New film chases glaciers, with time-lapse photos

Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:37pm EST
 
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By Lindsay Claiborn

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Al Gore won an Oscar with a documentary that used bar graphs and pie charts to illustrate climate change and the fate of the Earth.

Six years after Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," a new film, "Chasing Ice," goes beyond the data and the diagrams to document the disappearance of the world's glaciers with time-lapse photography.

Nature photographer James Balog has been capturing the grandeur of glaciers and ice floes since 2007. He started the Extreme Ice Survey the same year, which is considered the most wide-ranging photographic study of glaciers.

What started as a video record of Balog and his team's Arctic excursions instead turned into "Chasing Ice," a chronicling of the effort to capture and consolidate time-lapse photos over months and years of vanishing polar landscapes.

The film is released in large U.S. cities on Friday with a national rollout later in November.

Balog came to the idea of illustrating the changing ice floes with time-lapse montages while shooting single images of glaciers for magazines like National Geographic.

"It was pretty evident to me that single frame could only take you a very little distance into telling the story of that ice. I started to get the idea that I would be coming back and repeating some of these camera positions in years to come," Balog told Reuters.

"And yet after I got done editing the film for the story ... I realized maybe time-lapse would be better than just revisiting these sites over and over again."   Continued...

 
A photograph of the Solheim Glacier in Iceland taken in 2006 by photographer James Balog is pictured in this publicity photograph released to Reuters November 16, 2012. A red line indicates the size of the glacier. A comparison photo taken in 2009 shows the disappearance of most of the glacier. Six years after the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," a new film "Chasing Ice" goes beyond the data and the diagrams to document the disappearance of the world's glaciers with time-lapse photography. REUTERS/Ted Pfeffer/© 2009 Extreme Ice Survey All rights reserved/Handout