Greenland Scoresby Sund 2022 Winter is Coming Expedition Report

In late September of 2022, I ran a landscape expedition to Scoresby Sun on the East coast of Greenland. This expedition was originally scheduled to run in September 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw us delayed until 2022.  My sincere thanks to all those who were patient with the pandemic delay and kept the faith that we would finally be able to make our course to the world’s largest fjord system in search of stunning icebergs and landscapes. I do want to emphasize the point that this expedition was only possible due to the understanding and patience of all who participated – to them all I am eternally grateful. I am also grateful to my very good friends Martyn Lucas and Daniel Bergmann who assisted me tirelessly with expedition duties.

Just as an aside, I have now almost cleared my backlog of delayed workshops and expeditions. An updated list of new trips for 2023 and 2024 is now on my website at www.jholko.com. Please feel free to contact me if you have an interest in traveling on a future workshop or expedition.

Our scheduled departure for Greenland was the 24th of September 2022 with a private charter flight from Reykjavik to Constable Point on the East Coast of Greenland. We were, however, regrettably delayed two days in Reykjavik due to a combination of Iceland Air operational issues and a large storm front moving south down from the Arctic with near hurricane-force winds.

Delays are commonplace in expedition sailing in the Arctic and fortunately, we were able to make our way safely to Constable Point to begin our photographic adventure. After two years of COVID delays, it seemed a trifle for all to manage a forty-eight-hour delay.

During this expedition, we had what was without doubt the most sublime sunrise I have been fortunate to experience in the Scoresby Sund region. A combination of low wispy clouds, gently rising fog, and stunning dawn light bathed the landscape in a golden glow that lasted hours as we silently sailed through the fjord system. The early morning dawn transitioned into one of superb reflections of the snow-capped mountains in the pitch-black waters of the world’s largest fjord system. It was an unforgettable day of photography that saw everyone on board photographing from first light until sunset. I do not believe it’s overreaching to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

During this expedition, we also experienced the change of season as Greenland transitioned from Autumn to winter and shed its brief Autumnal tundra colors, and began to don its winter armor. We witnessed the first snows of winter and the very first formation of sea ice – which provided outstanding photographic opportunities for foreground against the gigantic icebergs.

The timing of this expedition was deliberately late in the season to allow us both a low angle of the sun, proper sunrise and sunset as well an opportunity for the first snows and sea ice. The dark night sky also provided us with an Aurora Borealis display on our first night in Greenland. Having traveled to this region of Greenland on many occasions in many different months, it is my experience that this time of year offers the most dramatic light and experience. The weather and conditions are always a mixed bag in the Arctic, but the timing of the expedition can heavily stack the deck in your favor if ideal photographic conditions are your aim.

The East coast of Greenland and Scoresby Sund is of course best known for their incredible icebergs that drift slowly through the fjord system on gentle currents. Many of these icebergs are truly monumental in scale and would easily dwarf city buildings and even entire city blocks. We estimated several of the icebergs we photographed at well over one and a half kilometers long and in excess of one hundred and fifty meters in height (keep in mind more than 7/10ths of their mass also lies underwater!).  Their castellated sculptural formations frequently comprise a myriad of shades of blue, turquoise, and aquamarine that are simply superb subject material for the camera and were our primary focus for the expedition.

In a world where most iconic landscape photography locations have become nothing more than a matter of repetition by hordes of visiting photographers, it is refreshing to photograph icebergs. Their transient nature means they are never the same minute to minute. They are unique sculptures of Nature that stand alone as iconic statues impossible to repeat. Viewers must simply dive into the image and revel in the transient nature of these incredible icebergs. They are here today and gone tomorrow and that finite nature is what makes their beauty so attractive.

In my experience, there is nowhere else on earth that offers the unmissable opportunities the East Coast of Greenland provides. Whether you are a rock hound in search of incredible geology, or an iceberg junkie, there simply is no better place to sake your photographic thirst.

My next expedition to Greenland is in September 2023 with a Sold Out expedition to Scoresby Sund. Following this, my next expedition will be in September of 2024 with an expedition to both the South East coast and Scoresby Sund for otherworldly landscapes and icebergs. At this time of the year, the sun is low in the sky, and the landscape is bathed in golden light. There are still several places available on the expedition before it will be sold out. Please drop me an email for more information, or to secure your place.

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. I arrived back in Australia very early this morning and hope to have some images up later this week (once I clear the significant jet lag fuzz).

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