07/15/2016

Argentina’s Patagonian Coast

My first photo tour to the orcas of Peninsula Valdes in 2012 (see gallery) was combined with a 7-days extension trip along the Patagonian coast further to the south. After a stopover at the Museum of Paleontology “Egidio Feruglio” in Trelew displaying a fascinating exhibition of giant dinosaurs we went to the Capo dos Bahia reserve situated near Camarones  in order to photograph Magellanic penguins, guanacos, armadillos and more. Past Commodoro Rivadiva we travelled to Puerto Deseado  where we visited the rare Red–legged cormorants at their nesting sites along the Ria Deseado and afterwards photographed Commerson’s dolphins, Rock cormorants and Dolphin gulls during a boat excursion. On Penguin Island, located near Puerto Deseado, around 20 km off the coast, we visited the northernmost colony of Rock Hopper penguins. Sea lions, large numbers of Imperial cormorants and huge gatherings of terns and other birdlife at the shoreline made impressive motifs, too.

The photographs in the gallery were captured with the 300mm/ f.2.8 L IS USM (+1,4x Ext II), 100-400mm/f 4.5-5.6 L IS USM and 70-200mm/f 2.8 L IS USM lenses on Canon 1D Mark IV and 7d cameras. For capturing the Red-legged cormorants the 500mm/ f 4.0 L IS USM + 1,4x Ext II Tele was used, too. General motifs and sceneries mostly were shot with the 24-105mm/f 4.0 L IS USM Zoom on the Canon 1Ds Mark III.

07/13/2016

Peninsula Valdes, Argentina

The Península Valdés, located in the northern stretch of the Patagonian coast in the Argentine province of Chubut, is world-famous for the most specialized and spectacular hunting strategy of orcas taking place during the reproductive period of the southern sea lions and elephant seals: the intentional stranding on the beach in order to capture incautious pups. The dominion of this hunting technique requires a prolonged period of instruction and training in juveniles which is carried out by the adults and passed on to the next generation. Each year, the same orca families are patrolling and scanning the coastline along the surf for inexperienced sea lion pups entering the water unaware of the danger. The orcas, commonly referred to as “killer whales”, actually are the largest members of the dolphin family and have a well- developed sense for hearing underwater to communicate and locate the echo of the pups playing in the swallow water of the beach by lifting and moving gravel on the ocean floor or swimming along the tidal line. They precisely attack them with incredible speed and accuracy by sometimes beaching themselves to capture their prey. That said, by no means all the members of the population practice and master this hunting method and are so-called stranders or beach hunters.

After their return to the open sea the orcas sometimes can be observed slapping their prey around or throwing it several meters into the air with powerful flaps of their fluke. Nature could appear heartless and what seems to be a ferocious and cruel show apparently is part of the learning and training process for the juveniles participating in a game of releasing and recapturing the prey before killing it and sharing the meal.

The overwhelming majority of photographs and documentaries of the amazing hunting and stranding orcas that had been published in the past show “Mel”, a large old male orca who was at the location every season and almost a guarantee for spectacular captures with 60 percent of success whenever he appeared. However, Mel was not seen again after 2011 so that some suppose that he might be dead given his age beyond 50 and thus reaching the high end of the life expectancy for a male orca. Moreover, Mel  had a known jaw bone disease, too. Anyway, the chances of capturing the stranding behavior have become more unpredictable for photographers and film teams after Mel has disappeared.

Generally you patiently have to wait for many hours or even days in the right place for the orcas to appear and even if they are sighted this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re in the mood for hunting.  Tides, wind force and wind direction are important factors, too, since the orcas cannot locate the pups in the coastline under unfavorable conditions and will not risk to get trapped at the beach if the swell is too high. It also often happens that there are no pups in the water simultaneously or they have left in time if the alert adults become aware of the danger.

