Chasing Ice (2012)

A really good documentary film I watched some days ago is Chasing Ice.

Chasing Ice was directed by Jeff Orlowski and premiered at the Sundance film festival in Utah on January 23, 2012.

This documentary won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the already mentioned 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

This documentary film is about the efforts of the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) to photograph and to publicize the effects of global warming.

Nature photojournalist James Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) in 2007 after spending much of the previous two years photographing receding glaciers for National Geographic and The New Yorker.

Balog saw extraordinary amounts of ice vanishing with shocking speed. Features that took centuries to develop were being destroyed much faster than scientific modeling had predicted, sometimes in just a few years – or even just a few weeks.

Balog founded the EIS to provide visual evidence of the dramatic effects of global warming. The project ultimately evolved into an intensive team effort, bringing together journalists and scientists, artists and engineers.

The Extreme Ice Survey is based in Boulder, Colorado and uses time-lapse photography, conventional photography and video to document the effects of global warming on glacial ice. It is the most wide-ranging glacier study ever conducted using ground-based, real-time photography.

Starting in 2007 the EIS team installed as many as 43 time-lapse cameras at a time at 18 glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Canada, the Nepalese Himalaya (where cameras were installed at Mount Everest in 2010), and the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. The cameras shoot year-round, every half hour of daylight.

The team supplements the time-lapse record by occasionally repeating shots at fixed locations in Iceland, Bolivia, the Canadian province of British Columbia and the French and Swiss Alps. Collected images are being used for scientific evidence and as part of a global outreach campaign aimed at educating the public about the effects of global    warming.

EIS imagery has appeared in time-lapse videos displayed in the terminal at Denver International Airport; in media productions such as the 2009 NOVA Extreme Ice documentary on PBS and major findings were published in Fall 2012 in the book titled “Ice: Portraits of the World’s Vanishing Glaciers” by James Balog (Rizzoli Publishing).

In this documentary film Chasing Ice we watch how James Balog heads to the Arctic in order to capture images that will help to convey the effects of global warming.

Balog and his team deploy cameras that utilize time-lapse photography across various places in the Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s glaciers.

The expedition starts off poorly as the team is plagued by numerous technical problems and camera malfunctions. Meanwhile, due to the extreme physical nature of the expeditions, Balog’s personal health suffers in the form of knee complications.

After making improvements to the equipment, Balog and his team are finally able to collect time-lapse photos that depict the drastic erosion and disappearance of enormous, ancient glaciers.

What stroke me about this documentary film Chasing Ice and what makes this movie different to other movies about the subject global warmingis that this documentary is not about the scientific evidence that proves that global warming is real.

We have already a lot of those type of movies and some of them were very succesfull like for example the acclaimed documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore‘s campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide Show.

Chasing Ice is about a photographer whose goal is to produce and to offer to the public visual evidence that proves that global warming is really happening at an often frightening fast pace.

And the slide-shows and videos Balog is offering based on his cameras that utilize time-lapse photography are really impressing.

In this documentary Chasing Ice you can watch how big glaciers melt away quickly and become obviously much smaller in just some years.

This documentary includes also scenes from a glacier calving event that took place at Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland, lasting 75 minutes, the longest such event ever captured on film.

Ice calving, also known as glacier calving or iceberg calving, is the breaking off of chunks of ice at the edge of a glacier. It is a form of ice ablation or ice disruption. It is the sudden release and breaking away of a mass of ice from a glacier, iceberg, ice front, ice shelf, or crevasse.

Calving of glaciers is often accompanied by a loud cracking or booming sound before blocks of ice up to 60 metres (200 ft) high break loose and crash into the water. The entry of the ice into the water causes large, and often hazardous waves.The waves formed can be so large that boats cannot approach closer than 3 kilometres (1.9 mi).

Calving of ice shelves is usually preceded by a rift. Etymologically, calving is cognatic with calving as in birthing a calf.

See for this subject “ice calving” also the article published in July 15, 2013 “Antarctic glacier calves iceberg one-fourth size of Rhode Island” on the website of the NASA.

This documentary film Chasing Ice is something special and contains a really powerful imagery. I can recommend this documentary to all of you who are interested in the subject global warming.

PS: 9/28/2013: Yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new climate report.

The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental organization of the United Nations set up at the request of member governments.

See for this the article published on September 9, 2013 “IPCC climate report: humans ‘dominant cause’ of warming” in the “BBC News“.

See also the article published on September 9, 2013 “IPCC climate report: human impact is ‘unequivocal’” in “The Guardian“.

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Chasing Ice (2012) Klaus Gauger steht unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung-NichtKommerziell-KeineBearbeitung 3.0 Unported Lizenz


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