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Polar life - and fantasy - on film

Posted July 12, 2012 @ 7:09pm | by TravelWild

When the enduring of extreme conditions turns into monotony, video can transport a viewer to another world, offering a welcome reprieve. Those living at the South Pole Research Station recently celebrated Midwinter with a unique outdoor film festival, projecting films onto an iceberg. One of the films enjoyed was George Melies’ 1912 creative and comedic interpretation of an Arctic expedition, “A la Conquete du Pole (To Conquer the Pole).”

“Mid-winter is a milestone for most (people), as it marks halfway through their Antarctic experience and the down-hill run to see family and friends begins,” said Martin Passingham, a videographer living at the French scientific station of Dumont d’Urville (DDU), 66.4 degrees south of the equator in East Antarctica.

“The weather was perfect. After the movie we looked up and what do you know—an aurora was darting all over the sky, one of the best yet.”

Thousands of kilometers further south, at Australia’s Mawson Station, one of the main events was swimming in a pool created by hacking through 1.5 meters (5 feet) of ice.

With no protection other than swimsuits, those brave enough, some carrying inflatable beach toys, plunged screaming into the water for several seconds before scrambling out again.

“It’s actually freezing over as you’re in the water, so there’s someone with a broom pushing away the new-forming ice as people jump in,” deputy station leader Melanie Fitzpatrick told Reuters by phone.

Those suffering through the recent heat wave across much of the US might have appreciated an icy swimming pool or vicariously enjoyed this video of two polar bear cubs playing on the Hudson Bay tundra.

And for more stunning sights of truly cold places, videographer Tor Even Mathisen posted this beautiful time lapse video of an Arctic aurora.

TravelWild can get you to Hudson Bay or Spitsbergen or another Arctic destination to see polar bears, auroras and ice. Canadian photographer Jonathan Huyer’s photographic essay gives a glimpse of what travelers to Spitsbergen may find in this mecca of bears, ice, history and human settlement. But it’s been a full century since the sighting of Melies’ griffith-headed aerobus!

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