Beyond that, capturing perfect shots of the orca attacks certainly is one of the most challenging and demanding tasks in wildlife photography given the speed of the approach up to 55 mph and the spray of incoming waves partially covering the orca’s head during the final attack. Additionally, an unfavorable angle of the orca approach and the resulting  light incidence as well as possible “obstacles” such as crossing and fleeing sea lions in the foreground can have a negative impact and prevent the shot desired.

One of the known places to see the orcas is Punta Norte, situated at the extreme northern tip of the Peninsula Valdes and only accessible by gravel road 78 kilometers from Puerto Pyramides.The area is open for the public and the base of the Ranger Station and PNOR staff that does a great job to photo-I.D the orcas, conduct research and protection. However, probably the world’s most renowned hunting beach situated at the distance of around 600m from the visitors area is an opening in the rock reef about 76 meters wide which is called  the “Attack Channel”. During high tide the reef remains below the surface hiding the channel that is frequently crossed by sea lions as they move between the colonies, converting this place into one of the preferred attack sites for the orcas and their optional stranding. This is the location where most photographs and documentaries including those produced by the BBC and National Geographic were captured. The access to the Attack Channel is not allowed to the public but requires a special permit for photographers or film crews and oversight of a ranger. The extended areas north of the visitor center, around the lighthouse  and south of the Attack Channel include more beaches that are favorite places for the orca attacks and very good photographic sites, too. They are private property and not accessible either for casual visitors unless you stay with the owner on his Estancia nearby and join his organized trips to the beaches.

Though the orcas are the main attraction there’s other wildlife to observe and to photograph in the area such as guanacos, rheas, lizards, armadillos, cavys, gray foxes, maras – as well as herons, magellanic penguins in their moulting season, blue-eyed shags, royal terns, giant petrels, owls, peregrine falcons, buzzards and several species of songbirds. During my recent stay we could also witness and photograph the stranding of a Cuvier’s beakon whale which obviously was disorientated and finally could be pushed back into the sea with the combined strengths of man and waves.

I’ve been privileged to visit the Peninsula Valdes 4 times between 2012 and 2016 in order to capture the spectacular hunting method of the orcas which included numerous days and countless hours of patiently waiting, of course. The gallery shows a limited selection of my photographs I took in the Attack Channel as well as on the private beaches mentioned above and public viewpoints. Over time the orca shots and other wildlife mostly were captured with the 200-400mm/f4 L IS USM + 1,4Ext, 300mm /f2.8L IS USM and 100-400mm/ f4.5-5.6 L IS II USM on Canon 1Dx, 1D Mark IV and 7d Mark II cameras. Occasionally the 600mm /f4L IS II USM or 500mm /f4 L IS USM was used, too. The scenery and general motifs were photographed with the 24-70mm /f2.8 L USM II and 70-200mm/f 2.8L USM II on 5d Mark III or 1Ds Mark III bodies.

I hope that I can return to this amazing place to further improve and extend the output of my orca photographs..

02/15/2016

Exotic Butterflies

On the Isle of Mainau in Lake Constance you can visit Germany’s biggest butterfly house which is opened all year round and is a real highlight of the region. There are more than 25 exotic varieties of butterflies from 3 continents (Asia, South America and Africa) which roam freely in a natural environment between tropical plants, completed with a waterfall, bridges and small lagoons. With some luck you can watch them emerge from their cocoons. I visited the butterfly house which was established in 1996 several times between 2004 and 2006 in order to take pictures of these colorful insects. The photos of this gallery were mainly taken with the f2.8/100mm Macro lens using the Macrolite MR 14-EX flash on Canon 1Ds, 1DsMarkII and 10D cameras.

