The stunning photograph above of a California forest fire was taken at risk of life and limb by filmmaker Jeff Frost. He recently penned an op-ed in which he described a near-death experience capturing footage of the Rocky Fire last summer. "The heat came in powerful rattling gusts," he writes in the piece. "I felt it pressing through the rolled up windows of my truck, and worried that the flare resistant coatings would melt off my lens outside. Then I worried about other more fleshy things melting."
Now, Frost is releasing footage shot during that and other expeditions from the past two years in a new project called Fire Chasers, embedded below. You can download footage from the project on Vimeo for free through March 15. The medium of timelapse lends already-frightening conflagrations an even more frenzied energy. At one point, you see a fire rush across an entire valley and engulf you in a matter of seconds. "As crazy as it looks that was the mellow part of my day," Frost tells The Creators Project. "If I had any sense I'd be using a bunch of slow-motion cameras, but they're too bloody expensive," he jokes. "Timelapse is the exact wrong technique to be using in a run and gun scenario, which is maybe why I'm doing it. Because I'm all wrong. So it's back to the basics compared to a lot of my other work."
Frost has also used the technique to capture riots, paint occult-looking symbols on abandoned buildings, and achieve other unique effects. His work was used in a U2 tour, and in 2014 he released the experimental film for which he initially developed many of these techniques, Circle of Abstract Ritual. In the future, he hopes to expand his vision using helicoptors and pursuing legal methods of flying drones nearby at night. "NOTE: NO DRONES IN FIRE ZONES, PEOPLE! It causes the aircraft to be grounded because they don't wanna be smacking into things in the sky while they're fighting fires," he says. "IF we get to do it at all it's going to be with the coordination of the people on the ground fighting the fires."
This sense of responsibility is what drives him to take these risks in the first place. Frost hopes to raise awareness about threats to the environment by showing people in no uncertain terms the effects of climate change and not properly maintaining our natural spaces. In the coming months, Fire Chasers will take the form of an expanded art film, a coffee table book, and a feature length documentary. Check out more of Frost's frightening, stunning photos below.