If you go

What: Florian Schulz multimedia presentation "To the Arctic"

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Dairy Center for the Arts Carsen Theatre

More info: http://thedairy.org/event/braided-river-presents-to-the-arctic-

T here's a reason photographer Florian Schulz squats in below-zero temperatures for hours, holding a nearly 15-pound camera to his eye, living on dry food and melted snow in often-hazardous weather conditions.

He does it to capture the exact moment when a baby polar bear lifts its head to kiss its mother on the chin.

By hunkering down in the cold for days and weeks, he can produce images that will remind the general population why the Arctic needs saving.

Schulz has spent 15 months in the Arctic in the past six years. The results of his patience were published in his new book "To the Arctic," which accompanies an IMAX 3D film by the same name. Schulz will bring his stories, images and videos to the Carsen Theatre at the Dairy Center in Boulder on Thursday evening.

As a boy in Germany, Schulz said he took an interest in bird watching and spent time hanging out in the forest.

After his first few trips to the wilderness in America, he came home and tried to describe what he experienced to his friends. It was only after he was able to show them through photography that they understood his mission to preserve the wild.


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"They would connect," he said of his friends viewing his photos. "I realized could use the imagery effectively for conservation methods."

One of the most meaningful events Schulz said he has photographed was the migration of caribou -- somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 of them.

It took him three years to photograph the migration, but eventually he was successful.

"I would come back year after year," he said. "It took a while. The landscape, the place, it started to invite me in. Every year I would learn more about where to find animals and wildlife."

He admits that his photography has a political spin. Schulz said he doesn't want the Arctic or other wilderness areas to be developed for oil. Officials with the Alaska Wilderness League agree, and support Schulz's work.

The league's executive director Cindy Shogan often attends Schulz's presentation and asks each attendee to fill out a postcard urging President Obama and his administration to protect the Arctic.

"There's a connection for everything in Boulder to the Arctic," Shogan said when asked why Boulder residents should care about preserving the Arctic. "A lot of the bird life that you'll see originates in the Arctic, comes down your way and then flies back. There's a direct connection in your backyard."

Schulz said he takes offense when politicians or other public figures describe the Arctic as a "barren wasteland or a flatland of nothingness," he said.

To him, the Arctic represents how the world looked before humans began polluting it and interfering with nature.

"I get to (look) through a window into a world that is still in its state before we humans screwed it up," Schulz said. "I can look back at a beautiful planet in a certain harmony where the wildlife go about their business like they always have, and do it in unspoiled landscape."

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.