Norway Cruise aboard MS Lofoten

For many years Norway has been one of my favorite destinations. The impressive sceneries and the changing light in the tranquility of nature provide great fascination at every season. On my voyages along the Norwegian coast I travelled more than 10 times on board of the classic Hurtigruten vessel MS Lofoten which was built in 1964 and has a unique atmosphere of privacy. For some years this ship has been only used in winter on the regular coastal route and must give way for the rest of the year to the big modern luxury liners. In the summer of 2005 special cruises aboard the old ship were offered for the first time. I spontaneously decided to participate in a one-week trip around the Lofoten archipelago in combination with a connected tour southbound to Bergen via the Sognefjord, which is known to be the longest and deepest fjord in the world. Outgoing from Bodø we dropped anchor at many places along the Helgeland coast and the Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands, which are not scheduled on the regular Hurtigruten trip. Whalewatching, boat rides to the sea eagle cliffs, hikes, a visit to the Svartisen glacier and many other scenic and cultural attractions made this trip an unforgettable experience. The selection of photos shall provide an impression of the diversity of this tour of which I hope that it will be offered furthermore in the future. Most of the pictures were taken with f2.8/28-70 and f2.8/70-200 IS lenses on Canon 1DsMarkII and 1DMarkII cameras. For some indoor shots the f1.4/35mm lens was used. The photos of the wildlife were taken with f4.0/600 IS and f2.8/300mm IS lenses. I also used 100F Provia film for my Canon 1V camera.

Winter Sceneries and Northern Lights in Norway

The aurora is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena and never has lost its fascination for me over the decades. Once seen, it is never forgotten. I was lucky to watch the Northern lights several times on my winter travels to the North and I will always remember the goose bumps when I first had seen this spectacle on a voyage along the Norwegian coast many years ago. However, photographing the aurora is a different story. Considering the long exposure time, it’s not possible to frame the scenery at night and obtain sharp images aboard a moving ship, of course. At best you can take some mediocre snapshots of the display above without including the landscape drifting by. Therefore it was my long-held wish to be in the right spot at the right time for properly shooting the aurora from the tripod on a picturesque horizon at the backdrop of an adequate scenery. In 2013/2014 the peak of the solar wind activity in its 11years cycle was predicted which should result in increasing geomagnetic storms and thus good chances of watching intense northern lights, – clear night skies permitting, of course.
In February 2013, I therefore had joined a special photo tour to TromsØ in Northern Norway which is the center of aurora research in Europe and a well-known location for watching the Northern Lights. TromsØ is situated within the auroral oval around the pole that also covers Iceland and Alaska with Fairbanks being the main center there. It was a fascinating experience so that I decided to join a second tour in the first week of March 2014 which was great, too. For the most part we were lucky with the weather again. Though we stayed out for many hours during the night, we also did some trips in the daytime for photographing some motifs in the TromsØ area.
The photographs of the Northern lights mostly were taken with the Nikon 14-24/f2.8 G ED zoom on the Canon EOS 1Dx using the Novoflex adapter. The Nikon zoom arguably is the sharpest ultra wide-angle zoom to date – especially at f 2.8. For some shots I also used the Canon 14mm/f2.8 L II USM, Canon 35mm /f1.4 L USM, 24-70mm/f2.8 L II USM zoom and Fisheye 8-14mm L /f4 mounted on the Canon 1Dx or 5d3

Sweden 2007

Located between Mora and Sveg in Orsa Finmark, Hamra National Park with its size of only 28 hectares (0,3 square kilometres) is the smallest national park of Sweden. It was founded in 1909 and forms a pretty untouched oasis of forest in the midst of a managed area, – with wind-fallen trees, snags, vast amounts of beard lichens, boulders and a small lake (“tarn”). Some firs are over 300 years old. The landscape is shaped by two low moraine hills. Apart from its richly varied insect life which counts about 450 species of beetles, the park is not known for a great variety of wildlife. However, when I was there in April 2007, it was a great experience photographing the early morning displays of the male black grouse (blackcocks) as well as taking pictures of cranes, barnacle geese, whooper swans and various species of ducks in this beautiful unaffected and silent nature. I stayed with a German couple who lives in the area for a long time and is well known to the community of professional and amateur nature photographers for their great hospitality and knowledge. They’re organizing trips in the park, providing several watch shelters and huts for photography. We went to the locations (‘leks”) early before dawn so that we could watch and photograph the arising activity of the birds. Unfortunately I had to leave before the mating season of the shy capercaillie but I surely will return to this amazing place once again. We also visited the well-known Järvzoo in Järvsö, which has a large collection of Nordic animals, including the four major carnivores of Sweden: the wolf, bear, lynx and the wolverine. However, at this time of the year, the bears were not yet active. On the way back, we stopped at Hornborga Lake which is located between the two large lakes Vänern and Vättern north of Gothemborg and which is famous for the cranes dancing spectacle yearly taking place in April. Around 8000 to 10000 cranes are gathering here every day to dance and mate before leaving for their final summer destination further north in Norway and Sweden.

The wildlife shots were taken with the 600mm/f4.0 IS, 400mm II/f2.8 and 300mm/f2.8 IS tele lenses on Canon 1D Mark II/ 1Ds Mark II cameras. If necessary, the 1,4x or 2x converter was used additionally. For capturing landscapes, I went with the 24-105mm/f4.0 IS, 24-70mm/f2.8, 70-200mm/f2.8 IS and 35mm/f1.4 lenses.

Galapagos

In March 2009 I took part in a photo expedition to the Galapagos Archipelago which lies some 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador. Its six major islands and broad scattering of smaller islands are set along the equator and constitute what early sailors called Las Islas Encantadas, the Enchanted Island. Our 2009 cruise aboard the aptly named M/V Evolution commemorated the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book “The Origin of the Species”. The volcanic Galapagos Archipelago is without doubt a crown jewel of the natural world and one of the best locations for nature photography I’ve visited to date. The abundant and photogenic wildlife allows human approach within few meters. As known, the islands are home to extraordinary tortoises, iguanas, sea lions, fur seals and the famous Darwin’s finches, altogether with thousands of seabirds and other species. We went ashore on 8 islands throughout the archipelago for extensive shooting sessions in the early morning and late afternoon light. In between we took time to snorkel and to explore the tropical underwater world, looking for sea turtles, rays and coral reef fishes. The organization of the photo tours was excellent and the local guide of the National Park was very competent and cooperative, too. The day we arrived in San Cristobal, we got the information that the La Cumbre volcano on San Fernandina had just begun of spewing lava. During our stay on this island, we unfortunately could not convince the captain to circumnavigate the island for a view of the spectacular eruption. So we could only see the smoke coming up from behind the mountains and get a glimpse of the red skies at night. Missing this unique event was the only drawback of our otherwise excellent trip.

All photos were taken with Canon 1Ds Mark III, 1Ds Mark II and 1D Mark III cameras. The latter mostly was used for photographing wildlife mounted with the 300mm IS/f.2.8 (some with the 1,4x or 2x converter mounted). Many wildlife shots were captured with the 70-200mm/f 2.8 IS, too. For landscapes I preferably used the 24-105mm/f 4.0 IS, 16-35mm or 24-70mm/f 2.8 lenses, the underwater photos were captured with my old 10D and the 24mm/f 1.4 in a EWA marine housing.

Kamchatka 2010

In August 2010 I had joined an 11 days trip to Kamchatka – a 780-mile (1250 km) long peninsula located in the Russian Far East, which separates the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean and equals the size of France, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. Lying on the Great Pacific “Ring of Fire”, Kamchatka Peninsula is one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world, with its high density of more than 160 volcanoes 29 of which are active. There is a multitude of thermal and mineral springs, geysers and other phenomena of active volcanism. Consequently, 19 volcanoes with their kaleidoscope of unusual landscapes, including the famous “Valley of Geysers” located in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, constitute the “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore, Kamchatka is home to the densest population of brown bears in the world. From a photographer’s perspective this was one of my main motifs to travel there. The exceptional concentration of bears is related to the fact that Kamchatka produces over a quarter of all wild Pacific salmon. Its river system hosts the greatest diversity of salmonid fish on Earth. The Kamchatka Brown Bear is a very large subspecies, with a body length up to 3 meters tall on hind legs and a weight of 650 kg (1433 lbs) or more. It nearly has the size of the Kodiak Bear. Normally, the bears are not so aggressive and predatory as their Grizzly counterparts. That said, the known Japanese photographer Mishio Hoshino had been killed in 1996 when camping overnight close to the Kurile Lodge. Despite its great size, the peninsula is home to just 400,000 people of which half live in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. As such, the peninsula is vastly uninhabited, still untamed wilderness and many parts are only accessible by helicopter. Arriving in the capital after a 9 hours flight from Moscow in fact takes you to another world. Due to the weather conditions, we had to stay in Petropavlosk for another 2 days, visiting local museums, a Salmon farm in the Paratunka area and went on a boat ride in the Avacha Bay, which unfortunately was affected by the bad weather. The helicopter flight to the Kurile Lake and the 3 days stay there for photographing numerous bears from a pretty close distance definitely was the highlight of the tour and in this respect surpasses all other locations in the world that I know, including Katmai. Of course, we also visited some other places and attractions shown and described in the gallery, such as the Valley of Geysers, Uzon Caldera, Koduktka Hot springs.
It was a great trip and the local guide did an excellent job. From my personal view, the only disappointment was the fact that we didn’t encounter Stellar’s sea eagles and had not enough time to look for them intensively, because the itinerary had also scheduled a visit to the reindeer herds and locals in the Esso region some 500km north of Petropavlosk. Stellar’s Sea Eagle is the largest sea eagle and another unique attraction besides the Kamchatka brown bears. So I hope I can come back some day to photograph these amazing raptors.

The wildlife shots were taken with the 500mm/f 4.0L IS, 300mm/f 2.8L IS, 100-400mm/f 4.0- 5.6 L IS and 70-200mm/f 2.8 L IS II on Canon 1 D Mark IV, 7D and 1 Ds Mark III cameras, some by using 1,4x and 2x converters. The landscapes photos were captured with the 24-105mm/f 4.0 IS, 24-70mm/f 2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II lenses.

Kamchatka 2013

In August 2013 I took part in a photo expedition to Kamchatka which was my third visit of the Russian Far East. The eruption of the Tolbachik volcano that had started on November 27th 2012 and the spectacular photographs of the event I had seen so far were one of the main motifs to go there once again, hoping that the volcanic activity would still continue. During the climax of the eruption during 28-29th of November, fissures had spread over tens of kilometers in the summit area and the southern slope with several vents showing strombolian activity and lava flow emissions expanding 10 km. The eruption was heard in up to 60 kilometers distance. Tolbachik is one of Kamchakta’s largest and most active volcanoes though there was a period of inactivity for the last 36 years. It is located on the eastern coast 343 km north of Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky in the Central depression of the peninsula at the southern end of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group, 23 km SW of Bezimianny volcano. It is is formed by 2 overlapping cones, the Ostry Tolbachik (3682m) stratovolcano in the west and the Plosky Tolbachik (3085m) shield in the east. If you want to view the stunning virtual tour of panoramic photographs taken at the peak of the eruption at the Plosky Tolbachik go here (Flash required)
Our typical Russian 4×4 converted military truck took us to Esso which is located 500 km from Petropavlosk, necessitating a tiring 8 hour drive on the mostly unpaved and bumpy road. On the next day the helicopter dropped us at the volcano so that we could climb onto the crater. Almost 8 months past the beginning of the eruption there were no massive and spectacular lava fountains and visible lava flows anymore, though. Nevertheless, standing right on the rim of the crater and looking into the bubbling lava fire was an unforgettable experience and well worth the efforts. We could stay nearby the rim just for taking a few photographs because of the dangerous emissions of sulfur dioxide and lava bombs still striking around us.
Of course, the revisit of the famous Kamchatka brown bears at Kurilskoye Lake was another highlight of the trip. A 10km trail to the source of the Hakytsin River offered us numerous close encounter with the hunting bears at eye level and many great photographic options though the time for stops along the way was limited. During a boat ride on the Kuril lake we were also looking for the Stellar’s sea eagle but only saw one bird in a less than optimal position on a rainy day. Landing by helicopter in a small area on top of the Mutnoswky volcano where snow and glacial ice meet fumaroles and volcanic gas was another impressive adventure. Mutnovsky is also one of the most active volcanoes of Kamchatka and is situated just about 70 km away from Petropavlosk. The mystic steam –veiled scenery amongst the colorful and partially ice-covered volcanic formations was amazing and seemed to point at the entrance of hell.
A selection of my photographs can be viewed in the slideshow (Flash required). Detailed information and GPS-data are added to these images in the gallery below. For some revisited places please see the gallery of 2010, too. The photographs of the scenery for the most part were taken with 24-105mm/f 4.0 IS, 24-70mm/f2.8 II, 70-200mm/f2.8 II IS zooms on Canon EOS 5d3, and 1Ds Mark III bodies. For capturing the wildlife I had used the new and excellent 200-400mm/f4.0 + 1,4x IS and 600mm IS II lenses, optionally with 1,4x converter, as well as the 100-400mm/f 4.5-5.6 IS zoom mounted on 1Dx and 1D Mark IV cameras.

Svalbard 2003 and 2004

The Svalbard archipelago – sometimes referred as to Spitsbergen – is situated half-way between Norway and the North Pole. No other place in the High Arctic offers a comparable abundance of polar features and wildlife in such a limited area. The scenery of peaked mountains and huge glaciers under the Midnight Sun as well as the flora and fauna fascinated me any time I had visited this remote area. In 2003 and 2004 I took part in expedition voyages on board of the Russian vessel “MV Molchanov”. Most pictures of the Svalbard main gallery and Svalbard wildlife gallery were taken with Canon 1Ds, 10D and 1V cameras. I mostly used the 16-35mm/f2.8, 28-70mm/f2.8 and 70-200mm/f2.8 zooms for photographing the landscape and the 600mm/f4.0 and 300mm/f2.8 lenses +1,4x converter for wildlife shots.

Antarctica 2006

A voyage to Antarctica is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It offers nature and wilderness in its purest state. So in December 2004 a dream came true when I could join an expedition cruise aboard “M/S Bremen” to the southernmost and frozen continent. Though it was pretty obvious that this trip wouldn’t be addressed to the special needs of professionals or serious photographers at the same degree as other expedition voyages, I was very happy to get this unique chance. After a short visit to the Tierra del Fuego National Park (Fireland NP) we embarked in Ushuaia, often regarded as “city at the end of the world” with the silhouette of the Andes Mountain Range as background. We travelled through the sheltered waters of the Beagle Channel and into the south Atlantic to the Falklands onto South Georgia, escorted by Albatrosses, Petrels and Shearwaters. Facing hundreds of thousands of King Penguins against the dramatic background of South Georgia’s snow covered peaks is an overwhelming and unforgettable experience. Gentoo, Chinstrap and Macaroni Penguins as well as various seals are abundant too. Passing huge icebergs we followed Shackleton’s route to Elephant Island and the South Shetlands before reaching the Antarctic Peninsula with its spectacular ice formations. We set foot on the famous Paradise Bay and other localities along the shorelines of the Lemaire Channel where we encountered Adelie Penguins, Shags and whales. Back across the famous Drake Passage we disembarked in Ushuaia. Serious Photography on regular Antarctic cruises often differs from taking pictures elsewhere since you’re closely faced with a huge abundance of wildlife but you have to get the best motifs in the pretty limited time you’re allowed to go ashore. I returned from the trip with more than 10000 photos, which mostly had been taken with f2.8/28-70L, f2-8/70-200L and 2.8/300L lenses (some with 1,4 converter) using Canon 1DsMk2 and 1DMK2 Digital Cameras. In addition I used Fujichrome Provia 100F for my Canon 1V film body.
12/21/2015

Southwest Greenland

In the wake of the Vikings we followed the routes cut by Eric the Red and Leif Ericsson on our second trip from Iceland to Southern Greenland and across the Davis Strait to Baffin Island. We studied Viking history and Icelandic Sagas, visited settlement ruins, Inuit communities, enjoyed the stunning scenery and also looked for wildlife again. Navigating through the narrow waters of Prins Christian Sound with its amazing array of glaciers and icebergs surrounded by steep granite walls and peaks was without question one of the scenic highlights of the cruise. After we had crossed the Davis Strait which separates Greenland and North America we sailed through the magnificent Frobisher Bay to Baffin Island. I had to disembark in Iqaluit, the capital of the newly created Nunavut territory of Canada, while the ship continued the route down the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland to St John’s and Halifax So far, wildlife was not very abundant on the trip which might be caused by extensive hunting and the lack of sea ice. We encountered only a handful icebergs when crossing the Davis Strait which is said to be the “alley of the icebergs” coming down from Disco Bay. The photographs shown in both galleries were taken with Canon 1Ds Mark II and 1D Mark II cameras mostly using the f 4.0/24-105mm L IS and f2.8/70-200mm L IS zooms. For wildlife shots I used the f2.8/300mm IS lens + 1,4x converter. Occasionally the f4.0/600mm IS lens was taken too. For special motifs, the f2.8/100mm macro and f1.4/ 35mm lens came into play. Additionally I used 100F Provia slide film with the Canon 1V camera.

East Greenland

In the summer of 2006 I took part in 2 consecutive voyages aboard “M/V Polar Star” to Greenland and Baffin Island. Both trips were not primarily adapted to the special interests and the timing of serious nature photographers but had a strong historical focus. So a lot of compromises was required. Nevertheless, it was an impressive experience and the only chance for me to get to these remote places in the limited period I had available. That’s why I had decided to join. On the first trip, we set off from Svalbard and sailed west across the Demark Strait to East Greenland trying to reach land as far north as the sea ice allowed. We travelled down the remote coast of Greenland entering a landscape of dramatic fjords, endless tundras, glaciers and icebergs By Zodiac rides we visited places of interest relating to exploration and settlement. Before sailing back to Iceland we entered the well-known Scoresby Sund which is the largest fjord of the world and with its huge walls and towers of ice was one of the most impressive places on the trip. We encountered several species of wildlife such as seabirds, musk oxes, seals and some whales too. Sadly enough, we could see the retreat of the glaciers and dramatic melting due to the global warming in many places along Greenland’s coast. So I’m glad I once could visit the vanishing beauty of this unique landscape which still is one of the last pristine environments of the world.

West Greenland

In 2002 I had joined the so-called “Thule Expedition” on board of the Russian vessel “MV Grigoriy Mikheev “. Prior to the voyage, I had spent some days in the famous Disko Bay with its array of huge icebergs most of them breaking from the world’s most productive and fastest moving glacier, the Jakobshavn Glacier, also known as Sermeq Kujalleq . At its terminus it is flowing at speeds of more than 20 meters (66 ft) per day and  the velocity has even increased in the last years, probably due to the global warming.  During my stay I also could view the immense dimensions of the glacier and its calving front by helicopter. Afterwards, our ship took us from Ilulissat via Uumannaq, Upernavik and the Melville Bay all along the west coast of Greenland to Thule and northernmost into the Smith Sound until the pack ice had stopped us from moving further. The collection of photographs may give you an impression of the breathtaking scenery

For the first time I had also used a DSLR (Canon D60) on this trip, though most photographs still had been taken with my slide cameras (Canon EOS 1V and EOS 3).Therefore some scans are included in the gallery, too.