‘Chasing Ice’ at the Wild Center
TUPPER LAKE – In 2007, National Geographic photographer James Balog and his team began the ambitious task of documenting the impact of climate change on glaciers using time-lapse photography and video.
The project, called Extreme Ice Survey, resulted in stunning still images that have been used by scientists and policy makers worldwide, but also in an award-winning documentary, “Chasing Ice,” that explores the results of the ongoing project and the work that has gone into it.
At 7 p.m. on Monday, “Chasing Ice” will be shown at The Wild Center in high definition, followed by a Skype conversation on the big screen between Balog and audience members. Admission is free for the event.
“Chasing Ice” has won more than 30 film festival awards, including a cinematography award at Sundance.
According to his website, Balog and his team “installed time-lapse cameras at remote sites in Greenland, Iceland, Nepal, Alaska, Antarctica, and the Rocky Mountains and conducts episodic repeat photography in Iceland, Canada, the French and Swiss Alps, and Bolivia.”
The time-lapse cameras have remained in many spots indefinitely, with the team of photographers checking on them and collecting the images with periodic visits.
In the documentary, the photographers visit the glaciers and explore the landscape to capture the continuously melting ice. They repel into deep crevasses, fly over glacial rivers and rock climb to sites that require not only courage but technical mountaineering skills.
For Balog, an incredibly driven man, this is all part of the job – one that is not only about capturing the beauty of the landscape but also the historic collapse of these colossal bodies of ice.
“It took 100 years for it to retreat 8 miles from 1900 to 2000,” Balog says in the documentary about one of the glaciers. “From 2000 to 2010, it retreated 9 miles. So in 10 years, it retreated more than it had in the previous 100. It’s real. The changes are happening. They are very visible. They are photographical. They are measurable. There’s no significant scientific dispute about that. And the great irony and tragedy of our time is that a lot of the general public thinks that science is still arguing about that. Science is not arguing about that.”
Jen Kretser, director of programs at The Wild Center, said the film is a good fit there because the nature museum has been focused on climate change programing for a long time. In addition, the museum has a great facility to view the movie.
“I think that our theater lends itself to that kind of film because of the big screen, high definition,” Kretser said. “I think it’s going to be a really great place to see the film.”