Founded by internationally acclaimed nature and outdoor photographer James Balog, the Extreme Ice Survey is very much a team effort. The project involves close collaboration between Balog and many experts in glaciology and atmospheric science, particularly Dr. Jason Box of Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center and Dr. Tad Pfeffer of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado.

James Balog (“BAY-log”)

Founder & Director, Extreme Ice Survey / Creative Director, Earth Vision Trust

James Balog For more than 30 years, James Balog (“BAY-log”) has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of our planet’s natural systems. 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.

To reveal the impact of climate change, James founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted.  The project is featured in the highly acclaimed documentary, Chasing Ice, which won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, as well as dozens of awards at film festivals worldwide.

Chasing Ice was shortlisted for the 2013 Academy Awards. It has been screened at The White House, the U.S. Congress, the U.K. House of Commons and the United Nations. It has been the subject of features on the NBC Evening News, ABC Nightline, The Late Show with David Letterman, PBS’s Moyers & Company, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

James has been honored with many awards, including, in recent years, an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Alberta, the American Geophysical Union Presidential Citation for Science and Society, the Duke University LEAF Award, the Sam & Julie Walters Prize for Environmental Activism, and the Heinz Award.

Mr. Balog is the author of eight books. ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers was published by Rizzoli in 2012. Among his other titles are Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest (2004) and Survivors: A New Vision of Endangered Wildlife (1990), hailed as a major conceptual breakthrough in environmental photography.

James’ work is in dozens of public and private art collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Corcoran Gallery, the Denver Art Museum and the Gilman Paper Company. It has been extensively published in most of the world’s major pictorial magazines including The New Yorker, National Geographic, Life, and Vanity Fair. National Geographic showcased EIS in major features in 2007, 2010 and 2013. EIS is the subject of a 2009 NOVA/PBS documentary, Extreme Ice.

James lives in the Rocky Mountains, near Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two daughters.

“Each new series by James Balog represents a quantum leap in creativity, which takes us deeper into the ultimate mystery of humanity’s relationship to the natural world. He is a visionary and his works are like sacred objects.”
—James Nachtwey, TIME magazine photographer


We are pleased to announce that James Balog has been selected as a Nikon Ambassador. The Ambassador Program will create a mutually beneficial collective to help bolster the photo industry and inspiration.

“For the kinds of places I go, the equipment has to be reliable. At 20,000 feet above sea level, or at -30 degrees, the equipment has to work. It can’t fail. Nikon equipment, I’ve been using it for 28 years. It works. And, I’ll continue to work with it as long as I’m shooting pictures.”

Photo by Sven Lindblad

Photo by Sven Lindblad

Nikon Ambassadors are some of the most talented and influential visual artists working in the business today. These gifted, spirited storytellers go above and beyond most, and are admired for their passion, energy and commitment to their craft. Their investment in, and trust, of the Nikon brand are cornerstones to their image making abilities.

As a loyal Nikon partner, Nikon Ambassadors’ commitment and contributions to the photographic industry throughout their careers have influenced and inspired photographers around the world; while their desire to educate and empower other image makers around them has become a part of their daily business. From workshops to trade show platforms, online learning and social media; Nikon Ambassadors represent the most versatile and ambitious photographers today. These visual artists are respected around the globe for their vision and accomplishments.

The dedication to advancing the art of visual storytelling while embracing and mastering the latest technologies and trends in the field are paramount to these photographers being selected as Nikon Ambassadors.

As the top visual storytellers of this era, their advanced techniques, unprecedented creativity and tenacious approach to imaging solutions is demonstrated assignment after assignment, each and every time they pick up a Nikon camera.


Photo by Adam LeWinter

“For the EIS project, we used Nikon D200 and D300 bodies, secured in weatherproof housings. Powered by solar panels, batteries and other electronics, they are able to withstand temperatures as low as -40˚F and winds as strong as 160 mph, as well as blizzards, landslides and avalanches.”

Jason Box, Ph.D.

