Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: West Greenland Autumn – Icebergs, Glaciers and Inuit Settlements

Sunset over Disko Bay

West Greenland Autumn – Icebergs, Glaciers and Inuit Settlements

Highlights include…

  • Sunset by boat in the Icefiord
  • Disko Island
  • Possibility of aurora borealis
  • Traditional village settlements
  • Colourful wooden houses
  • Qeqertarsuaq ice beach
  • Stunning autumn colours
  • Striking basalt landscapes
  • Various boat excursions
  • Aerial photography (optional)
  • Hotel overlooking the Icefiord
  • Greenlandic culture
  • Humpback Whales
  • World class sunset locations

Introduction

Wild Photography Holidays are excited to offer newly designed trip to Greenland. This destination has been at the top of our own personal ‘bucket list’ for a while, when we finally made it to explore this location we were blown away by the incredible sights that we encountered. The dates of our two autumn departures have been chosen to make the most of the stunning late tundra colours when the big arctic skies are dark enough for the possibility of aurora. Our main Greenland base, Ilulissat (formerly Jacobshavn) means “Icebergs” in the West Greenlandic language. Each year, the massive Jakobshavn Glacier calves some 35 billion tons of icebergs into the sheltered waters of Disko Bay and the ice fiord. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the world’s largest island. Towers, arches, and walls of ancient blue ice thrust skyward from the water’s surface. The whole fjord gives an ever-changing vista as huge icebergs float past in dramatic light en route to open sea. It’s believed that an iceberg that calved from this magnificent glacier sank the Titanic itself. A first sighting of this unique arctic wonderland is guaranteed to make your photographic heart beat faster. A huge country, it is populated rather sparsely only around the coast. Indeed, there are no roads to anywhere except in and around the towns or settlements, the only way to travel here is by boat, air, dog sledge and foot. Travelling by boat, we navigate the ice filled waters at sunset. We sail to small settlements still alive with ancient traditions with a culture still very much tied to the ocean and prevailing weather conditions. We walk through the tundra to some spectacular viewpoints. Brightly coloured wooden houses sit on rocky bluffs surrounded by gorgeous autumnal tundra, small fishing boats bring in Halibut, Crab plus the occasional Seal. There will be an optional opportunity to experience some aerial photography. We start and finish this trip in Ilulissat Greenland giving participants the possibility of choosing their own route, generally via Copenhagen, Denmark or Reykjavík, Iceland. The start/finish dates coincide with the Air-Iceland Connect flights operating only out of Reykjavík and Air Greenland who fly regularly from Copenhagen. This is a truly an inspiring adventure exploring locations that are only now becoming more accessible to photographers. This will be the fifth year that we have been running our Greenland departures and it is fair to say that we have a great sense of all the best locations to photograph.

Photographic Tutors

Contact the WPH office for Information regarding the tutors on your particular trip.

Daily Itinerary

For full details please download the PDF trip description that will be online shortly.

Day 1: Arrive Ilulissat Greenland

A flight north over Greenland’s vast ice cap brings us to Ilulissat on the west coast where an airport transfer is included. Our hotel is perfectly situated and directly overlooking the Ice Fjord. The hotel is modern and well run with a great selection of food including many vegetarian options. If you are early you may choose to take an initial stroll to the nearby locations for photography. Our first meeting as a group will be at 16:00 in the reception of the Ice Fjord Hotel for introductions, an image presentation and a trip briefing. We will have an early evening meal followed by a spectacular sunset sailing on board a private boat to photograph icebergs at close quarters in the dramatic evening light. Whale sightings, particularly Humpbacks, are common.
Ice Fjord Hotel (D)

Day 2–4: To Qeqertarsuaq – Disko Island

After an early breakfast we leave by boat through an iceberg choked sea for a journey to remote Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn) a town on the Disko Island founded in 1773 by the Danish whaler Svend Sandgreen. For two centuries, whaling was the main trade here. These days it’s fishing and hunting. The landscapes are dramatically different than most of Greenland. The settlement comprises colourful wooden houses spread randomly over rocky bluffs. The area is littered with all the paraphernalia of a community whose main occupation is making a living from the land and sea. Small fishing boats come and go from the tiny harbour, the locals bring in Halibut, Crab, Seal and the occasional Whale, this is not a trip for the faint hearted! The small town has an unusual and dramatic backdrop of basalt mountains reminiscent of Iceland. At this time of year the colours on the mountain and around the settlement are very striking. Just ten minutes walk from our accommodation we often encounter huge icebergs stranded in the shallow water around the settlement, they often dwarf the nearby houses and sea cliffs. Colourful strata found on the black beach rocks make fine foreground for the sea ice or indeed excellent macro subjects by themselves. Whilst in Disko we will walk along to coast to photograph some remarkable basalt architecture including sea arches. A further excursion will be made to a lush valley with a striking waterfall and gorgeous autumnal colours. Two nights here will allow us to explore all possible locations fully.
Hotel Qeqertarsuaq (B,L,D)

