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Author Topic: 5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Change"  (Read 5030 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Change"
« on: 05/10/08, 03:56 PM »



Tom at Heather Meadows with Mt Shuksan in the background.


A year ago, I joined long-time skiers from The Mountaineers on a trip to Mount Baker to film a documentary about climate change in the Pacific Northwest.  I posted a short Turns-All-Year trip report here.  The program, produced by KIRO-TV in Seattle, was called "Cold Facts About Our Warm Planet" and it aired on September 19, 2007.  The documentary generated a lot of discussion.  A thread on NWHikers.net has run for more than seven months and spawned over 65 pages of postings.  (It may not be dead yet.)

In January I was contacted by a journalist from France 5 in Paris, the French equivalent of PBS television in the United States. The journalist had seen the KIRO-TV program on the Web and told me that France 5 was planning a series of similar programs filmed around the world.  The French series would record the observations of non-scientists and was tentatively entitled, "I've Seen the Earth Change."  France 5 wanted to visit me in Seattle and film a trip to the mountains with my family.

After a series of e-mails and phone calls the French crew arrived at our home on Thursday, May 8.  (They had just spent several days filming in the San Juan Islands and would travel to the Okanogan Forest following our visit.)  To take advantage of the best weather, we modified our plans at the last minute to go to Mount Baker on Friday instead of Saturday.  This unfortunately prevented my wife, Steph, from joining us.  I signed my son Tom out of school for the day, figuring it would be a worthwhile learning experience.



Left: Assembling the boom. Center: Rehearsing camera moves with the boom. Right: Vincent the cameraman.  (Click photos for larger images.)


I suggested several locations around the Mount Baker ski area for filming, but ultimately our choice was dictated by the easiest access.  The crew was not really equipped for backcountry travel, and their equipment was much bulkier than the gear used by KIRO-TV a year ago.  We decided that the basin around Picture Lake would suffice.  The crew filmed scenes of Tom and me touring around the basin on skis, eating lunch, and talking about what we saw.  Then they interviewed me on camera about the changes I've seen in glaciers of the North Cascades.

The most interesting scene employed a twenty-foot boom, shown in photos above.  An HDTV camera was mounted at the end of the boom and controlled remotely by a video monitor and joystick. The crew worked out a sequence in which the camera climbed the trunk of a tree then panned over a branch gnarled by winter storms.  As the camera glided along the branch, Mount Shuksan rose in the background and Picture Lake basin opened in the foreground.  On cue, Tom and I skied into the picture and toured across the scene.  Rebecca, the director, said this would be the opening scene of our portion of the program, accompanied by music.  We watched it on the video monitor and it looked very cool.



South Cascade Glacier, Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, North Cascades.


Although we didn't make a lot of turns during this trip, conditions seemed pretty good.  The previous night was cold and there was a dusting of new snow that brightened up the scene.  I think there was probably good corn snow on some aspects early in the morning.  Unlike the KIRO-TV trip a year ago, there was no sign of pollen yet at Mount Baker.  I was surprised to see that the ski area has already ripped out the Panorama Dome chairlift, which they retired just a few weeks ago.  This required some serious excavation in 14-plus feet of snow!

On the drive home we stopped a few times to film meltwater gathering into trickles and streams and ultimately feeding the Nooksack River.  The crew returned to my house in Seattle the next day to look at glacier photographs like those above, from my website story about the Ptarmigan Traverse and Mauri Pelto's article about Cascade glaciers in the 2007 Northwest Mountaineering Journal.  They included our whole family in this visit, including my wife Steph.

Rebecca promised to send me a copy of the program after it airs in December.  Apparently the production company has crews all over the world filming this ten-part series.  For each segment they plan to meet with ten different people from each region of interest.  It's an ambitious project and from what I've seen the production values should be quite high.



French TV documentary crew at Heather Meadows (L-R): Alexis (soundman), Rebecca (director), Charlotte (assistant), Vincent (cameraman), Lowell and Tom Skoog.


« Last Edit: 07/23/12, 07:41 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Stugie
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Re: 5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Change"
« Reply #1 on: 05/11/08, 11:14 AM »

That's great!  Way to represent for the PNW, and even more so (and more morose) to help make others aware of the climate change taking place in our beloved and fragile playgrounds.
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
skykilo
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Re: 5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Cha
« Reply #2 on: 05/11/08, 02:46 PM »

That's neat.  The smiles in your last photo are fabulous.
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Michael
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Re: 5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Change"
« Reply #3 on: 05/11/08, 02:48 PM »

Wow - the HD images will be amazing with the weather you guys had! We will hold you responsible if there are herds of French people coming to the area after that ;-)

Looking forward to watching this when it airs.
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Stefan
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Re: 5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Change"
« Reply #4 on: 05/12/08, 09:40 AM »

nice.  i gotta get permission from the mrs. to get the kids out of school for stuff like that.  lucky kid.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: 5/9/08, Mount Baker - "I've Seen the Earth Change"
« Reply #5 on: 05/12/08, 10:16 AM »

nice.  i gotta get permission from the mrs. to get the kids out of school for stuff like that.  lucky kid.

I sent Tom's teacher a link to this TR after we got back. (I guess I wrote his report for him. Wink ) She said, "I have to agree that it was a very good idea to take Tom out of school for the day."

A couple of times during the day Tom said, "Those French guys are cool!" I think that's a nice attitude to have.
« Last Edit: 05/12/08, 10:43 AM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
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