February 05, 2020

My previous blog post explained 5 reasons why Greenland should be your next photography destination. So, in this post, let me expand on just one aspect of one of those items – the landscapes are amazing – and talk about ice.

Ice Detail of the Russell Glacier near KangerlussuaqRussell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq

With 80% of its landmass covered by the world’s second-largest ice sheet, Greenland is the place to go to photograph ice. There is not a day go by that you won’t encounter it in one of its forms, and the sheer scale of it is something you have to see to believe.

Read on to discover what and where to photograph ice when you visit Greenland.

The Ice Sheet

Make sure you grab a window seat for your flight to Greenland as the views as you fly over the edges of enormous icecap are spectacular! The world’s second-largest ice sheet crouches just behind the jagged peaks of the East Greenland coastline and continues, almost uninterrupted, for the next several hundred kilometres until the West coast finally comes into view. At times, it can be difficult to tell what is ice/snow and what are clouds as you fly over this desolate landscape.

Flying over the Greenland IcesheetFlying over the Greenland Ice sheet 

But seeing the ice sheet from the air is not your only option. If you would like to get more up close and personal with the “inland ice”, there are tours that allow you to explore ice caves, walk up onto the icecap to see it stretch away for as far as the eye can see, and even spend a night camping on the ice sheet itself. Each of these activities provides different photographic opportunities, and some truly spectacular images have been captured on the Greenland Icecap.

Glaciers

There are thousands of glaciers in Greenland, though most of them are difficult to access. The two most visited glaciers are the Eqi Glacier located just north of Ilulissat, and the Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq.

Person on boat close to Eqi glacier near Ilulissat, Greenland You get quite close to Eqi glacier near Ilulissat.

Eqi is a very active glacier where you are almost guaranteed to see at least small calving events (still very exciting) during the 2 hours most tours usually spend near the glacier face. You can also stay in a small luxury accommodation lodge at the glacier if you would like a longer time to watch the glacier’s action.

The calving Eqi glacier near IlulissatThe calving Eqi glacier near Ilulissat 

You can get much closer to the Russell Glacier, which is less active but still does calve regularly (ie don’t get too close!). The view looking up at the ~60m tall face is something that really has to be experienced, and the patterns in the rocks that have been exposed by the retreating glacier are some of my favourites in the world. Yet for the full day I spent there last year, I only saw 3 other people!

The massive Russell Glacier looming large over visitorsThe massive Russell Glacier looming large over visitors

Glaciers provide an endless range of photographs. From the flow patterns formed by the movement of the glacier when seen from above, to the changing translucency of a particular crag as the light hits it in different ways, to the exhilarating calving events that require patience, continuous shooting mode and a quick finger on the shutter release. Visiting at least one of these rivers of ice should be on your itinerary for Greenland.

 

Knud-Rasmussen-Glacier-East-GreenlandKnud Rasmussen Glacier, East Greenland

Icebergs

Icebergs are the penultimate stage of the incredibly slow transformation of the snow that has fallen on the Ice Sheet to freshwater in the fjord. And they are everywhere in Greenland! It doesn’t matter which part of Greenland you visit; you are guaranteed to see an iceberg.

Midnight sun Whale watching tour amongst the icebergsMidnight sun Whale watching tour amongst the icebergs

The most famous place to see very large icebergs is at the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Ilulissat Icefjord in West Greenland. These behemoths are calved off the fastest moving glacier outside of Antarctica and, thanks to a quirk of geography caused by the retreating glacier, get stuck on an underwater “sand bar” at the mouth of the fjord. The result is a ~60km long waterway choked solid with icebergs that eventually get released into the ocean when one of the blocking bergs breaks free. Of course, it doesn’t take long for another large iceberg to get stuck on the sand bar, meaning that you are guaranteed to see enormous icebergs no matter when you visit.

Whales-and-boat-tours-amongst-the-enormous-icebergs-Ilulissat-North-GreenlandWhales and boat tours amongst the enormous icebergs Ilulissat North Greenland

The town of Ilulissat is located only 2km North of the Icefjord, which means it is very easy to experience the icebergs from land or from the sea. There are 3 main hiking trails that offer different views over the icebergs (including one that is a boardwalk), or you can take one of a number of boat tours (or a kayaking tour) for a waterline perspective. This will give you a true sense of the size of these enormous cathedrals of ice.

If you want to get more off the beaten path, massive icebergs are also a feature of the Uummannaq Fjord in North Greenland, or you can visit the Sermilik Icefjord in East Greenland for a completely different experience.

Watching the icebergs drift in the Sermilik Fjord in East GreenlandWatching the icebergs drift in the Sermilik Fjord in East Greenland

Here, millions of icebergs are calved off several very active feeder glaciers to fill the fjord with an impressive amount of ice. Unlike in Ilulissat, these icebergs move freely during the warmer months, and watching their delicate ballet from the tiny, remote settlement of Tiniteqilaaq is absolutely mesmerizing. I highly recommend time-lapse photography!

How do I get to Greenland to photograph ice?

Travelling to Greenland is actually not as difficult as youmight think. There are regular flights from both Denmark and Iceland, or you can join a guided tour from Copenhagen or Reykjavik that takes care of everything for you.

