Greenland Photo Tour 2019 August 7th-14th 2019 with Rick Sammon and Kevin Dooley
To take a trip through the icy wilderness of Scoresby Sound is to go back to a time when things were simpler, when our collective will was worth little in the face of nature’s supreme power. There are few places left in the world where landscapes, weather and the seasons combine to leave you feeling both small and in awe, but the eastern coast of Greenland is certainly one of those remaining wonders. This photography tour is an adventure through the rugged waterways of Scoresby Sound, a network of stunning fjords that will take your breath away.
We will spend eight spectacular days sailing through pristine arctic landscapes, gazing up at imposing basalt cliffs, capturing icebergs as they make a break for the open ocean, and delighting in the rare wildlife that calls Greenland home. The tour will be led by local guides and an expert photographer, and will include regular workshops and talks on landscape photography to help you capture the many magnificent sights that we will come across.
Despite what its name might suggest, more than 75% of Greenland is actually covered in ice. This, combined with the fact that it’s the least densely populated country in the world, means that the untouched landscapes here are perfect for a photography tour. During the summer when this trip will take place, we will travel under the light of the midnight sun, and shoot in the near-constant glow that comes from being this far north at this time of year.
Rare arctic plants, serene icebergs, towering cliffs and spectacular glacier formations are just the tip of the iceberg; we are also likely to witness whales in their natural habitat and countless species of birds.
The bulk of our traveling will take place on board our ship the Opal. It’s a fitting way to explore this part of the world, and we will sail along in silence without disturbing areas that have stood quietly for thousands of years. While the deck of the ship will offer incredible views throughout the tour, we will be using zodiac boats to take trips onto shore and extend our exploration of the many glaciers and icebergs.
Highlights of the Tour
Spectacular Arctic landscapes
Scoresby Sound is one of the world’s largest fjord networks. It covers an area of more than 38,000 km² of east Greenland, and branches out into more waterways than you could count.
Size is all well and good, but Scoresby Sound offers so much more than just a huge area of wilderness to explore. Photographers, whether you’re into scenery and landscapes or wildlife, will find no shortage of subjects for incredible photo shoots. Much of this adventure will focus on landscapes: Tranquil icebergs of all shapes and sizes are dotted along the waterways, enormous glaciers will tower over our ship, granite mountains dominate the horizon all around. But Greenland also has a heart beneath its bold natural sights. We’ll take the time to explore villages and settlements home to friendly locals who hold a burning passion to preserve their incredible environment, and there’ll be no shortage of curious wildlife to capture with our cameras.
Scoresby Sound – History
Despite being the largest fjord network in the world, Scoresby Sound managed to remain hidden from the wider world until relatively recently. The main body of the fjord was first mapped in 1822 by English explorer William Scoresby, although people of the Thule culture populated the area many years before. Only since the mid-80s has the area been easily accessible to international travellers, and these days the settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit is home to less than 500 friendly Greenland natives.
The settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit was founded in 1925 with people coming from all over Greenland. In part, it was funded by Denmark, who wanted to increase its territory on the world’s largest island. The town has become a hub for hunters and tourists, as well as a base for people looking to explore Scoresby Sound.
Any place as remote as this is going to have something different about it. The Ittoqqortoormiit locals are a friendly, hardy bunch, and sometimes just living here can be an adventure. The settlement’s closest neighbour is the world’s largest national park, and the arctic landscape all around is an untouched wilderness full of birds, polar bears, musk oxen, reindeer, walrus and 18,000 km of desolate coastline.
Flora & Fauna of Scoresby Sound
During this photography adventure in Scoresby Sound, we’ll come across a plethora of arctic animals, birds and plants. Each has its unique charms, and some are easier to find than others, but we can expect to photograph many species of sea bird, seals, walruses and even Bowhead whales. The plant life can also be spectacular in this part of the world. Fertile, unspoilt land, areas of open water that don’t freeze all year round, and towering mountains that provide shelter from the freezing winds all contribute to a thriving ecosystem. During our trip we’ll take plenty of time to leave the boat and explore the shorelines, where, with any luck, the group will come across musk oxen, arctic foxes, lemmings and many other animals native to Greenland.
Day 1 – Arrival
The adventure begins with your arrival at Keflavik international airport, Iceland. From the airport, a speedy bus service, flyBus, will take you to your hotel in the center of Reykjavík. Once you’ve settled in and had some time to rest, we’ll collect you from the lobby in the evening and head out for a group dinner. There we will eat, get to know each other and talk some more about the trip to come.
On day two we’ll leave Iceland’s capital and take a two-hour flight to Constable Point airport, Greenland. After landing, the group will board the ship that will be our home for the next week. We’ll have a full safety briefing and discuss any additional information about the journey to come.
