David McColm is best known locally for showing Whistlerites their home from another angle —whether it’s from the air, the alpine or lakeside late at night when the stars are bright and the northern lights are dancing.
But during the next installment of the Whistler Public Library’s Armchair Tours, he’s planning to showcase Iceland and Greenland. The Whistler-based photographer travelled to those countries back in September (though he’s become a regular visitor to Iceland in the last handful of years) to shoot photos and send his brand new drone up in the air to gather footage for videos that he’ll debut at the event.
“For the first time I brought a drone to both Iceland and Greenland,” McColm said. “I got footage flying over the ice, which I’ll show at the talk. Because I like things that are icy and cold I like it there. There’s stunning landscapes; it’s very rugged, trees are in short supply and you can see really far.”
He first travelled to Iceland four years ago, lured by cheap travel deals. “It just keeps drawing me back,” he said. “It’s such a stunning landscape with so many photo opportunities and adventures and hikes.”
At the top of that list: waterfalls, northern lights at, one time, an active volcano. “A couple of years ago the volcano was going off.
Everywhere I was shooting on the island you could see the glow of the volcano at night. It really has a lot to experience and photograph,” he said.
Last fall he decided to make the somewhat daunting trek to Greenland as well to experience something new. He went after the modest tourist season was over and found himself completely alone in a hostel. “It was a little bit like a horror movie,” he said. “You’re waiting for Jack Nicholson to pop out. When I was wandering around at night taking photos I saw a few locals, but it was pretty deserted.”
Another challenge he faced: “I was there at the end of the travel season. They wouldn’t take my visa in one town. I had a little bit of money left and I had to eat bread and cheese for three days,” he said with laugh.
On top of that, the towns aren’t connected by road, which means taking a boat, dog sled, helicopter or plane to different locations. “It was stunning in its own right,” McColm said of Greenland. “I went to two areas on the west coast and the icebergs were mind blowing…
There’s just iceberg after iceberg. They can be hundreds of feet high as far as the eye can see.”
Even with all the challenges, McColm said the more he visits new places, the more he wants to travel. “I love having Whistler as my home base,” he said. “I expect it always will be my home base, but when I come back I’m already thinking about where’s the next place to go.”
To hear more about McColm’s travels and see his photos and videos, head to the Whistler Public Library’s community room on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. for Armchair Tours.