Greenland – a place of which we had little or no expectation, but were humbled and shaken by. It’s a land of outrageous scenery, a place that makes you feel alive again – like a child again. Immense 150 foot icebergs adorn every corner of your vision, colours penetrate your vision and you feel like it’s the first time you’ve seen true blue and white colour.
What’s more, it’s a place where time stops. Arctic wildlife being as elusive as it is means that you have time to fall in love with the landscape, compose your shots carefully and contemplate and test your settings. For me – that was ideal. I am used to taking wildlife shots, and am therefore used to quickly framing pictures, working with high speed ISO, wide aperture and servo setting, mainly working at full zoom. For the first holiday in years, I started to work with the full range of my camera settings – testing my exposure compensation, aperture, ISO, flash compensation, playing with multiple autofocus settings, my white balance and focus settings. It seemed odd to me to be in such a remote place on a once in a lifetime holiday and use this as an opportunity to extend my skills and the use of the camera – but time was a luxury we had and I loved experimenting with my settings and composition.
I found myself frequently at ground level, crawling in mud and heather to correct my depth of field and capture the full spectrum of the landscape in my shot. I was frequently working at aperture 18+, ISO 100 and exposure compensation at -1. This meant I could capture the smallest arctic flower in the forefront of the shot whilst still capturing the distant mountains in the background (and everything else in-between). Working on a central focus setting with an aperture of 20+ allowed me to choose my exact reference point in the picture whilst also capturing the wider arctic scene. I enjoyed the fact that good photography became a result of time and consideration – opposed to adrenaline and fast shutter speeds. I enjoyed wandering amongst the arctic tundra and up the mountain sides to capture vertical (top down) views of 200 foot high icebergs, or frame arctic moss alongside a mountain top.
It’s a place where you can learn a lot, not only about yourself and nature, but also about photography.