On a stormy spring day, crisp winds blew throughout the snowy peaks outdoor Upernavik, Greenland. Locals considered the balmy -30°C temperature a warm March night, so they scampered to run errands under the placing solar. Photographer Weimin Chu had settled on a slope close to the airport with perspectives of colorful homes underneath.
“I discovered the shape, color, and mood [to be] so excellent from this perspective,” he recalled later, “specifically the mild at nightfall.”
Hoping to photograph a person walking or children playing inside the panorama, he becomes excited to see a small family making their manner below the streetlights alternatively. Working with precision inside the low light, he captured the picture he had anticipated—and the grand prize of the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest.
Upernavik’s remoteness made an impression on the Chu. “I should best see a natural white land blanketed with the aid of ice and snow for the duration of my entire flight. But I suddenly noticed a huge, warm dot in [the] a long way distance—it changed into Upernavik. The splendor of this tranquil village turned into surely past my imagination. It changed into a wow second for me.”
For years, Chu had visited the island to capture its austere landscapes; in 2019, he began to record Greenland’s human beings and groups, first journeying Upernavik in March. The small, northwestern fishing village is domestic to about 1,000 residents—making it the 13th biggest village within the united states. The Chu at the start deliberate to stay for 2 days, but prolonged his journey: “I needed to stay for one week due to the fact there had been no flights. I was fortunate, due to the fact I took this prevailing photograph on my 6th day in Upernavik. If I best spent two days there, I [probably] wouldn’t have observed this place this 12 months,” Chu says. (See greater photos from the 2019 Travel Photo Contest.)
The Chu spent six days scouting Upernavik’s surroundings for image opportunities, studying the locals at stores and the main harbor. He was hoping to capture sweeping views of the city and positioned himself ways enough from the road to unobtrusively photograph the activities of everyday existence. After making a few pictures within the dusk light, Chu opened his ISO and aperture, hoping to freeze humans’s moves; just then, a circle of relatives emerged from their domestic, and he seized the moment.
“It felt so harmonious. The complete land changed into blanketed via white, cold snow, and the blue tint at nightfall made it even cooler. But the mild from the home windows, avenue lighting fixtures, and the family of 3 made the world heat once more. I love the assessment and mood of this scene. I was busy taking continuous snap shots at that point, looking to capture the high-quality moment,” he said.
The Chu commenced photographing for the duration of his college travels, and after 3 years operating as an engineer, set out to awareness on his images. Then he serendipitously entered the National Geographic Photo Contest. “Just when I commenced leaning into images, my photo was decided on as an editors’ preference within the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest. It [really] prompted me, and pictures [has become] part of my life considering the fact that that time,” Chu recalls.
Spending two months packrafting in the southern Greenland fjords fed Chu’s passion for out of doors journey. Now he plans to hold returning to the island to attention his pictures on Greenlandic groups, in addition to citizens’ relationship with the surroundings.
“Modern lifestyles have distinct effects at the cultures in these exceptional regions,” Chu stated.
He also aspires to similarly evolve his image initiatives inside the mountains of Pakistan and China, merging his ardor for out of doors journey with his images, “I’d like to share some exceptional however lesser-acknowledged snowy mountains with human beings.”