We’ll then head to village of Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most remote yet incredibly located settlements in the world. Less than 500 people call this town home, and the locals are a hardy bunch that rely on hunting, gathering and fishing to get by. There’s plenty to shoot here, from the rugged residents to their colourful houses and the breathtaking landscape all around.
Ittoqqortoormiit sits at the mouth of Scoresby Sound, and on day three we will begin our journey into Greenland’s largest fjord. Together we will witness a changing landscape of arching mountains of ice and stone, and floating formations of serene icebergs. These sights, combined with the mystical light of the midnight sun, will ensure that we have a memorable day of photography aboard our ship. One definite highlight will be Rødefjord, an inlet full of majestic icebergs. We will also hear for the first time the eerie creaking of the ice. The day will end with a stop in the peaceful, former Inuit settlement of Hekla Havn, a wander around the area, and the chance to shoot the scenery all around.
The fourth day of this Scoresby Sound photography tour will be characterised by the imposing basalt mountains and steep cliffs on either side of the Føhnfjord. The mountains of Gåseland will rise above our port side, while the 2,000 metre-high cliffs of Milne Land will dominate the horizon to starboard.
Later on we will pass through Harefjord – an area packed with photographic sights all around, before sailing further through Rødefjord, where we’ll encounter more iceberg formations offering plenty of opportunities to practice your newfound ice-shooting skills. We will stay in the area for two nights, making the most of the arctic landscapes, ice-filled waterways and rugged rock formations.
On day five we will continue to explore Harefjord, wandering its shorelines in search of wildlife, subjects and landscapes to capture with our cameras. With any luck there will be plenty to choose from, with dramatic mountain ridges, glacial outlets, arctic foxes, stoats, mountain hares and eagles all around. To end a memorable day, the group will enjoy a cosy bonfire and fill up on delicious flame-grilled treats.
On day six we will sail away on through Harefjord and head towards Øfjord for an awe-inspiring day of Arctic photography. There we will witness jagged, mountainous peaks rising from the water, and pass below granite cliffs towering over 200 metres above us. It’s a magnificent spectacle, and one that will stay with you forever, whether or not you choose to document the experience with your camera!
It goes without saying that this will be an incredible day for photography, and to help you make the most of it our expert photographer will guide you through and offer plenty of advice. Once we drop anchor at Jyttes Havn at Bjørneøe, there will be more chances to capture breathtaking scenery; the area is known for beautiful coast, lakes and imposing cliffs.
Day seven will be spent wandering around Jytteshavn in the Bear Islands. The area was declared a natural reserve a few years ago and enjoys a strict protected status as a result. There are several options in terms of hikes, depending on how keen group members are to walk and shoot simultaneously.
Day seven will be fantastic for more wildlife photography. The steep cliffs on the island are home to huge colonies of seabirds, and there’s plenty more to discover among the gentler slopes we will explore on foot.
Jytteshavn is also the perfect spot to take a swim. Yes, really. Believe it or not, the water temperature here can be as surprisingly not-freezing as 13°C at this time of year. To end the day we’ll enjoy a meal together on board the ship and make a warming bonfire on the beach.
On day eight we will enjoy a scenic cruise down what’s known as the Arctic Riviera, the Tyhe channel – between Bear Islands and Milne land. This final leg of our photography adventure will provide amazing views of the huge icebergs that reside in these waters. The evening will slide by in a haze of ice and magical light, and we’ll wake up in the morning having arrived back at Constable Point.
On the morning of day nine we will enjoy a hearty breakfast and take some time to look back upon all we have experienced and photographed together. We will then disembark our wonderful ship and catch a flight back to Reykjavik.
Day ten is always a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, you’ll be eager to get back home and share your experiences and photos with loved ones, but on the other, you’ll be well aware that you’re leaving one of the world’s most stunning wildernesses behind.
You’ll catch your flight home from the Icelandic capital safe in the knowledge that you’ve had the experience of a lifetime.
Built at the Bodenwerft in Damgarten, Germany in 1951, she served as a trawler in the Baltic- and North Sea and in the Barents Sea. In 1973 new owners started her restoration. During 8 years until 1981, Opal was converted to the elegant but seaworthy, two masted schooner she is today. She has sailed all over the world, completing several trans-Atlantic crossings, being carefully maintained through the years. Opal has remained with the same owners, until becoming part of North Sailing´s fleet in early 2013. She has undergone restoration and had interior work done to better fit her for the new purpose as an expedition ship.
The Opal has six double/twin cabins plus crew facilities. She has three bathrooms, two showers. She comfortably fits 12 passengers, plus her crew.
- $7890.00 per person
- 09 nights 10 Days
- Depart USA August 5th 2019
- Arrive Keflavik international airport, Iceland August 6th 2019
- Kelflavik Overnight August 06th 2019
- Flight to Greenland and Boat August 07th 2018
- Boat greenland Tour August 07- 14th 2019
- Airport Return August 14th 2019
- USA Arrival August 15th 2019
- Workshop Fee $395.00