Platte River Timelapse Project


Mike Forsberg has teamed up with NET Nebraska producer Mike Farrell to capture time lapse of the Platte River basin – from the Colorado Rockies to the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers to answer “Where does our water come from?”

Beginning in the spring of 2011, we will start the work to show this ecosystem in motion. We are installing over 40 timelapse cameras up and down the basin that are taking images every hour of every daylight hour of every day, some for several months and some for several years or more. These cameras will be trained on the Platte’s three main sources of water: snowmelt from the Rockies, groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer, and our region’s weather and climate.

These timelapse images will show natural processes unfold on the landscape, how nature uses the water and how we use the water as it moves through the watershed. Our goal is to to document an entire wet to dry cycle in the Great Plains – presumably unfolding over several years. We are currently funded for two years.

Esteemed photographer Jim Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey recent landmark timelapse photography studies of the world’s glaciers have bore witness to and provided irrifutable evidence of a warming Earth. We hope to use the tools of timelapse photography and associated technology in a similar manner to help forward science and education by creating an exciting and compelling way to study any watershed of any size anywhere in the world – whether it be the small creek in your backyard or the mighty Zambezi River in Africa.

As we move forward in the Platte basin, there will be much to learn and stories to share. We hope that you come along with us on this journey. And the next time we fill up our water glass at the tap, we may all be able to better appreciate and understand this drop of water’s journey – that which sustains a river and all life here in the heart of North America.