Photographing Volcanic Eruption up-Close and Personal

Photographing Volcanic Eruption up-Close and Personal

While many of us are still experiencing travel blues as we're confined to our local areas, an Iceland-based photographer experienced a trip of a lifetime as he got to document a volcanic eruption occurring right in front of him.I think I can speak for many of us and say that we are ready and eager to return back to traveling. It's been even more so tough for photographers whose work and passion revolves around travel, city, and landscape photography. However, turns out that sometimes you don't even need to travel far to experience how incredible nature is and have the opportunity to photograph it. 

Iceland volcano eruption

Belgian photographer, currently residing in Iceland, Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove, is an avid nature and landscape photographer. The living world has always been a personal interest for the photographer ever since his childhood when he found an old Canon AV-1 and picked it up. Immersing himself in National Geographic and BBC nature documentaries combined with early travel opportunities to remote destinations have led Van Nieuwenhove to where he is today: photographing beautiful nature and landscape in Iceland, a place that captivated him for years.

Van Nieuwenhove had always wanted to see and photograph a volcanic eruption up-close, because it's "the most powerful natural phenomenon on this planet" and it's breathtaking to experience new earth molded and formed right in front of your eyes. Luckily, Fagradalsfjall eruption was happening only an hour's drive away so there was no other option besides grabbing the camera gear and going for it. On this occasion, the eruption occurring was very small and thus more accessible than other larger and more dangerous eruptions.

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Although the call to go was sudden, Van Nieuwenhove had been preparing himself for several weeks. About four weeks prior, an earthquake swarm had started in the area where the eruption is now taking place. This meant that there was a chance for the eruption to happen which is why the photographer had already kept his gear charged up and had also purchased a gas mask with special filters to protect himself from sulfur dioxide gas. Besides preparing his photographic and hiking equipment, Van Nieuwenhove had also done extensive research on how to tackle photographing volcanic eruptions by looking at what other photographers had done in such situations. 

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When he arrived at the destination and hiked four hours one way, the rest that followed was natural. The preparations prior paid off and Van Nieuwenhove started working through the steps he had been preparing himself for which allowed him to create these beautiful photographs and video footage. He stayed just under four hours at the eruption site and hiked his way back to the car afterward.

Although not quite an adrenaline seeker himself, Van Nieuwenhove accepts that sometimes in order to see and photograph certain places, you have to be. You have to prepare yourself for an adventure and be ready for an experience that may bring extreme conditions with it. He also advises that even though the adrenaline may give you the energy and excitement to pursue more dangerous conditions than you normally would, it's important to remain vigilant and look after your health and safety first and foremost. Nature can be unpredictable so it's important to remain clear-headed.

You can read his personal blog story on his website or visit his Instagram profile for breathtaking travel photography imagery.

All images used with the permission of Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove.

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9 Comments

Charles Mercier's picture

I would LOVE to be there now!!! :-(

Anete Lusina's picture

I think most of us are going through adventure and travel blues right now!! :(

El Dooderino's picture

Reading this, I can't help but think of those who lost their lives when Mt. St. Helens erupted.

Lucky guy!

Charles Mercier's picture

There are differing types of volcano eruptions. This kind like Hawaii basically come out as lava flows as two continental plates separate whereas explosive ones come from sliding or colliding plates.

El Dooderino's picture

I think I should have clarified that he's a lucky guy to have the opportunity to take those photos.

Yes, there are several types of eruptions. I would think that at such an eruption, one might keep a "weather eye" out for lava bombs.

Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

Photographs are amazing but pray they all be safe.

Mike Dee's picture

From all the text and prepartions I expected Some really Nice photos.... but they are quit dissapointing. I read he took 2500 shots! In 3,5hrs!

Anete Lusina's picture

I think the images are beautiful!

Michelle Maani's picture

It always concerns me that when photographers gets behind a camera, they forget that they are still fragile humans. The shot is so consuming that they forget personal safety.