Friday, September 20, 2013

Chasing Ice

"Chasing Ice" is a breathtaking documentary that follows photographer James Balog and his crew as they attempt to document the effects of global warming on glaciers in the northern hemisphere. As someone who initially questioned the existence of global warming himself, James realized that it was crucial to obtain visual evidence of this phenomenon. As a result, James founded the Extreme Ice Survey in 2007. The goal of this project was to place time-lapse cameras at various glaciers in places like Alaska, Greenland, and Iceland. These cameras would take a picture every 30 minutes during the day and capture the changes the glaciers were experiencing.

While the idea was sound, there were a lot of hurdles that had to be overcome to make EIS possible. For example, the time-lapse cameras were not made to withstand that extreme elements of glacier environments. As a result, they had to be tweaked and, at times, replaced throughout the project. Additionally, trekking to the glaciers to set up the cameras proved to be a difficult task. Although "Chasing Ice" documents the changes in the glaciers themselves, director Jeff Orlowski focuses heavily on the behind-the-scenes planning and execution of project EIS.

The things that struck me the most about "Chasing Ice" was the mesmerizing imagery. Very few people have visited the areas filmed in this documentary. As a result of being virtually untouched by humans, it almost appeared as if "Chasing Ice" took place on a foreign planet. For many of the shots, there was nothing but pure, white snow as far as the eye could see. Additionally, the water was so clear and blue that it almost didn't look real. I especially appreciated the arial shots of these crystal-clear rivers running through the middle of gargantuan glaciers.

After taking pictures for several years, EIS compiled all the images into one large time-lapse video. The results were amazing and, in my opinion, provided definitive proof of global warming. The degree at which the glaciers had melted in just a few years was staggering. As seen in the video above, EIS was also holds the record for filming the largest glacier calving ever. Even if someone still doesn't believe in global warming after watching this documentary, it undoubtedly provoked thought on this very serious subject matter.

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