The Story of Melting Ice

Pennsylvania photographer James Balog is known for his works that explore the relationship between humans and nature. But his most known project, called Extreme Ice Survey, is a unique study of melting glaciers of our planet.

Balog employs time-lapse static cameras, installed in many different places in the world, in order to document the historical change of landscape, which is impossible to be fully grasped by the human eye – the melting of enormous bodies of dense ice, the glaciers, the process known as ice calving. His team has set up 43 time-lapse cameras at 18 glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Canada, the Nepalese Himalaya (with cameras installed at Mountain Everest), and at the Rocky Mountains.

What they caught on film (or, rather, on large-capacity professional memory cards) since 2007, is both astonishing, and terrifying. James Balog and his team were able to prove that glaciers disappear at an alarming rate.

glaciers melting
Glacier calving in Alaska. Source:

You can see it for yourself: the film they presented in 2012, is called Chasing Ice and is as breathtaking as it is dismaying. Colossal bodies of frozen water melt into the ocean, thus raising the global sea level constantly.

Balog says that, despite having dealt with glacial geology for the most part of his life, it was not until he began work on this project that he realized the magnitude of the process of melting ice. “I have been climbing the mountains for nearly 40 years, and I’ve seen a lot of them on a course of different assignments,” says Balog, “but until I went on this trip I didn’t realize how rapidly things were changing”.

In Chasing Ice, Balog and his team were able to capture the largest ice calving event at Illulissat Glacier in Greenland, which was also the longest such event ever captured on film (75 minutes long in a time-lapse photography).

Please do yourself a favor and take 75 minutes of your precious time to watch Chasing Ice. And then, please tell everyone you know to watch it, too. We have to make the world pay attention to this problem that evidently shows: there is a climate-changing process and it is progressing quickly.

James Balog’s presentation of the film, Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice Official Website:

James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey website:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s