In mid-September of 2022, I ran an all-new landscape photography workshop in the South-east of Greenland with my long-time friend and co-photographer Martyn Lucas. This workshop saw us fly from Reykjavik in Iceland to Kulusuk in the South-east of Greenland – a flight time of approximately one hour and forty-five minutes. From Kulusuk we took a private charter boat to the small remote town of Tasiilaq (a journey of approximately one hour); that was to serve as the base for our workshop for the duration of our time in Greenland. Our accommodations were a small hotel located near the top of the town. The hotel, although basic and functional, provides all the usual amenities one would expect to find including private rooms and bathrooms with hot water. It also serves three basic buffet meals a day making it an ideal base for our operations.
The town of Tasiilaq is tucked into the South-east corner of Greenland and is a remote Inuit community of approximately two thousand people. It is also home to some of the most extraordinary landscapes and icebergs to be found anywhere in Greenland. Giant icebergs that carve off the many glaciers in this region drift down the fjord systems before the tidal forces and ocean currents carry them on the next stage of their journey along the coast. Many of the icebergs wash into the bay near the town where they become stranded in the shallower water, whilst others drift along the Greenland coast providing stunning photographic subject material against the backdrop of jagged peaks and mountains.
During this workshop, we made daily excursions by both private boat and car. The majority of our time was spent cruising the nearby fjord systems in search of architecturally interesting icebergs. Photographing icebergs is something I never tire of – their unique beauty and transient nature make them just superb photographic material. We were fortunate to also have some fog during several of our outings that provided excellent opportunities for minimalism. One of the mornings also provided superb light as the rising sun began burning off the sea fog in a blaze of orange and yellow. No words can fully describe the sensation of sailing and photographing amongst monumental icebergs as the dawn sun slowly rises above the horizon lighting up the fog in a blaze of color.
We also visited an abandoned world war 2 base deep in one of the fjord systems at Ikkatteq. The base was originally built and operated by the United States and served as a secret outpost for operations during the war. Now, all that remains are thousands of abandoned oil drums and other rusted relics (including numerous vehicles) of a bygone era. If you are a photographer into rusty bits, it’s just about nirvana. The base is surrounded by stunning precipitous mountains that make for the ideal backdrop. The combination of artifacts, relics, and autumnal colors is a delight for any landscape photographer. There is a wealth of photographic opportunities at this location and as such, we took the opportunity to visit twice during our time in this area of Greenland.
For the most part, we had favorable weather conditions for our daily excursions; although we did lose the better part of two days to relentless drizzle and strong ocean winds. Outside of the bay that houses Tasiilaq the coast of Greenland is fully exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and thus conditions need to be relatively calm to venture too far outside the security of the bay and fjords.
During this time we took the opportunity to venture outside of town via vehicle and explore the nearby landscape. Travel via car is quite limited in this region of Greenland and it’s only possible to venture a few kilometers from town before running out of road.
We were also extraordinarily fortunate to have quite a few days of fog during the trip. As I have written before, fog and icebergs go extremely well together and are a marriage made in heaven. The combination of soft fog and crisp ice makes for ethereal, other-worldly photographs that are highly emotive. Fog also adds a sense of mystery and drama to the scene and greatly assists in cleaning up the background. I will have a future post and video on the post-production of icebergs in fog and what tools work best in Adobe Lightroom to get the most from your files.
This expedition to the South-east of Greenland is very much for those interested in the other-worldly landscapes and gigantic icebergs. Outside of a few species of birds, there is little in the way of wildlife to be found in this southern region of Greenland. However, the landscapes, the icebergs, rusted relics, and the opportunity to create something truly special and unique make this a landscape photographer’s jam.
This first trip to Tasiilaq was a chance to ascertain the photographic possibilities in this rarely-visited region of Greenland. Fortuitously, this area of Greenland offers quite a different experience to Scoresby Sund and is a wonderful counterpoint to cruising the world’s largest fjord system. I plan to return to Tasiilaq again in September of 2024 and preliminary details for this expedition are now on my website at www.jholko.com/workshops. Due to the limited boat size, I can only take a maximum of five photographers on this experience as a precursor to my 2024 Scoresby Sund expedition. If this expedition appeals to you please drop me an email to register your interest.
Footnote: As a result of my continuing ongoing travel, I have not as yet had time to edit or post produce any of the photographs from this expedition. I will update this post at a future date with photographs from the expedition.