Walk on the Northern Limit
Tsutomu Endo started his career as professional photographer in 1998 and has been shooting snowboard scenes in Japan and around the world since. Based in Hakuba in the Japan Alps, he naturally gravitated to the backcountry, shooting in the mountains he has been exploring since childhood. Traveling widely, he has acted as an intermediary between snowboard culture in Hakuba and abroad. His recent work has moved beyond action sports into nature and art photography, searching for the beauty of our planet and highlighting changes to our climate and environment.
I wonder how many times I have looked at the clock. I wait for the morning while I tremble in the sleeping bag. The wind up until yesterday has stopped, and the outside is quiet. When the hands of the clock finally point at 5:00 AM, I extend my arm from the sleeping bag and grab the portable gas stove. I put a small crushed glacier ice in the kochel and waited for the water to boil.
It is May, but the cold weather is pretty tough. I pour the boiling water carefully into the dripper in the tent where even the inside is covered in frost. Even though I do not eat sweet regularly, perhaps because of the cold, I have a strong urge for them. I take a bite of the sugar coated cookies as I drink the dripped coffee. Then the silence reigns where I am at.
Inside this tiny space, there are only handful of items besides the camera. It seems as if all the elements of my life is gathered here. As I stared at the steam rising from the water bottle, I felt the coffee and sugar boosting inside my body and getting warmer. The sun was hiding behind the mountain but finally showed up and began to pour lights on the tent.
The sun, which is an important element for photography, was also my only friend for this trip. As I received the sunshine, it drifted away the sense of loneliness and I felt calm and warm inside. I felt relieved and I fell back to sleep again in the sleeping bag.
Arctic night has started in the northern part of Greenland at north latitude 77 °. My life here is all about photography, and the only reason for my existence here is photography. In front of me, there are scattered icebergs in the vast sea. They are like sculptures created by the earth over the years.
I walk on the sea ice toward an iceberg that can be seen in the distance. The cold wind blowing down from the ice sheet deprives my physical strength without mercy in the area where the temperature reaches below -20 ° C occasionally. For majority of my shoots, I relied on GF250mmF4 during the walk in nature. I prefer not to use a tripod. Sometimes photography delivers imagery beyond photographers’ expectation. In order to capture such moments, I continue to walk far and far away. The rich color reproduction and the incredible high resolution capture the breath of the earth. I am putting all I can to capture the best of the nature.
The cold snow plays a pleasant squeaky sound every time I step forward. More than four hours have passed since I started walking. I’ve pressed the shutter occasionally, but the surrounding scenery does not change much. I am like a dot on a paper in this vast white sea ice. The sun gradually set in the late night, and the area was surrounded by fantastic light. The shadow of the iceberg is clearer, and began to show a different expression from the previous hour. Naturally, I took out the camera and pressed the shutter.