Photographing Grytviken Whaling Station, South Georgia Island

Overview of the Grytviken Whaling Station set amongst spectacular mountain scenery on South Georgia Island.

The former settlement of Grytviken is located on South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Operated as a Norwegian whaling station, for the Argentine Fishing Company from 1904 until 1966, huge populations of whale and elephant seals were harvested for oil and fertilizer in the seas surrounding Grytviken.

Visiting Grytviken today is a fascinating, though somewhat sombre experience.

It’s a place where nature, wildlife and history collide in a way that’s immediately obvious to visitors, most of whom spend a few hours wandering around on a short excursion from a cruise ship moored nearby.

The location is indeed striking with the whaling station nestled, on the edge of King Edward Cove, between the sea and the mountains.

Hungry Penguin Chick, South Georgia Island

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The good news is that, following the cessation of whaling around the island, wildlife is returning to South Georgia.

These days you have to keep your wits about you as elephant seals, seals and King penguins share the beach and often choose to rest around buildings close to the shoreline.

A King penguin standing in front of a church at Grytviken, the site of a former Norwegian Whaling Station, on South Georgia Island.

Walking along the shore line is a fascinating experience with remnants of the whaling days evidenced in whale bones, rusting oil processing plants and abandoned whaling ships.

There’s a pretty church, a museum and a working post office, where visitors can purchase highly valued stamps, as well as a British research station at nearby King Edward Point

Industrial remains at the former Whaling Station in Grytviken on South Georgia Island.

The remains of the now defunct Grytviken Whaling Station stands as both an environmental tragedy and a fascinating relic of days gone by. 

A tourist pays respects at the grave of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton at Grytviken on South Georgia Island.

The great British explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, is a big part of the history of South Georgia. He’s buried in Grytviken, at his wife’s directions, with the headstone on his grave stone facing south towards Antarctica.

All other headstones in the cemetery face towards Europe.

If you’re about to undertake a significant journey and the photos you make are important to you then you should consider hooking up with me for a 3-hour private photography lesson.

I run these very popular courses in Melbourne, Australia.

What’s particularly great about them is that they’re practical in nature and based entirely on the camera you own and the photography you want to do.

We have a lot to revise and practice but now feel more confident we can get some great photos.”

”You have a real talent for teaching, you made everything so clear and easy to understand.”

”We have come away with a new understanding of our camera.
— Marilyn and Jenny, Yarra Valley, Australia

Renovations underway at the former Whaling Station in Grytviken on South Georgia Island.

It’s a very simple recipe, which I can describe as follows:

  • Just you and me

  • Your camera and

  • What ever it is you want to achieve

That’s why it’s possible to achieve so much in a single 3-hour session.

If you’d like to discuss the possibility of signing up for one of these private courses feel free to Contact Me directly.

The grave of Felix Artuso set amongst the dramatic landscape surrounding the old whaling station of Grytviken on South Georgia Island.

There’s more than one reason for South Georgia to be included on the itinerary of many cruises that head down to Antarctica.

As well as huge populations of penguins, seals and elephant seals historically important sites such as Grytviken and Stromness are well worth a visit.

I was fortunate to journey to Grytviken as part of a photography tour I co-ran to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica.

Perhaps, one day, we’ll travel there together.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru