PHOTO GALLERY: Greenland in Black & White

Greenland’s saturated sunsets and deep blue waters can challenge even the best painter’s palette, but Greenland can also be quite stunning in black and white. The chiaroscuro effect adds an element of mystery and enchantment, and at times it can be downright eerie!

So, as a direct follow-up to yesterday’s photo gallery, Colorful Greenland, today I present to you my best black and white shots.

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Kangeq, 21 April 2013 (Abandoned settlement near Nuuk where the Danish colonists tried to make it for 7 years (1721-1728) before moving the short distance to the mainland, where Nuuk stands today)

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Nuuk Fjord, 21 April 2013 (Sermitsiaq in background)

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 27 April 2013 (Piteraq)

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Tasiilaq, 27 April 2013 (Piteraq)

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 28 April 2013

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 28 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 27 April 2013

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Kulusuk, 24 April 2013

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PHOTO GALLERY: Colorful Greenland

Erik the Red should have called Greenland “Regnbueland” instead 🙂 Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos, violets, whites and everything in between – it all exists in the nature here!

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Qaqortoq, January 2014 (Photo credit: Pilu Nielsen via Facebook)

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Nuuk, September 2013

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Ilulissat, April 2013

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Ilulissat, April 2013

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Somewhere between Nuuk and Maniitsoq, August 2012

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Nuuk, December 2013

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Uummannaq, June 2013

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Nuuk, August 2012

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Ilulissat, August 2013

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Sisimiut, August 2013

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Kangerlussuaq, August 2013

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Nuuk (Ilulialik), August 2012

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Nuuk, September 2012

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Somewhere between Sisimiut and Ilulissat, August 2012

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, June 2012

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Kangerlussuaq, March 2013

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Nuuk, August 2012 cropped-p1000288.jpg

Uummannaq, June 2012

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, April 2013

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Sisimiut, August 2013

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Ilulissat, August 2013

Click here for more exquisite shots of this fantastic country.

My Greenland Bucket List

Want to know what I am still wishing for in Greenland?

True, I have seen and done a lot of things in Greenland, and I am forever grateful for each of them. But there are still a number of experiences I dream of, and the list is constantly evolving!

In order, starting with biggest wish:

  1. Hike to see columnar basalts on Disko Island! Photo credit: Laali Berthelsen via Facebook.columnar basalts
  2. Hike to the top of Sermitsiaq, the key mountain in Nuuk (3,970 ft/1.210 m)!P1000841
  3. Hike to the Isua site where Minik Rosing, the Greenlandic geologist, discovered what could be the oldest rock on the Earth (4.7 – 4.8 billion years old)! Photo credit: Politiken.dk.minik rosing
  4. Play “gem apprentice” to this resident of Qeqertarsuatsiaat, i.e. sail and hike with him to hunt for rubies!ruby
  5. Stay in Siorapaluk, the northernmost inhabited settlement in Greenland (77*47’08″N, 775 miles/1.248 km above the Arctic Circle)! Photo credit: Hotel Qaanaaq.siorapaluk
  6. Help tag/take samples of polar bears, like my lucky friend here! Photo credit: Pia C. Bang via Facebook.Pia_Isbjørn
  7. Spend some nights on the frozen sea in one of these pods, while on a dogsledge tour with the staff and children from the Uummannaq Polar Institute group! Photo credit: Fast Company.3023961-slide-sledge-project-robsweere-web8
  8. Sail/whale-watch for narwhals in Northwest Greenland! Photo credit: Adventure Junky3874_468033036596044_770823764_n

Click below to read about some of my favorite Greenland experiences so far:

Paragliding in Nuuk

Hiking Ukkusissat

Walking 22 km from Oqaatsut to Ilulissat

Hiking Kingittorsuaq

Sailing on Sarfaq Ittuk, Part 1 and Part 2

Watching a Football Game on the Inland Ice

Is Greenland on your Bucket List?

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Photo taken: 1 July 2012 in Oqaatsut, Greenland (69*N 51*W)

It amazes me how people in every corner of this world dream to visit Greenland – in Australia, in Brazil, in Serbia, the list goes on. I am currently analyzing the results for a survey/contest that Visit Greenland ran in the autumn, and people all over the world participated. There was one simple question: “Why do you want to go to Greenland?” and the winner got a trip for 2 to Greenland. So many of the responses are incredibly touching – written by people who have dreamed of visiting Greenland their entire lives!

It makes me think. Greenland was never on my radar before 19 December 2011… not even slightly. But all it took was watching this short video for me to see instantly that Greenland was everything I never knew I wanted. It was more than just thinking it was beautiful nature or cool music – it was a feeling that this was my calling!

So for those of you who have Greenland on the “Bucket List” – and also for those of you who don’t – I do sincerely hope you get there one day because it is simply the MOST magical place on Earth, and it just might change your life!

If any of you care to share why you dream of Greenland, please feel free to comment below 🙂

Review of “Village at the End of the World”

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Photo credit: http://www.villageattheendoftheworld.com/photos

Village at the End of the World is a 2013 British-made documentary about life in Niaqornat (70*N 52*W), a settlement with 52 inhabitants in northwestern Greenland. It is an extremely accurate portrayal of life in Greenland in terms of addressing current issues like identity, investment in the future and education, globalization, sustainable hunting, tourism, and Danish relations. Though this film only depicts the socially and physically small community of Niaqornat, these issues are universal. I recommend this film to anyone who wants insight into modern Greenland, but viewers should take care to realize that everywhere in Greenland does not look like Niaqornat in terms of size and structures.

Perhaps my only complaint about the film is its title. Sure, words and phrases like “remote” and “end of the world” are titillating to the average person, and I suppose that 293 miles/472 km north of the Arctic Circle does sound like the furthest place on Earth to most people…But these words are also plagued by the associations that the people living in this village are primitive or that you will not be able to relate to them. From my time in Greenland, I can tell you that that is certainly not true! I suppose that’s the plot twist viewers are supposed to learn for themselves, but my humble opinion is that the title would be better as “Village at the Top of the World” 🙂

On a personal note, watching this film is quite special for me. Seeing the nature but also seeing the people and hearing the language makes my heart happy. It is familiar, and it feels like home. The film is about as real as you can get because in a small country like Greenland, there are no stunt-doubles, props, or staging. For example, there is a scene where an Air Greenland helicopter lands at the settlement – I, myself, have sat in that exact machine! I have shopped in Pilersuisoq stores in settlements, and one really can find shoes for sale right next to the frozen goods. I know well the sound of walking through town and hearing sledge dogs howl, and even the radio broadcast you can hear in the film is the same as I listen to every day in Greenland.

I have not been to Niaqornat yet, but I have been to the general area twice. The Uummannaq Fjord is, and always will be, my favorite place in Greenland, so that’s another reason why watching this film was special for me. If you can find your way to Niaqornat or Uummannaq (it’s just one short flight, plus a very short helicopter ride, from Ilulissat), I highly recommend it! The air, mountains, and sky there are so pristine and distinct; they will be forever imprinted in the memories of all who set eyes on them!

A few more details about the film…

!!!! Spoiler Alert !!!!

One of the big themes of the film is that Greenland has a firm place at the table that is the modern world. It may be geographically far from some places on the globe, but isn’t everywhere? I agree with Sarah Gavron when, in her Director’s Statement, she calls Greenland “the heartbeat of our planet”.

The opening scene is quite poignant and makes the point that even in small settlements at the “end of the world,” there are people prioritizing the future and considering how to advantageously position the next generations so that they have a solid place in that future. Mathias, the schoolteacher, writes on the board, “What is my future?” and “I want to be…” and then opens up the floor to the young students. One boy wants to be a fisherman; one girl wants to work in Pilersuisoq, the “general store” of sorts; another boy wants to be a pilot. The teacher smiles at him approvingly and tells him that he must be good in English to become a pilot.

The modernity thread continues with the inclusions of technology throughout the film. At one point Lars, the protagonist, gets on Facebook and scrolls through his friends in Denmark, Mexico, and the United States. He says, “I feel close to other countries, even though they are far away,” (12:00). And later in the film you see that he dreams of visiting New York City one day. Another character, Ilannguaq, started his relationship with his girlfriend (a Niaqornat resident) via online dating! So yes, world, Greenland is firmly in 2014 with Internet technology! But they do have to pay an arm and a leg for such luxury 😉

Another theme in the film that is a bit more somber is that of identity and independence. It is primarily exhibited by the Niaqornat residents, who want to privately own and operate the fish factory that Royal Greenland shut down so that they can remain in their beloved home. But just peruse one of the Greenland newspapers, and you will soon see that the issues are oh-so-relevant at the national level, too. In the film, Karl (a hunter and the leader of the community) has a number of inspiring quotes, including:

“In my opinion, only we can secure our future” (22:58)

“We will need to act independently if this village is to keep its inhabitants” (46:25)

To find out if the Niaqornat residents buy the fish factory and preserve the existence of their settlement and the life they love, you will have to watch the film yourself!!