long dream to travel to Iceland, the extra expense of adding on the Greenland component to my trip seemed like a no-brainer. And now I'm constantly dreaming of a return trip.

Travel and photography, what a life! It works for me, and it hope it does for you to.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru