Jason Whalen strapped on his snowshoes, loaded his camera equipment onto a sled, and set out for the snow-covered wilds of the north coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to capture the icy beauty of its winter months.
“I’ve always seen pictures of the frozen waterfalls, and ice caves there, but never had the chance to go myself before,” the Lansing-based videographer said, “I had a free weekend, so I went up there to record them so that others could share in the experience. I think more people respond to video than still photos.”
Whalen’s video odyssey took him to the Eben Ice Caves near Marquette, Mich. and then to Lake Superior’s coast to film ice floating on rolling waves.
“The ice caves were a real challenge to get to,” Whalen said, “There were a lot of elevation changes and steep hills to drag my sled through. It was tough, but once I got there it was very fulfilling.”
Whalen had to get to the caves before sunrise to make sure he could film the caves before anyone else arrived.
Sharing the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula was only half of the goal of Whalen’s trip. He was also gathering footage for an upcoming film on climate change to be aired on Detroit Public Television. Much of the footage present in this video will also be incorporated into that program, particularly the shots of ice breaking up on Lake Superior.
“My goal is to promote biodiversity, conservation, and responsible natural resource usage,” Whalen said.
One of Whalen’s biggest clients is The Nature Conservancy, who co-sponsors the Detroit Public Television series Great Lakes Now Connect. The climate change film to which Whalen will contribute is part of this series.
“We’re doing climate change, and we’re also going to do beaches and agriculture and how those things impact the region economically and ecologically,” Whalen said.
In addition to his environmental mission, Whalen simply enjoys the experience of filming.
“There’s a lot to see in Michigan. I didn’t realize this while I was in college, but I did once I got out exploring in the state,” he said.
“The best part is seeing these places, like the Eben Ice Caves,
that a lot of people don’t. It seemed like Antarctica, like a whole different world.”