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Category: Greenland (page 2 of 6)

Living with Permafrost

In Thule, everything was built above ground. Buildings rested directly on the ground — held in place by heavy concrete slabs. Utilities which would be buried underground or carried on telephone poles in warmer climates were exposed to the elements. I can’t remember if this is due to the hardness of the permafrost or to prevent it from melting. I suspect the latter.

In the distance, Mount Dundas is clearly visible.

Unexpected Treasure

Every few months one of us discovers a cache of negatives in some far corner of our storage space. This always propels me into a scanning frenzy. However, the scanning and retouching process is so time-consuming that I’m pretty picky about what I scan. This image didn’t make the first cut or the second. The negative didn’t look like much, and I had no recollection of even taking the shot. I had some time to waste last night, so I did a quick preview scan of the image and I was blown away.

As soon as I saw the image appear on my 30″ display, I was transported back to the moment I shot it back in 1985. Now I can’t stop looking at it.

I took this picture thinking my friends and family might be interested in seeing Thule, Greenland at high noon on a typical winter’s day. I can still taste the cold calm.

Current weather conditions in Thule, Greenland.

Pete on Top of the World!

It turns out that Facebook is actually good for something — finding old friends. Normally, I don’t even want to connect with any more old friends, but when I found Pete, it motivated me to fire up the old scanner and send this shot to him.

Pete was my next-door neighbor during my stay in Thule, Greenland. We took a bunch of once-in-a-lifetime shots, including this fisheye view of him lounging with a cool beer on the Greenland ice cap. Right after this shot was taken, Pete returned the favor.

Top Search Phrases on

I was looking at my server logs the other day, and noticed that the top search phrases that led people to my site are “Greenland” and “Diego Garcia”. As far as I can tell, this is because images from this site come in near the top of the list when doing a Google Image Search for these terms. There’s even an image of (a somewhat younger) thedude himself near the top spot. Ha!

Google image search for “Greenland”, “Diego Garcia”.

By the way, for some inexplicable reason, the number three search phrase is “chuckie”.

Troels and Jesper Do Germany

My circle of old friends is getting wider. Yesterday I received a long e-mail from Troels Nørlem – another old pal from Greenland. What a thrill it is to hear from Troels – the official Thule Air Base Photographer! Sounds like he’s is doing well with his wife and two kids in what he refers to as, “the outskirts of the civilized world (Djursland, Denmark)”. These days he’s working as a photojournalist and sells photographic flash equipment on the side. That’s him on the left.

Way back in 1987, Troels and his friend Jesper flew to Germany in a 1953 Danish military aircraft to visit yours truly. The trip turned out to be a test of their endurance and bravery. The two of them managed a top speed of about 70 miles an hour in the old plane with fabric-covered wings and a back seat made of bare sheet metal. I remember Troels telling me how frustrating it was seeing cars on the Autobahn below speeding away from them. Not only that, but the plane had a very short cruising range meaning they had to land every two hours to refuel. I think it took them 8 hours to make the trip from Copenhagen to Pirmasens, Germany – a distance of about 500 miles.

I got a chance to fly the old plane – but only for a few seconds. I “took control” and immediately realized that if the pilot was to release his tight grip on the stick, (it took both hands to control) the plane would go straight into a nose-dive. Yikes! All I can say is that it was a very good thing that Jesper was able to take back control of the plane, as we’d certainly have crashed with me on the stick.

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