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Sebastian Copeland uncovers ‘Into The Cold’ Documentary at Annenberg Space

Award-Winning photographer, adventurer and Global Green Board Member Sebastian Copeland introduced his documentary, “Into The Cold – A Journey of The Soul” at a special screening at the Annenberg Space for Photography on Thursday night in Los Angeles. To take you there, enjoy our photos and insights from this bold explorer.

Sebastian Copeland at Annenberg Space for Photography describes his North Pole Expedition documentary, Into The Cold
Sebastian Copeland at Annenberg Space for Photography describes his North Pole Expedition documentary, Into The Cold
Liz H Kelly
Award-Winning Photographer Sebastian Copeland unveils "Into The Cold" at Annenberg Space
by Liz H Kelly

To give you the big picture, Sebastian has been hiking and photographing the poles since 2006 to raise awareness of global warming. With pride and humility, he shared, “I’ve traveled a lot different bodies of ice. I traveled quite a bit in the arctic. I also crossed Greenland from South to North…. I did the first east to west crossing of Antarctica, which is over 2500 miles in over 82 days…but nothing has ever compared to the difficulty of the polar region.”

Sebastian introduced “Into The Cold” by confessing, “The ice has humbled me in so many ways, it has taught me so many things.” The goal was to commemorate the Centennial hike of Admiral Perry to the North Pole in 1909.

And we are so fortunate to have the footage. Sebastian expanded on the background, “This film is a very, very personal account. I never intended to make a documentary. I essentially used most of the journals that I wrote during the trip for the narration of the film. And the images were assembled really with the great talent of my editor so I take little credit in there. I was present, but it was really his skill.”

“Into The Cold” bravely takes you thru Sebastian’s soul searching journey with partner Keith Heger, which includes their rigorous training, food and equipment planning, 34-mile trek across the ice, survival gear and red tent, frostbite, cameras and triumph at the end where they hold up fun signs, including one for MySpace.

With temperatures averaging -43C and up to -70C degrees with the wind chill, it’s a miracle that Sebastian was able to film the story for us. They were traveling in late winter/ early spring because you don’t want to go when the ice is melting. They had very cold temperatures and challenges with their solar polar (including their Iridium satellite phone).

When his silicon cable broke, Sebastian explained, “I had no power 5 days into my trip to film anything. So I remembered something I had learned in science class 35 years ago that the power generated in a battery is lost to cold weather, but in warming the battery, you can gain some of power back.” As a result, he put the batteries in a bib under his arm, and was able to get about 40-50% of the power back in the batteries.

The big secret is that about 10 days before they reached the North Pole on this 38-day journey, they lost all battery power. When the helicopters came to pick them up, they brought a silicon cable, and then re-staged the walk to the North Pole for the film. Sebastian added, “that’s the only way I could have completed the film.”

For cameras, Sebastian described the breakthrough technology at the very end of 2008 for this 2009 trek. He had a DSL camera that could deliver a high definition image in 1080 HD, which resulted in these “really remarkable images.” Sebastian was given two bodies by Canon to photograph and film. And the Canon body, the 5D at the time, was pretty much a revolution and had a switch to go from film still image to video.

After the screening and Q&A, there was a book and DVD signing for “Antarctica: The Global Warning” (he received the 2007 IPA’s Photographer of the Year award for this first book) and DVD for “Into The Cold.” Many thanks to the Annenberg Space for Photography, IRIS Nights Lecture Series and Sebastian Copeland for this eye-opening event.

And after learning about “Into The Cold,” please share Sebastian’s story to help raise global warming awareness. His second documentary “Across The Ice: The Greenland Victory March” will also be released later this year. The ice is melting at alarming rates, and the rise in water levels across the globe is erasing shorelines. Everyone can change this picture.

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