Photojournalist Records Climate Change in Greenland
The reportage and action sports photographer Kelvin Trautman recently returned from a trip to the east coast of Greenland with a team of trail runners, sailors and glaciologists where he shot these images with a KODAK EKTRA Smartphone. Below, Kelvin tells us about the trip and the stories behind the photos.
“As an adventure photojournalist, I use my mobile’s camera a lot. The main reason is that I’m always looking to minimize the size and weight of my gear. When in remote locations and carrying all your gear on your back, like here in Greenland, having compact, lightweight gear that is multifunctional is a game changer.
Principally it allows me to move faster, and be more reactive. I use my phone camera mostly for location scouting prior to assignments but in truth, more and more, I find I use it during shoots. The technology leaps are such that we are getting high quality images from our phones that even when viewed as prints they are hard to discern from a DSLR shot image.
Using the KODAK EKTRA
I love the retro-design aesthetics of the KODAK EKTRA. The manual mode allows for full control over shooting parameters just like a DSLR which I enjoyed.
Being able to shoot in RAW, for example, gives me the option of editing the images in phone with the pre-installed SNAPSEED App or on your computer using Lightroom/Photoshop where I can save the highlights and shadows as I would on my DSLR, which is particularly useful in widening the scope for print application.
Calving season in Greenland
Greenland, the world’s largest island, must be one of the most inhospitable and starkly beautiful places on the planet. Its ice cap stretches for 1,500 miles (2,400km) from north to south and covers 80% of the country.
It’s calving season in the Arctic. A barrage of icebergs drift down the Sermilik fjord making progress in our 60 foot expedition yacht, Aurora Arktika, slow (left).
A yacht with an ice strengthened hull is just about the only form of transport that is suited to accessing this rugged and largely unpopulated coastline – only 3,500 people, scattered among small towns and settlements, inhabit its 2,600 kilometer margin.
Each day begins with a team meeting in the wheel house. We pore over local topographic maps planning the day’s running route which usually follows a makeshift trail over big stony mountain passes around glacial lakes and onwards to a distant fjord where our yacht, or what we like to call, ‘the roving wilderness hut’ picks us up.
Exploring the finger fjords by boat and foot we are able to get right up close to calving glaciers. The glaciers are the grubby, creased fingertips of the vast Greenland ice cap, and have become known to glaciologists as the canary in the goldmine for climate change.
Our resident glaciologist, explains that due to the loss of ice, Arctic temperatures are warming more quickly than other parts of the world: between 2002 and 2016 the ice sheet lost mass at a rate of around 269 gigatonnes per year. One gigatonne is one billion tonnes. One tonne is about the weight of a walrus.
Bearing witness to Greenland’s glaciers cracking and cleaving icebergs into the dark waters of its fjords is a sensory overload, and a powerful snapshot of a process that we are inextricably linked to accelerating and now looking for ways to try to slow it down.
The local Greenlandic people are also acutely aware of the changing weather. We bump into 47 year old Enos Kuitse whilst walking through Tiniteqilaq, a remote village of 120 inhabitants tucked halfway up Sermilik Fjord. He’s buoyed to see and chat to us, but he carries a somber message. Sitting on his porch, surrounded by rotting seal and fish flesh he explains that when he used to go hunting he would have to travel a couple miles along their frozen fjord, but now him and his son have to travel 20 times the distance because the sea ice retreats so much further and faster. Polar bears, which primarily feed on seal, have the same problem.”