Day 5: To Ilulissat

After lunch we make the return journey to Ilulissat and our ice fiord Hotel. We will be back in time for dinner and sunset photography over the Ice Fjord. It is possible to photograph the ice fjord from many places around the town; indeed some photographs in the accompanying trip gallery were taken from the hotel veranda!

Ice Fjord Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6: Around Ilulissat

Following a sunrise shoot and breakfast we set off to walk through the tundra to some fabulous view points overlooking the ice fjord. We will take it slowly as it seems that there is something worth photographing at each corner. The tundra at this time of year is magnificent, reds, yellows and greens interspersed with attractive bog cotton spread over the attractive rocky bluffs. If the day is fine we may take a packed lunch.The energetic may want to extend this walk by exploring the ancient settlement area around Sermermiut. For 4000 years, different Inuit cultures lived in the settlement sustained by the rich fishing in the ice fjord. Even today, you can still see the mounds of the dwellings indicating times gone by. Today is when it may be possible to try out some optional activities that are not included in the price of the trip. For example some aerial photography over the ice cap or an official Whale watching excursion.

Ice Fjord Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6: Sail to Oqaatsut

After lunch we board a small private boat sailing to the tiny settlement of Oqaatsut where we spend the afternoon and evening exploring. Oqaatsut, formerly Rodebay, is a settlement in the Qaasuitsup municipality; it had 46 inhabitants in 2010. The modern name of the settlement is Kalaallisut for “Cormorants”. There is not a single road here, just colourful wooden houses on stark rounded rocks and wheelbarrows! Each little house is uniquely built and painted in a different colour. Ice from the fjord makes it’s way here and is often lit up with a spectacular light. To the north of the settlement sloping down into the ocean are rocky slabs covered with attractive low vegetation and small pools. To the south is a tiny harbour where a multitude of small fishing boats are moored. The splendid autumn colours here provide great foreground for the Icebergs floating in the sea. Our hotel is in the middle of the settlement, near to the quayside.

Settlement Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7: To Ilulissat

After a sunrise shoot and breakfast we will explore the Oqaatsut settlement further. There is so much of interest to photograph here and it is all very accessible by foot. After lunch we board our boat for the return journey to IIulissat and the ice fjord. Arriving back mid afternoon we are in plenty of time for dinner and a presentation of images taken during our fabulous Greenland adventure. Some participants may choose to take a second optional sunset cruise.
Ice Fiord Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8: Homeward flights

After breakfast participants will be free. Transfers are included to Ilulissat’s small airport for homeward flights whenever these maybe. Check out will be around 11.00 am. You may be thinking of extending your stay in Greenland for a few days or perhaps a few days in Iceland, if this is the case just get in touch and we may have some ideas to help you plan this!
(B)

What’s Included

  • Airport transfers Greenland
  • All meals
  • All accommodation
  • Boat tours in as per itinerary

What’s not Included

  • International flights to Greenland
  • Beverages or additional items ordered during meals
  • Anything not mentioned in the above included list

Extra Activities

During our stay in Ilulissat we can organize optional activities such as a whale watching trip or some aerial photography. We have not included these outings in the price of the trip as often in the past the weather has proved inclement and participants have been disappointed.

Accommodation

Accommodation is included in the price of this holiday and all have en suite facilities with the exception of the settlement hotel in Oqaatsut. Here, there may be two to a room with shared bathroom facilities. There are hot showers next door to the hotel and a shared toilet in the hotel. The standard of rooms and furnishings on the settlement are cosy and comfortable. A single supplements is available for this trip but this does not include the Oqaatsut Settlement.

Our main base in Ilulissat is Hotel Icefiord. Check out their website for images and videos.

More Details

This page is only a brief summary. More details can be found in our PDF online soon