James Balog has been a leader in photographing, understanding and interpreting the natural environment for three decades. An avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, James is equally at home on a Himalayan peak or a whitewater river, the African savannah or polar icecaps.
Balog lives in the Rocky Mountains, above Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Suzanne, and his daughters Simone and Emily.
What People are Saying
“James, what you have taken on in terms of education and public awareness through the Extreme Ice Project was profoundly impactful. I can’t express in words how relevant and frankly shocking the footage you provided was to me on a personal level. I have not stopped telling people about it.” —Ron Hulse, Vice-President, Information Technology and Wireless, Samsung
“Thank you again for being a part of our program! For your information, you received the highest marks of any presenter. Comments: Excellent. Compelling presentation. Fantastic! Awesome and breathtaking! Definitely get him again if you can.” —Lindsay Lackey, Program Consultant, Executive Development, Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego
"A great and insightful talk!" —Bruno Giussani, European Director of TED Conferences, TEDGlobal2009
“Your adventurous and exhilarating approach to creativity was an inspiration at our annual partners meeting.” —Richard Wilhelm, Vice President, Booz, Allen, Hamilton
“Your work makes this world a better place. I remain in awe of everything you do. Thank you for being part of my life!” —Jeffrey Lewis, President, Heinz Family Foundation
“I had thought it was going to be good, but what he did was remarkable. And his stage presence was absolutely compelling.” —Dan Miller, Lecturer, Liberal Arts and International Studies, Colorado School of Mines
“Without your work we'd all be in the dark.” —Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group
“James Balog is an adventurer with the great skill to make art from his exploits. To the mix, Jim adds being a terrific storyteller. It’s an excellent combination that makes for a great lecture!” —Anne Tucker, Curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
“James, thank you so much for a terrific talk. People loved it. When you started showing the time-lapse films, the room was absolutely silent. What an amazing tool for awareness raising. Thank you.” —John Sterling, Exec Director, Conservation Alliance
“I’ve always found Jim to be an original and bold thinker and communicator. As part of his latest big project, he produced a multimedia lecture that, as I witnessed one afternoon, was so beautiful it brought some of his audience to tears.” —John Rasmus, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Adventure
"Chasing Ice" Reviews
The Hollywood Reporter: "Chasing Ice" Sundance Film Review
by John DeFore 1/25/2012
PARK CITY — Aesthetics and eco-advocacy are a perfect match in Chasing Ice, a doc so stuffed with eye-soothing images one prays it can seduce a climate-change skeptic or two. With vistas made for the big screen and an engaging personality at its center, theatrical prospects are better than those of the usual eco-crisis film.
Nature photographer James Balog spent years photographing endangered animals for clients like National Geographic before discovering what looks to be his life's work. After shooting an important article on glaciers, he soon came to think of that as "a scouting mission" for a much larger project: Gathering a team of glacier researchers and other kinds of experts, he launched the Extreme Ice Survey, setting up dozens of cameras in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and Montana that would automatically photograph ice formations throughout the year, providing visceral evidence of glaciers' astonishing shrinkage rate.
HOLLYWOOD.COM: Sundance 2012: "Chasing Ice" Is the Visual Proof That Puts Global Warming Arguments to Rest
by Matt Patches 1/30/2012
Combine the investigative slant of Al Gore's environmental call-to-arms An Inconvenient Truth with the destructive, mind-blowing visuals of Koyaanisqatsi or Tree of Life and the final product would be something like the new documentary Chasing Ice. Director Jeff Orlowski joined forces with nature photographer Jeff Balog to chronicle the evolution of Balog's latest project: the Extreme Ice Survey. With scientific research already corroborating claims of global warming, the goal of Balog's EIS is to present undeniable visual evidence, utilizing time-lapse photography to capture the destruction of the planet's glaciers.
The SALT LAKE CITY TRIBUNE: Sundance Review "Chasing Ice"
by Sean P. Means 1/24/2012
For the cinematography alone, this documentary about the real, observable impact of global climate change would be worth a look. Director/cinematographer Jeff Orlowski captures some amazing images of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska, where photographer James Balog has mounted an impressive project to shoot time-lapse footage of the receding glaciers. The movie, in the mold of “The Cove,” focuses on Balog's tireless efforts to get the visual evidence – and then floors us by showing the astonishing time-lapse footage. This is the movie every environmentalist has wanted to show to their right-wing relatives who parrot Sean Hannity's crap that “the scientists are still uncertain.” The science is certain, and the images are inarguable.
The DENVER POST: Boulder's team's ice documentary makes a splash
by Lisa Kennedy 1/29/2012
PARK CITY, Utah was the Sundance Film Festival moment the Boulder filmmaking posse behind the documentary "Chasing Ice" had hoped for. Heck, it was the kind of film-fest moment any first-time feature filmmaker hankers for.
Monday night when the house lights came up in the Library Theater in Park City, the capacity crowd stood and clapped for director Jeff Orlowski. A few minutes later they stood and applauded even more vigorously for the dogged protagonist of the movie, James Balog, an ace nature photographer who founded Extreme Ice Survey.
Because "Chasing Ice" is exactly what Balog has been doing. For seven years, he and his team have traced and documented the startling retreat of glaciers in Iceland, Greenland and Alaska. The movie is as stunning as it is chilling in offering visual evidence of global warming.
For More Information
CHASING ICE: [www.chasingice.com]
EXTREME ICE SURVEY: [www.extremeicesurvey.org]
JAMES BALOG PHOTOGRAPHY: [www.jamesbalog.com]
JB TED TALK: [www.ted.com/speakers/james_balog.html]
LINK TO WATCH NOVA SHOW: [www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/extremeice/program.html]
NPR FRESH AIR: [www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102041024]
JB LECTURE DEMO: [www.vimeo.com/6164361]