Friday, March 27, 2009

Icebergs in Greenland?

August 2008
First Ice! Here is the very first bit of ice that the newly christened National Geographic Explorer encounters as she crosses the Denmark Strait, the body of water that separates Iceland from Greenland.
Beautiful icebergs by Zodiac near Skjoldungesund, Greenland.
Sculpted formations that seem to defy building codes. The blues are simply ethereal.
Warm summer days are constantly melting the bergs right in front of us, slowly changing their form and shape in an infinite variety of ways.
Sometimes more dramatic changes occur in a heartbeat. Watch as this iceberg just outside the tiny town of Tasiilaq fractures and calves with a thunderous clap.
Locals say that this huge berg has been grounded here in the harbor for weeks now, quiet and unassuming as it slowly melts away in the summer heat.
We are just lucky enough to be here when the quiet is shattered by the sound of the berg exploding from within.
Huge chunks of ice are thrown skyward and then fall into the awaiting arms of the sea.
A massive wave forms, one that actually swept into the harbor and violently rocked all the boats docked there. All grew quiet once again, at least until the next time this berg decides to self-destruct!

Photography in higher latitudes!

August 2008
How could you possibly spend a better summers day than to wander in the Valley of the Flowers on Ammassalik Island in Greenland? The answer of course is not only to stop and smell the flowers, but to stop and photograph them as well. Nice form Robert!
A self-portrait overlooking the picturesque town of Qaqortoq, formerly Julianhåb, in Greenland. Color, leading lines, and shadows for drama were all coming together nicely for this photo. Smile!
At these high latitudes the golden hour for photography can come quite late. Here is a glimpse of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) just before midnight off the stern of the National Geographic Explorer.
Amanda frames a different view of the ship at dock in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Using a "framing" technique can be fun and give a nice window into your photographic subject.
Even our Videographer got into the action. Kevin, you look so intent!
CT wandering among Arctic cotton above the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland.
Dewdrops on this flower frame Deb as she concentrates on her photography.
Of course photography in the summer here can come with its own special challenges. Puffins and terns are not the only "birds" out in force in this area, as Jen demonstrates!
But the quiet and solitude can make for a relaxing and enjoying afternoon composing shots. While this area is not a target-rich wildlife spot, fun images can be made for those who look!

Iceland is for the birds!

August 7, 2008
This morning we find ourselves in the very dramatic fjords of northwest Iceland in the Hornstrandir peninsula. Atlantic puffins wheel past, their beaks full of a tasty meal for their waiting chicks, snuggled deep into burrows excavated in the ground.
Not to be outdone by a mere puffin, an Arctic tern gets into the action as well!
Nothing is more comical than watching these fat little birds trying to come in for a landing with a beak full of fish. The wings flare, the feet come out as brakes, and they literally just fall out of the sky onto the grassy hills!
In contrast to the puffins, the Arctic tern is sleek and aerodynamic. Long lines, graceful wings and tail, with a long and narrow beak. These birds are elegant in flight!
What the puffin lacks in grace it makes up for with brute strength. Such a chunky and stout little bird, but you have to admit that its pretty cool to carry so many fish in your beak at once!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Geographic Explorer launches!

August 6, 2008
The inaugural voyage of the National Geographic Explorer began yesterday evening in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. This morning glasses were raised as Sven Lindblad toasted to the health and long life of the newest expedition ship in the Lindblad fleet!
The National Geographic Explorer is rated for ice-filled polar waters and will sail the world at high latitudes in the respective hemispheres summer time in search of everything from polar bears to penguins. I wish her a long and distinguished career and hope to call her my new home for many expeditions into the future!
A head on view of the National Geographic Explorer.
Her she is at anchor in Hvalsey Kirke, Southwest Greenland, the first time for this ship to visit Greenland!
The National Geographic Explorer circumnavigating the island of Skjoldungen in the very remote part of southeast Greenland.
Alone with only a Zodiac to confirm soundings, the National Geographic Explorer will often find herself in very remote parts of the world, with no other expedition ship for hundreds of miles around! May she always bring adventure and excitement to those who travel on her. Skol!