Into the Ice – The Leica digicam Weblog

For the sake of the character that he loves, and with an urge to study extra in regards to the unpredictable processes of the ice, Danish director and producer Lars Ostenfeld risked his life following high scientists right into a panorama that is likely one of the wildest and most excessive on this planet.

The everlasting ice in Greenland looks as if a fairly inhospitable place for all times. What made you determine to undertake such a mission?
Someday I used to be in my lounge and I learn in a newspaper that the ice sheet had skilled a document soften – once more. After which I questioned, what does the ice sheet of Greenland really appear to be? Is there life, animals or crops, in and across the ice? Who might present me? Then I discovered some scientists who do fieldwork on the ice. I made a decision I wished to make a portrait of three intrepid glaciologists, who convey the fact of local weather change and glacial melting into sharp focus: Alun Hubbard, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and Jason Field. I travelled with them to the Arctic, as they monitored how briskly the Greenland ice sheet was melting.

For a way lengthy have been you in Greenland?
All in all, I travelled to Greenland 9 occasions. Three of these occasions have been on extra prolonged expeditions over a number of weeks. It was a wierd feeling after we have been dropped off by the helicopter on the ice for the primary time. When it flew off, we have been left alone, like 4 small black dots on a big sheet of paper.

How would you describe the atmosphere?
100 kilometres out, on the inland ice, on high of a 1-kilometre-thick mattress of frozen water, was the primary time I used to be on the ice sheet. By way of my digicam, I started to have a look at the panorama and begin registering it. Then, I found that one thing fascinating begins to occur should you stand there lengthy sufficient. You start to see the nuances. You see that the inland ice really slants a bit; that it isn’t one large plateau. You may see that the wind has formed the floor of the ice like waves, frozen in time. After 14 days on skis and with a sled, we got here out to the coast, and instantly heard a chook for the primary time. It dawned on me that we hadn’t seen animals, crops or any life in the course of the journey.

How did you put together for this journey?
I suppose you may name Claus Kongsgaard, who trains the Arctic Command to outlive on the ice and arranges excessive journeys onto the ice. Then you’ll study that I used to be a ache within the ass, who known as with an unimaginable variety of questions. What garments ought to I convey? How do I cost the battery? Which sleeping bag is nice? What meals ought to I eat? What about security? Claus was additionally excellent at psychological coaching. I additionally had my pal and companion Caspar Haarløv with me on all of the journeys.

Did you could have any particular plans upfront about what precisely you wished to {photograph}?
I haven’t had a lot expertise on the ice. As a toddler, I had a magical place I might discover by myself – the lavatory behind my home. I went there day by day, year-round, on expeditions deep into unknown territory. In the identical method, I wish to research the ice sheet with my digicam; or relatively, to review those that research the ice. It’s essential to watch and look at the ice: it’s known as ‘floor fact’.

What did a typical day with the glaciologists appear to be? How have been you concerned of their day by day routines?
It was mainly tenting on ice, with all of the mess that comes with shifting day by day, and having to pack up, arrange, prepare dinner, sleep and pack up once more. We have been a staff and we have been collectively on the expedition. We needed to survive collectively. Within the large glacier mill, we stayed for ten days. Right here we had a shared tent as an workplace and office. The meals was primarily frozen-dried baggage that solely needed to be equipped with scorching water. On this journey it was extra snug and we even had a tent as a bathroom. Batteries don’t survive properly within the chilly, so I by no means regarded by way of my photographs or video. On the times when the solar was shining, we arrange two giant photo voltaic panels with ski poles to cost batteries. We known as it workplace time within the icy wasteland.

What digicam system did you employ and the way did it carry out in that atmosphere?
I wished to seize as many particulars as attainable. For photographs, I largely used the Leica SL2 with a 21mm M lens and a 50mm M lens. This digicam was additionally used to movie after I was climbing contained in the glacier mill.

Did you focus extra on aesthetics or documentary?
After I see the world by way of a digicam, I simply really feel. I really feel if my topic is trustworthy, and what’s staged and what’s pure. Earlier than that occurs. I sense a visible temper, a intestine feeling and, based mostly on that, I seize the digicam. So, every little thing is by feeling and dealing impulsively.

What was the most important problem you needed to face?
We completed these expeditions on skis and sleds laid with drills, weighing scales, and even ropes from which the scientists dangle into these ever-changing and unstable moulins. All this adventurous science was not simply important but additionally very thrilling. Two issues stand out: we bought the message {that a} large storm was coming, and we began constructing this snow wall to guard ourselves. So I began filming after they began making the bricks of snow. After which I noticed, ‘man, I additionally must survive’, so I put down the digicam and began serving to them. However, because it was so stunning on the similar time, I picked up the digicam once more and I began filming. Then I helped them once more…That scene explains loads about the way it was to be there on a regular basis…

…After which now we have the “Indiana Jones of the ice”: geologist Alun Hubbard clearly embraces the journey. He’s the one who abseils 180 metres to the underside of considered one of these moulins. In these ice chasms, the shifting ice groans eerily and there’s a fixed hazard of a lethal blow from a falling icicle. I used to be 60 metres deep on this gap. I used to be completely scared, however on the similar time, I used to be curious and I wished to comply with them. I feel it’s vital to comply with them with the digicam, as a result of then there isn’t a dialogue about whether or not it’s true or not true. I wished to show and doc what they discovered.

Did the mission change something about your view of the world?
Sure, or relatively it has strengthened my opinion that regardless of how a lot we wish to management every little thing, we simply can’t do it. Nobody can management nature. It doesn’t matter that we’re on the high of the meals chain and have exploited every little thing. We’ve got to study that we’re a part of nature and never above it.

Lars Ostenfeld is a director and photographer from Denmark. He has at all times been fascinated by nature tales, travelogues and movies about landscapes and the individuals who inhabit or use them. From the pink desert of Africa and the inexperienced rainforest of Borneo, to the white ice of the Arctic. He’s at all times curious to study extra in regards to the unpredictable processes that designate how the world works. Along with his movies, TV sequence and pictures, he has printed 15 books. Discover out extra about his work on his web site.

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