Taking Photography to the Extreme in the Coldest Village on Earth

If the winter weather has been getting you down, chilling your bones,  or simply making you stir crazy, and the forecast of yet another six weeks of winter just makes you want to run over Punxsutawney Phil (you know, that groundhog that saw his shadow on February 2nd), the photo album below might cheer you up a little.

On his 2-day journey from Yakutsk to Oymyakon, New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple headed out on a two day journey to capture what life is like in a world where the ground never thaws and the average high temperature in January is a whopping -47° F:

Known as the “Pole of Cold,” the Russian village of Oymyakon boasts the coldest ever (recorded) temperature in a permanently inhabited location (-71.2° C). Why would anyone ever want to live here? For work, apparently. Originally a stop-over for reindeer herders, Oymyakon has since become responsible for a fifth of the world’s diamond production. Considering the challenges of living there (to use a car you have to keep it running all day long, running water and other utilities aren’t widely available because pipes freeze, etc.), let’s hope the diamond trade makes it worth it.

Of course, the locals aren’t the only ones with challenges. Doing photography in such extreme temperatures is never simple. Not only did Chapple have to function in severely freezing conditions, his camera did, too. Sometimes things were so cold that his lens’ focus and zoom rings would get frozen stuck—not to mention loss of battery life due to cold. Now that’s dedication!

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