Ian Plant • Photographing Greenland’s Icebergs

The optimum way to create successful photos of the stunning towers of ice of this remote area is by motorboat. Ian Plant takes one out for a spin and gives us all the tips on how to make the best of stunning glacier views

Greenland is the world’s largest island. Three-quarters of it is covered by a massive ice sheet, which spawns hundreds of glaciers spiraling out from the center, radiating outward like tentacles reaching for the surrounding ocean. After a slow march to the sea lasting thousands of years, massive chunks of ice get pushed off the glacier in sudden and dramatic calving events, plunging into the water and becoming icebergs. Often, the icebergs get trapped in massive ‘ice fjords’ – narrow and relatively shallow parts of Greenland’s long fjords where thousands of icebergs get stuck until they melt enough to break free for deeper open water. Greenland’s icebergs eventually make their way to Canada, where sightings along the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland are common in the summer. But Greenland is the source, and is one of the best places in the world to see and photograph these massive floating towers of ice.

Although there are plenty of opportunities to view the icebergs from the land, usually you are far away from the ice and limited in selecting an angle to photograph your subject. Instead, I hired a motorboat to get up close and personal with the icebergs. The boat gave me more flexibility to change position as required to find the best angles for photography. There are a number of hiring options to fit your budget: the cheapest way to get to the icebergs is to sign up for a boat tour, but the best way is to hire a private boat, which allows you to explore more freely, find the most photogenic icebergs, and then ...

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