Jason BoxDr. Box has made 21 expeditions to the Greenland ice sheet since 1994. His time on the inland ice exceeds 1 year. Dr. Box was awarded a NASA grant to support the installation and maintenance of Greenland EIS cameras. Jason is active in Greenland field work for EIS and is using EIS photos from Greenland to measure glacier speed changes, putting precise numbers on glacier flow sensitivity to climate. As an authority on the relationship between Greenland glaciers and climate, he’s authored or co-authored 26+ peer-reviewed publications directly related to ice and climate and has led, since 2003, the annual Greenland entries for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and American Meteorological Society’s “State of the Climate” report. He was a contributing author to “Climate Change 2007″, the definitive report on the science of global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Jason is a research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center and associate professor in Geography at The Ohio State University.

Click here to go to the Jason Box website

Tad Pfeffer, Ph.D.

Tad PfefferDr. Pfeffer is a glaciologist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and professor of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research areas include the mechanics and dynamics of glaciers and heat and mass transfer in snow. He has worked on glaciers for 30 years, traveling to Alaska, Arctic Canada, Greenland, Antarctica, and mountain locations in North America and Europe. He has done fieldwork on Alaska’s Columbia Glacier for two decades. Tad is also active in photography and photogrammetry of glaciers and landscapes, using imagery for both description and analysis of glacier changes. In addition to scientific publications, his photographic work has appeared in exhibitions in the Boulder/Denver area, in American Scientist, GEO (Germany), Geotimes, BBC television productions, and in the movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth, by Nobel laureate Al Gore. Tad’s book, The Opening of a New Landscape: Columbia Glacier at Mid-Retreat, was published by the American Geophysical Union in December 2007.

Click here to view Tad Pfeffer’s beautiful photographs.

Daniel B. Fagre, Ph.D.

Daniel FagreDr. Fagre is both the ecologist and the climate change research coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey in Glacier National Park, Montana. Originally trained in wildlife biology and ecology, Dan has a unique perspective on the changes caused by global warming. He has been doing repeat photography on the dwindling ice masses of Glacier National Park for nearly 20 years. He is the author of the 2007 book Sustaining Rocky Mountain Landscapes: Science, Policy, and Management of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.

Conrad Anker

ConradAnkerRenowned alpinist Conrad Anker approached James Balog about placing EIS cameras on Everest at the 2007 Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure ceremony in April 2008, where James was the recipient and Conrad the presenter. A member of The North Face climbing team, Conrad was able to secure funding from the company to make the Everest cameras possible.  In 2010 he led a five-person EIS field team to the Khumbu Valley to install five time-lapse cameras.


Camera Assembly/Maintenance/Field Support

  • Adam LeWinter – Associate, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH
  • Corey Jaskolski, Tuatara Systems – Nat Geo Timer Design
  • Dave Finnegan, US Army Corp of Engineers – Hubbard Glacier Cameras
  • Shad O’Neel, USGS – Glaciologist, Alaska
  • Svavar Jónatansson – Field Assistant, Iceland
  • Nicholas Korzen – Field Assistant, Alaska
  • Eran Hood – Associate Professor Environmental Science & Geography Program, University of Alaska Southeast
  • Karina Yager – South American Project Manager
  • Dan McGrath – Antarctica Project Manager

Film Team

  • Jeff Orlowski – Director and Post Production, Boulder, CO
  • Ben Phelan – Video, Luminous Media, Boulder, CO


  • Sport – Operations Manager/Administration, Boulder, CO
  • Matthew Kennedy – Editor and Time-Lapse Operations, Boulder, CO
  • Michael Aisner – Marketing/Consulting, Boulder, CO

Scientific Advisors

  • Dr. Bernard Francou, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Quito, Ecuador
  • Dr. Ian Joughin, Polar Science Center, University of Washington
  • Oddur Sigurdsson, Member, Icelandic Glaciological Society
  • Dr. Konrad Steffen, Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES),
    University of Colorado
  • Dr. James White, Fellow and Director, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Dr. Christian Vincent, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement, Grenoble, France
  • Dr. Martin Truffer, University of Alaska
  • Dr. Mark Fahnestock, University of New Hampshire