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  • Author
    Epic
  • Date
    28.10.2014
  • Reading time
    5 min
  • Categories

Blowing in the Wind - Day Three & Four

Foreword

Before going further, make sure you have already read our two first blog posts explaining how and why our digital agency EPIC got the opportunity to go to the Arctic for the international organization The Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Day 1 : An EPIC journey to the Arctic
Day 2 : 1st Contact with the Vault
Days 3 & 4: this article

Thursday 16 October 2014

6:30 am: Weather has worsened significantly overnight and it’s now all about snow and wind when we wake up. Outside, the temperature dropped below -15°C because of the wind.

8:45 am: The team arrives at the Global Seed Vault to start the indoor shooting of the Vault.
Thursday’s schedule is really tight and dense considering that we have planned to shoot :

– 12 different 360°views in the different areas of the vault,
– a lot of video capsules for the website and
– many detail-oriented pictures.

All of this photographic material aims to allow users of Crop Trust future website to feel like they are actually visiting the vault while being home sitting in their sofa.

We haven’t mentioned that in addition to this strict planning, we also depend on 2 people responsible for the Vault Maintenance and logistics (Ola & Simon).
They are supposed to join us in 1 hour in order to pose for photographies and just as Marie Haga did yesterday, they must leave at noon considering the fact that their plane is taking off for the continent early afternoon.
This therefore implies time-efficiency and great organization for all of us!

As soon as we get to the vault, we start reviewing the different spots for the 360°shooting before doing some preliminary tests in real situation.

Another essential element to consider is the temperature. The vault is indeed made up of different rooms and each of them has its own temperature.
What does it have to do with the shooting (apart from our very own comfort!)? Well…we must organize the photo equipment according to each room temperature in order to avoid fog on lenses.
This means that when you have to use cameras at -18°C, you cannot use them at -10°C straight after because of the condensation that would immediately appeared on the lens.
With a lack of available lenses combined to a bad organization, it’s easy to waste precious time awaiting for your material to adapt to the weather conditions!

Given this situation and the fact that we will have to shoot at 5 different locations with 4 different temperatures…and all that with the same lens (nope, unfortunately, we did not bring 4 fisheye lenses with us), it requires a lot of time to get things ready for the effective shooting.

Crop Trust - Svalbard Expedition - Inside2
Crop Trust - Svalbard Expedition - Inside

Blowing in the Wind

The « good » news is that the polar bear is back in town looking for fresh flesh (yes, he’s kind of pushy these days!) and Ola and Simon from the Global Seed Vault team are stuck in their hotel waiting for the bear to be captured and tranquilized before being transported (alive) to another isolated mountain.
When they finally arrive at 10 am, we hope for the weather conditions to become better to shoot the outdoor 360° views but it is definitely a day of gale force winds!

Because of the temperature (even the cameras are reacting slower at -18°C), we must use a manual system to shoot the 360° views which requires more time for each shoot. We must therefore ask Simon and Ola to stand and pose for quite a long time. Considering the location, the tight schedule and the temperature, they did a great job!

We do it as quickly as we are capable of: Jonathan it taking pictures, Benoit is protecting him and its camera with a jacket on top of the equipment while Long is taking the « behind the scenes » pictures.
In less than 10 minutes, we are back inside. Our hands are so frozen that it takes 15 minutes for the pain to disappear.

We now have just enough time to record video loops with the Vault’s team before their departure.

The 360° shooting goes well and we finishes it before our expectations. It is now time for the outdoor 360° just at the entrance of the vault. When we get out, the weather has gotten even worse but we have no choice but doing it as time flies!

We do it as quickly as we are capable of: Jonathan is taking pictures, Benoit is protecting him and its camera with a jacket on top of the equipment while Long is taking the « behind the scenes » pictures.
In less than 10 minutes, we are back inside. Our hands are so frozen that it takes 15 minutes for the pain to disappear.

We now have just enough time to record video loops with the Vault’s team before their departure.

Crop Trust - Svalbard Expedition - Photograph2
Crop Trust - Svalbard Expedition - Inside3

Back on Track

A few moments later, we head back to the city for a quick lunch break at the cafeteria of the so-called shopping center (5 shops, 2 restaurants, 1 cantina).
Did we already mention that during one week, we had more opportunities to eat excellent food than during a full month in Belgium?
It is actually surprising to observe the quality and variety of food offered in this remote location for a settlement of only 2000 people.

When we live the town at 2 pm, it is still snowing strongly. It is certainly the best day to organize an indoor shooting!
Back at the vault, we spend the rest of the afternoon shooting another bunch of video loops in the tunnel, in the deposit area and in the vault itself. This time we have to stay in the Vault during approximately one hour in order to have time enough to record videos and make the detailed pictures we wanted.
We must say that after spending 60 minutes in a -18°C fridge, going back in the other room (-6°C) is like taking a dip in a hot tub!

We spend the last hour and half taking pictures of the different areas of the vault, objects and visual details that would be interesting to use for website backgrounds and for Crop Trust official documents.
We go back one last time in the vault to say good-by and take our last uninformed pictures (there we go with the selfies and portraits!).

Even if it may look like a fridge full of shelves and boxes, we must say that there is something very special being here, looking at million of seeds stored as global and eternal legacy of the world‘s biodiversity.

We pack all the equipment and leave the vault at 6. It’s already dark for a very long time outside. We end the day with the debriefing of the shooting, eternal and unmissable email checking and awaited hot drinks!

The official part of our mission in Svalbard is officially over…

Day 4 : Last moments in this lunar landscape

Friday 17 October 2014

We have a few hours left before flying back to the continent.

As the official part of our mission is now over, we decide to go on a road trip to enjoy the beautiful lunar landscapes Svalbard has to offer.

Did you know that there are no more than 45 km of roads for the whole Island?

After a 2-hour road trip (basically, it means driving until the end of the road) taking pictures all the way, we drive back to the Vault to say our goodbyes before going home.

This few days spent in Svalbard have been dazzling and we have sparkles in our eyes thanks to the last wonderful spectacle offered on the way to the airport.