Amazing-light-sunset-Ilulissat-North-GreenlandThe amazing Ilulissat Icefjord

Guide to Greenland is the best online marketplace where you can book most of the day- and multi-day tours available throughout Greenland in advance. They also have comprehensive and practical guides to many of the major towns – including Ilulissat, Uummannaq, Tasiilaq (gateway to Tiniteqilaaq and Sermilik Fjord) and Nuuk, the capital. For content of a more inspirational nature, go to Visit Greenland - the government tourism site.

See you soon in Greenland!

If you liked this post, you’ll love these too!

Winter is no joke! Keep warm and shop our range of Vallerret Photography Gloves.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Vallerret Articles

Winter Camping Tips for Photogrpahers
Winter Camping Tips for Photogrpahers

January 21, 2021

Camping in the winter is a magical experience. Nothing but you and the snow capped peaks waiting to be photographed in the soft winter light. Winter provides some of the most scenic images but to capture these shots, you have to be prepared. Here are our best tips for camping in the winter as a photographer!
Read More
Understanding Focal Length for Winter Photography
Understanding Focal Length for Winter Photography

January 14, 2021

Focal lengths. What are they? Why are the important? And how you you know which focal length you need? We deep dive into the world of focal lengths to help new photographers understand what focal lengths they should be using for their photography.
Read More
The Science Behind a Photographer's Cold Fingers
The Science Behind a Photographer's Cold Fingers

January 08, 2021 2 Comments

We’ve all been there: waiting for the perfect shot in freezing temps as bitterly cold wind whips through the mountains. The drill is always the same: hop up and down, jog in place, blow warm air down your glove in hopes of bringing some feeling back to your poor, weathered fingertips. We all know what happens but do you know why it happens?
Read More
Make Winter Cold Again: Our Annual Donations are on Their Way!
Make Winter Cold Again: Our Annual Donations are on Their Way!

December 18, 2020

We did it! We made it through 2020 and we're nearing the end of the this complex, frustrating and wildly strange year. As we say goodbye to 2020, we look back at how Mother Nature has fared this year as well as shining a light on some of the awesome organizations we're donating to through our commitment with 1% for the Planet.
Read More
Help With Sizing

FIND YOUR SIZE:

  1. Measure around the widest part of your hand with a relaxed open palm.
  2. Measure from base of hand to the tip of the middle finger.

PEASE NOTE:  We design our gloves to be snug for best camera feel possible. This sizing chart reflects snuggly fitted gloves.

    Unisex Size Guide XS S M L XL XXL
    Hand Girth cm  18 - 20  20 - 21 21 - 22 22 - 23 23 - 25 25-28
    inch  7.1 - 7.9   7.9 - 8.3  8.3 - 8.7 8.7 - 9.1 9.1 - 9.8 9.8-11.0
    Hand Length cm  16.0 - 17.5  17.5 - 18.5 18.0 - 19.0 19.0 - 20.0 20.5 - 22.0 22-24.0
    inch  6.3 - 6.9 6.9 - 7.2 7.1 - 7.5 7.5 - 7.9 8.1 - 8.7 8.7-9.4
     EU Size Equivalent  EU 7.5  EU 8 EU 8.5 EU 9 EU 10 EU 11
     Unisex Glove Models: Markhof Pro 2.0 | Skadi Zipper Mitt | Ipsoot | Alta Over-Mitt | Merino Liner Touch | Primaloft/Merino Liner | Urbex | Powerstretch Pro Liners
    Female Size Guide* XS S M L XL
    Hand Girth cm 16.0 - 17.5 17.5 - 18.8 18.5 - 20.0 20.0 - 21.5 -
    inch  6.3 - 6.9 6.9 - 7.4 7.2 - 7.9 7.9 - 8.5 -
    Hand Length cm 15.5 - 16.5 16.3 - 17.2  17.0 - 18.5 19.0 - 20.0 -
    inch  6.1 - 6.5 6.4 - 6.8 6.7 - 7.3 7.5 - 7.9 -
     EU Size Equivalent  EU 6  EU 7 EU 8 EU 9 -
    *This size guide is specific only to W's Nordic Photography Glove

      

    Please note, our gloves are designed to fit snuggly to give you the best camera feel without compromising on warmth. If you prefer a looser fit, please consider to go a size up.

    As we learn more and more about gloves we also learn that all hands are different. Some people have long skinny fingers and slim wrists, others have wide hands with short fingers.

    Our gloves wont fit all even with the right measurements from the sizing chart – but we try!

     

    What size should I get if I'm between sizes?

    For many, the best option will be to go up a size if your measurements are in between sizes.

    If you are between sizes or if your hands do not fit into the measurements on our sizing chart, we recommend prioritizing the fit for the girth measurement. The girth is the most important measurement and if the girth size on the glove is too small, you won't be able to fit the glove.

     

    Should I size up for my liner glove?

    If you’re considering pairing a liner glove with your photography gloves, we recommend choosing the same size liner as photography glove. We designed our liners to be thin and fit inside of our photography gloves so we recommend your normal size in liners. There are two exceptions to this:

    Exception #1: If you are at the very end of the ratio size in the sizing chart, e.g. 1 mm from being a size Large, then we advise going up a glove size if you plan to often wear the liner with the gloves. 

    Exception #2: If your personal preference is to wear fairly loose gloves, then you should also go up a size when adding a liner. We don't recommend this as you will compromise dexterity with loose gloves and our priority is best possible camera feel. But you know best what you like!

    House tip: Make sure to choose a liner size that is snug/tight on your hand for the best Fliptech performance when wearing liners and gloves together.

    x

    x