While filming the new BBC series Frozen Planet, Raymond Besant had the opportunity to witness firsthand the devastation that is being caused by global warming in the Arctic. Greenland is described as “one of those mythical settings” by the director, who hails from Orkney.
It is exhilarating to go to a new location and, with any luck, witness something that can only be described as absolutely magnificent. Following a request from the Frozen Planet production crew that was made during a lockdown the previous year, he traveled to the western coast of the island.
His mission was to record video of enormous icebergs breaking away from the Store Glacier in Alaska. The purpose of the footage was to demonstrate how noticeably the enormous Greenland ice sheet was thinning as a direct result of rising average temperatures around the world.
Because the west coast of Greenland is regularly shrouded by fog, filming had to be postponed for a few days until Raymond finally got the call that the weather was appropriate for shooting. Raymond recounts, “We loaded everything onto the helicopter, and we were off.”
We were able to see icebergs that had broken off the glacier in a short amount of time, and the glacier itself turned out to be rather large. When we were flying fairly close, we were able to see chunks of ice falling off the front of the Store Glacier, which is five kilometers wide.
As a result of the occurrence, Raymond experienced a wide range of feelings. In his explanation, he states that “near the glacier, it is abundantly evident what climate change looks like.” The technique used to illustrate that the glacier is caving at a quicker rate as a result of climate change is incredibly straightforward and straightforward.
Despite this, it is a feeling that is somewhat conflicted. It took a lot of effort to get you here, and now that you are there, you want to record the ice breaking up, but by doing so, you are witnessing the effects of climate change. A complex emotion comprising elements of both joy and sorrow. In addition, Raymond strayed from his usual routine by not filming any footage of animals, which was unusual for him.
In order to get an image of a nocturnal animal, he is used to having to wait patiently for a number of hours. After completing his education and working for a few years as a photographer for a local newspaper in the late 1990s, Raymond decided to pursue his interests in photography and the natural world. Documentaries on Scotland, such as Highlands – Scotland’s Wild Heart and Natural World, were his first jobs after graduating from film school. Therefore, the BBC decided to employ them for their seasonal weather programs that are broadcast in the spring, fall, and winter seasons.
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Raymond elaborates, “Once you become more well-known, people will enable you to fly internationally to film sequences.” Over the past five years, I’ve been shooting movies all over the world, although most of them have been in places like Africa, Northern Europe, China, and Sri Lanka. In addition to this, he has stated that “people don’t believe me when I say I am as thrilled to see an otter on the shore in Orkney as I am to see a forest elephant or a lion.” “Despite appearances, it is an animal, and what I find most interesting about it is the way it behaves.” According to Raymond, the effects of climate change are already being felt in the remote areas of Scotland.
The mountains of Scotland are home to a variety of arctic-endemic bird species, including the dotterel, snow bunting, and ptarmigan, which are not found anywhere else on Earth. Raymond is afraid that many different species are approaching the point where they will go extinct as a direct result of the consequences of climate change.
He believes that in the not-too-distant future “there will be more of an impact on them.”
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