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Frozen Warriors – Highlighting the plight of the mighty musk ox
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Award winning wildlife photographer Chris Schmid has completed an ambitious project to document one of nature’s most resilient animals. In a bid capture the musk oxen in their most natural habitat, Chris travelled in freezing temperatures and winds of up to 100 km per hour searching for the perfect snowstorm.

Trekking on snowshoes and carrying his equipment in extreme conditions, he journeyed through Norway’s Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park in order to show the power and strength of the musk ox. These magnificent beasts weigh close to 500 kg and closely resemble the mammoth with whom they walked alongside in the last ice age.

“WHAT FASCINATES ME ABOUT THE MUSK OX IS THE STRENGTH IT HAS TO ADAPT TO THE MOST HOSTILE OF ENVIRONMENTS. IN THE WINTER, THEY FEED ON ROOTS, MOSSES AND LICHENS BURIED UNDER THE SNOW AND SPEND OVER FOUR MONTHS WITHOUT SUNSHINE, IN TOTAL DARKNESS, SURVIVING IN TEMPERATURES REACHING AS LOW AS -60°C.”

Musk oxen thrive in the frozen artic and the wide unspoilt expanses of the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park gave Chris the opportunity to spend time in intimacy with this ancestral species. In filming The Frozen Warriors, Chris hopes to create a connection between the audience and this fragile animal whose future is threatened by global warming. Although protected from intensive hunting, the current population of musk ox in Norway only stands at 300.

“IN FILMING THE MUSK OXEN IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT I PUSHED MYSELF OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE BUT I NEEDED TO LEAVE EVERTHING BEHIND AND LIVE IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT TO HIGHLIGHT THEIR PLIGHT AND RAISE AWARENESS AROUND THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING.”

Chris filmed with a RED camera giving incredible resolution, detail and an unparalleled frame rate for slow motion. As he was shooting in high winds and extreme weather conditions it was key to have a camera able to capture these elements. The photographs were taken using the latest Sony Alpha cameras, Sony a9 and Sony a7rIII.

The original soundtrack was created by Austrian film composer and musician Christian Heschl who won “Best Original Score” at the Global Film Festival Awards in Los Angeles for the short documentary “Iceland – A Breath of Nature”.

Frozen Warriors will be submitted to various nature festivals in a bid to raise as much awareness as possible.

 

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