Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Arctic To The Max
Florian Schulz paints a diverse and lively picture of the landscape and its wildlife in a new book that’s accompanying an IMAX film
Spending just a week or two anywhere makes it difficult to really deliver a full account of what that place is like. This is especially true of the Arctic, and it's part of the reason why that iconic shot of a polar bear roaming over a white frozen tundra is how many of us view an environment that can be as colorful, diverse and alive as any other out there.
"I wanted to create something that gives people a broader vision of this place," he explains. "People tend to think it's this wasteland or this white nothingness, but it's much more than just this frozen place. The number of seals, polar bears with cubs, bird species, migratory caribou and other wildlife surprises people who haven't spent much time there."
While there are a handful of hot spots, it's a relatively low number because of how remote the region is, and that means photographers who do go there tend to visit the same places and get the same shots. But Schulz, who's no stranger to the field as he spends eight to 10 months a year working away from home, had time and access on his side. Over the last six years, he has spent a total of 15 months in the Arctic. He has traveled more than 2,500 miles on snow machines, hundreds more with traditional Inuit guides and their sled dogs, and logged more than 100 hours shooting from airplanes.
While the film follows the polar bear family as it hunts, plays and sleeps on the ice throughout the course of one week, the book is meant as a way of introducing other animals into the narrative. The images offer a window into what their lives are like over all four seasons and shows why they're so uniquely suited for surviving the Arctic environment. To do this, Schulz photographed by land, sea and air. Working alongside a film crew suited his style well because he prefers to capture wildlife in a way that shows their connection to the surrounding landscape, and that was essentially the central purpose of the film.
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