White and Blue Land

You fly enough and they bump you up to Business Class whether you want it or not. That’s how United Airlines works, and for most passengers that’s not a bad thing. In my case I often don’t want it because it means giving up a window seat I’ve carefully chosen back in what we used to call Coach.

But that’s what happened last Wednesday, when I flew from Amsterdam to Chicago. I got bumped to an aisle seat in the Business Section. Worse, nearly everybody with a window seat closed their shades. For viewing we might as well have been in the cargo hold.

The “air show” system that displays flight progress on a map was also down, although a couple times I was able to tell where I was with my GPS, which (amazingly) was able to pick up the 4+ satellites required to to quadrangulate our location 38,000 feet over the Earth.

So I knew when we got to Greenland — my favorite place to shoot from on high . I asked my seatmate, who had the window, if she’d mind if I took some pictures of the land below. She said okay, we opened her shade, and that’s how I got these shots here.

The conditions were less than ideal. It’s never good to shoot out the sunny side of a plane in any case, because the direct light illuminates all the scratches, debris depositions and other imperfections in the windows, which are optically awful to begin with. This window was average or worse in those respects, and on this day Greenland was also hazy, with lots of clouds amidst the mountains. Still, I got some decent shots — enough, at least, to slake my thirst for geographic and geological spectacle and knowledge-building.

I took more shots a bit later, after we crossed the white expanse of Greenland’s middle (at just above the 63rd parallel, which is just 3 degrees south of the Arctic Circle), but need to work instead. Meanwhile, if any Flickr freaks want to help me name some of the mountains, glaciers and other features I shot in that series (or any of the others), please do. I found a few details on Google Earth and filled them in.

The caption for the above reads,

The water body is a glacial bay called Norrivig. Behind it is an island in the midst of which is “Azimuthbjerg” lat=63.4333333, lon=-41.6666667. Here is NotSoGreen on the same area, which also points to this Jason Sloan photo on Flickr. This is all in the Tunu or East Greenland, one of four large Greenland counties, or administrative districts. East Greenland is known natively as Ostgrönland. The glacier or gletcher emptying into Norrivig Bay is Thrym. The mouintain beyond is Hvidbjørn Bjerg, at
N 63° 31′ 0” W 41° 49′ 0”, or 63.51667 / -41.81667, with GeoNameId : 3423410.

Hope that helps the curious find out more.

If you’re interested in Greenland — and I would highly recommend it, because it’s not only beautiful but melting — check out NotSoGreen. Wonderful service.

6 comments

  1. Kevin OKeefe’s avatar

    Don’t ever stop asking folks to open the shades. I enjoy the heck out of your pictures from above. Told Buzz Bruggeman this week that when decades down the road they right your epitaph, people following your travels via such photo’s will be mentioned.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Kevin. Much appreciated. And I hope that epitaph is decades away, too. At 60, I’d settle for any plural of 10. :-)

  3. David’s avatar

    Gorgeous shot of GL. Its on my list of places to visit before Im too old to enjoy it. Nice recommendation on NSG too…definitely will use some of those shots to convince the old lady to ask for some time off to travel :)

  4. Eric Eggertson’s avatar

    Love the story to go with the photo.

    Some of your aerial shots are amazing, considering you’re shooting through plain windows on commercial flights.

  5. Greenland » White and Blue Land’s avatar

    [...] White and Blue LandThis window was average or worse in those respects, and on this day Greenland was hazy, with lots of clouds amidst the mountains. Still, I got some decent shots — enough, at least, to slake my thirst for geographic and geological … [...]

  6. Maine Property’s avatar

    Your pictures are breathtaking! Keep sharing them with us, as most of us don’t have the opportunity to experience many of the amazing sights that you do.

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