Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ice fjord of Ilulissat

During my stay in Greenland, I took at trip to a northern Greenlandic town called Ilulissat with a polish friend. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The town is situated near an ice fjord. The Greenlandic ice cap near Ilulissat is one of the fastest retreating glaciers in the world (3 meters/hour!!!), which creates floating ice bergs in the fjord. Above picture is approaching Ilulissat passing over the icebergs.

We camped near Sermermiut, which is a place to see the retreating glacier. The glacier used to be all the way out here and since it is retreating so fast, people would hike up to these benches on top of the surrounding mountains and watch the glacier calve. Now, there are only icebergs, but you can hear the calving among the icebergs breaking the silence from time to time.

When I showed some of my pictures to someone living in Greenland for a few years, he was surprised to see water here. When he visited here last (not so long ago), he saw only the glacier and it was impossible to take a boat in this place. Now, we saw waterways like this among the glaciers (it would not be wise to take a boat in there though!). A recent BBC article expresses concerns over melting ice caps.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Flowers in Greenland

It's true. There ARE flowers in Greenland. This is the national flower of Greenland, known as Niviarsiaq, meaning 'young girls'. This is the season to see them. They grow everywhere they find some land and water, even in between rocks and ice, defying all odds.

Another widespread variety - Harebell.

..and Arctic Cotton, also known as Cotton-grass.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ice Castle

This is my first post on Greenland, or more correctly, Kalallit Nunaat, as it is known in Greenlandic/Kalallisut. The 81% of the area in Greenland is covered by ice, known as the ice cap. It is one of THE coolest sights. This is on the western border of the ice cap, known as Russel's glacier. We basically just sat there and saw the pieces of ice falling from the glacier into the river flowing below and wondering about global warming. I was here last summer also, and the only part that remained same was this, which I like to call the ice castle. Most other ice features that I remembered, disappeared into the river below.
Changing this blog from Alaska to 'The cooler side of life' to include pictures from my trips to other cold places also. This will mainly have pictures from Alaska and Greenland and may be some pictures taken at other places during winter.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Waiting for Spring ?

These tea tables and chairs remain all-year around near the bank of the Copper river flowing in the backyard of the B&B I stay at. In the winter of course they are half buried in the snow, but they always seem to me that they are waiting for the spring.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Revisiting Aurora

Revisiting some pictures of spectacular Alaska aurorae. At this experiment facility, our goal is to create 'artificial aurora', so natural aurora is always so fascinating to us that we keep our experiment running on the side when it appears and dash out in -30 degrees F. My first post was on aurora, which also said something about the mechanism that causes aurora.

All the tripods were taken while trying to take this one. So the picture is a little blurred. I like it however, because it looks like a brush art instead of a photograph.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


This was the most peaceful place I have ever visited. It was very soothing both to the eyes and to the ears. Very white as evident from the picture. No sound of people or cars, only a gentle sound of water flowing beneath the surface of ice. This is Lake Portage.

The Portage glacier used to be all the way out here and a visitor center was built on the edge of it, but the glacier has retreated since and now you can only see the remnants of the glacier like in the pic below - the part that is strickingly blue. You can't see the glacier from the visitor center. You have to keep driving further and cross a tunnel to get here. It is very hard to see even then. This is 12x zoomed.

And they say global warming is a myth.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Classic Western

I was driving in downtown Anchorage when I saw this truck. So very western :). I couldn't resist. Applied some sepia and film grain from Picasa to give that old rustic feeling.

Friday, May 12, 2006


It was a beautiful day. The clouds actually provided a nice vivid background. That's all I have to say for this picture actually.

On the way to Portage, I stopped at this scenic view point to eat my lunch. I was about to be done when this person came and stopped right in front of me. Then he went down to near the ocean. It was pretty windy outside. He probably was a rock climber. This was an irresistable shot.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Oceanside

I had one extra day in Alaska, and I decided to take advantage of it. I was in Anchorage and rented a car to go on a drive upto Portage Valley. There is a glacier and a ski resort. I took Alaska Highway 1 to Portage. It is a scenic drive where you find mountains and ocean in a single frame. Of course, the broken pieces of ice from a glacier remind you of global warming.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Burning Mountains

(click on the picture to see the fine details!)
One of the owners of the B&B I always stay at is an amazing pyrographer. Here is his latest artwork (It's top of a bench in the rec-room). It depicts the surroundings as seen from the B&B - frozen Copper river in the foreground of Mt. Sanford (on the left) and Mt. Wrangell (on the right). In winter, you can see moose and caribou walk around if you are, and more importantly if they are lucky (you know, escaped the bullets). A pack of wolves also visits frequently. You hope that they don't cross the frozen river to come visit you personally. Bears are still in hibernation during this time ( which is good, since we have to work outside).

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Sunset

And here is the Sunset which casts pink shadows on the snowy mountains. Hard to say, which one is prettier, the sunset or the mountains in the evening. I have literally taken about 20 shots of the sunset here. No Picasa-editing here, this is what the camera saw. The silhoutte that you see is of the research instrument that we use, and Black Spruce trees.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sanford and Suns

Here is Mt. Sanford, your everyday, picture-perfect mountain. It provides a perfect background for our research facility as evident in this classic view. (Everybody with a camera on site has a picture like this !)

Enter a few clouds, and the game of light and shadow begins. It brings out the texture in the landscape beautifully. It looks to me like a giant white silk cloth put up for a display, like you can pick it up and fold it !

Mt. Sanford is the tallest mountain in the region, so it also gets the last rays of the sun, which creates this flashlight-from-above effect.

(Note: Does anybody know how to upload multiple pictures to the same blog using hello from Picasa ? I would appreciate your input.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mount Drum and its mood swings

Alaska is a land of serene snowy mountains..especially in winter. I was near Wrangell mountains in the Copper River Valley, at a place called Gakona. These mountains change their mood as the day goes by. Here is Mount Drum during the day. I always thought it has the most character among all of them.

The snowy mountains become pink at the sunset and the day slowly and quietly slips into the night.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Two weeks in Alaska

Alaska, a land like nowhere else. Everything is just...beautiful. A nature preserve that we, as human beings, are still to destroy.

I always find the trip to Alaska very reassuring and peaceful. My research takes me to the heart of Alaska - in the middle of nowhere. I always wanted to capture the serenity of it in pictures. During my recent trip, I had a newly bought Minolta Dimage Z3 with me and believe me, I made a good use of it. The surroundings are so picturesque, it is hard to get a bad shot. I will try to share some of the beautiful moments from this trip here.

The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, is what Alaska is most famous for. We didn't expect to see much auroral activity this time around since 2006 is the year of solar minimum. But as it turns out, this time we had more clear nights and geomagnetic activity wasn't quite so low as we thought it would be. On one particular night, although it was -20 deg F outside, I could brave the cold to see one of the most spectacular displays I have ever seen.

...and the fact that my camera could capture it, made it all the more special.

Stay tuned for more.