Come on board an Icebreaker and follow scientists during their studies about global warming.
I took part to a big expedition in the Arctic, on an icebreaker. This ship, named after the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is a floating research facility where scientists go for periods of 6 weeks, during which they sample many aspects of the Arctic Ocean. I’m interested in Arctic cod. It’s my Phd subject. Yes you can smile… I’m used to it. And when I’m on the ship, I’m surrounded by people interested in things that would make you smile… But anyway, we’re studying the Arctic as it is going to be the region the most affected by global warming. You’re smiling a bit less maybe. And you’re right. It’s a serious preoccupation. I won’t comment on it, but I am worried.
After I went in winter on the same ship, with my Holga (see “When Holga went in the Arctic”), this time, I was pretty well equipped: a Holga, a Canon F1N, an Olympus trip 35 and the Horizon Perfekt that LSI offered me when I won the 1000th lomolocation rumble. Well, it is time for me to thank LSI for that gift. I’m really in love with the Horizon Perfekt… It’s an incredible camera. When you shoot the horizon while pointing up, the horizon is distorted and gives the impression that you’re looking at a piece of the earth… Perfekt when you’re facing a frozen sea.
The gallery shows landscapes around Banks Island, and scientists and crew members at work. Crew members help scientists to collect samples with all kind of strange devices. This bound between crew members and scientists is very important and is also the root of some great friendships.
I won’t enter into the details of what we’ve done, but basically, the ship was going from one point to another to sample everything that could be interesting. To catch fish and zoo plankton, we use large nets that can be deployed from a hole in the ice, or from the side of the ship. The rhythm is intense, we are sampling at a point and while moving to the next point we have to treat and analyze some of these samples in the lab… We don’t sleep much but we’re ok with it because it often happens that while you’re having a nice little nap in your cabin, people see amazing stuff, happening constantly, and then tell you “What ? You’ve missed the polar bear?”… And anyway, you’re constantly under the effect of adrenaline… Walking on the ice, driving a ski-doo, finding amazing stuff in your samples, breaking ice with the ship, meeting Inuits… Incredible things… That you would have never imagined when you were younger…
About the shots. I did the process of all these films (except the black and white), in Kodak E6 chemistry, with a Jobo ATL 3, at a higher temperature (38.6 to 39°C) than usual (38°C) because I heard that it increases colors and contrasts. Well I wasn’t disappointed, some of the shots are super vivid… And the only treatment that they had, after processing, is the use of one of the three options of the back light of my scanner (low-medium-high), and manual dust removal on photo shop (but not a filter, it removes the grain!!!), and nothing else. Sometimes, the Canon shots are also super contrasted thanks to a polarizing filter. But seriously, the overheated E6 process gives amazing results, and sometimes a very strange grain (maybe the fact that some of my films were outdated in 1989 didn’t help), but I like it.