Paddling Under The Light Of The Midnight Sun

A stillness in the Arctic air warns summer’s long days will soon end and the cold northern breezes will call the winter in. But for the moment is endless light, and if fortunate, a midnight sun dancing with the horizon.
It all started with a daydream in the shower. Stand-Up Paddling in pure, untouched nature with unpredictable weather, no cruise-liners plying nearby waters, no wellness retreats or smashed avocado on toast; the only suite a tent with outdoor toilet. We would camp wild, fish for food and explore some of the regions beautiful mountains and lakes. Why not? The chance to experience the midnight sun was what drew us to undertake a self-supported 15-day, 250-kilometer Stand-Up Paddle journey in Norway, north of Tromsø, well within the Arctic Circle, around the islands of Rebbenesoya, Grotoya and Nordkvaløya.

Burning Man

There is haze on the horizon. Dry sand dust swirling up. The burning heat takes away your breath. The ground underneath your feet, a dry salt lake. There’s nothing there. Nothing except drought. Nothing except never-ending desert. Wasteland. We find ourselves in the nowhere, in the northwest of Nevada. No one would ever come to this place voluntarily. That’s what one would think. As a matter of fact, exactly that is tradition for some and a dream for many. On the last Monday of August, from one day to the other, this monotone landscape changes completely into something else. About 70 000 people build a city of tents, aligned in a circle. There, united in the desert, every year one of the biggest and craziest parties of the world takes place. Burning Man. An alternative festival for artists, idealists, hipsters, eccentrics, party lions and rubbernecks.

Pilgrims of the Kumbh

Through the beauty of portraiture, photographer Justin Hession hopes to spotlight the human ambiguities and complexities of the Kumbh and bring attention to the incredible spiritual dedication of the Indian people.
Having spent two weeks in a makeshift tent studio at the 2013 Kumbh Mela, Justin captured some extraordinary portraits of the pilgrims who are drawn to the Ganges every 12 years in the largest human gathering on Earth. He decided to created studio style portraits against a plain black backdrop to strip away the Kumbh’s colourful, intense circus like environment to focus and highlight the gracefulness of the individual pilgrim. The Kumbh Mela project contains over a 100 portraits of ‘the real pilgrims of the Kumbh’ who are drawn to the unimaginably large, loud and chaotic event in search of a pure life and seeks to show the personal dignity of the great spiritual event of the Kumbh Mela.

Cape Verde – The Land of Morabeza

The children of Cape Verde are an epitome of ‘zest for life’. At Salamansa Bay on the island of Sao Vicente, a large sand dune and a few old tires are enough to delight a whole horde of children. “Um, dois, três,” shouts the elder, and soon everyone is whizzing down the slope at a blinding pace. Tirelessly, they climb the dune again and again with the tire over their shoulders. And every time they have the same happy smile on their faces.
Photographer Jean-Luc Grossmann traveled three times to the archipelago. His story about the children, fishermen and landscape of Cape Verde has been published in the german magazine SCHWARZWEISS and others. This photo was under the winners of the Life Framer Photography Award 2018 in the category ‘AN INSTANT‘. The theme was judged by Clément Saccomani, Managing Director of the highly-revered photographer-owned agency NOOR. 

Greenland Sea Kayak Expedition

The sun is low on the horizon, the sea is calm. Soon the village of Uummannaq with its heart shaped mountain disappears behind us. Our sea kayaks point towards the massive island of Storøen, 8 km away. Its fiery-red lighted cliff drops 1,000 meters vertically into the sea and attracts us like a magnet. We are at latitude 70° 40’, far north of the Arctic Circle. Here, far away from the rush of human civilization, we have all the time in the world to observe the magical spectacle of nature. Under the midnight sun the sea changes colour to crimson-blue, and its surface becomes so glassy that everything is reflected as in a mirror. Mountain sides light up in powerful reds, shadows lengthen, and the icebergs seem to be under a giant spotlight.

Madagascar – The Masoala Peninsula

The fascination of its biodiversity, its varied landscapes, its culture both Asian and African and its friendly people is how Madagascar has always charmed the traveler. To the north-east, the Masoala peninsula, also known as the “sanctuary of nature”, is one of the last places in the country where the primary rainforest meets the sea.
Madagascar, which is among the top five countries in the world in terms of biodiversity richness, is famous for its remarkable variety of wildlife and plants. Masoala is the largest National Park in Madagascar. The Peninsula includes both marine and forest habitats. It’s a place rich in culture and Malagasy traditions. The “Fady” or taboos are rigorously observed in some areas, illustrating the still significant links between man and the forest or between the modern and traditional worlds.

The Namibian Sanctuary

Wherever we look, it is the infinite that appears to us. The largest dunes in the world shine red along the Namib. The Fish River Canyon in the south has nothing to envy to its geological cousin in Colorado. The mysterious Damaraland, Kaokoland and the mythical Skeleton Coast contain not only rare ancient rock paintings but also the only desert elephants and the last black rhinos in the world.

Yukon

There is no better place to experience the wilderness than Canada and Alaska. Sparsely populated, amazing rivers, great fishing and wildlife that keeps one on their toes.
I would be traveling with an old childhood school friend and his partner. The trip would begin in Whitehorse and we would travel the next 40 days to the Dalton Hwy before flying up into northern Alaska where isolation and harshness shaped every day. The idea was to immerse ourselves in the wild, to create a feeling different from a weekend trip. It took a lot of pre-planning because forgetting the puncture kit for ones sleeping mat or the lighter for the cooker could really make life hard.