In 1909 a balloonist photographed the Mer de Glace in the Alps from the air, creating a uniquely detailed visual record of the glacier. A century later, digital methods allow for the photographs taken during Eduard Spelterini’s historical flight to be modelled in three dimensions. In 2017 a team from Scotland returned in a helicopter to the exact location of the original photographs in order to record the visual impact of glacial recession during the twentieth century.
The results visualize not only the physical evidence of our changing climate, but also the changing aesthetic of the alpine landscape. This pilot project demonstrates the viability of novel approaches to visualization for telling the stories of glacial landscapes in a visually compelling way. These methods have also been trialed in Iceland with a view to extending the focus of the project across the circumpolar north.
Link to The 100-Year Time-Lapse Project feature on Bifrost Online: https://bifrostonline.org/the-100-year-time-lapse/