The little one’s dead, now it’s time for the big one to come out to play.

It was the day after the eruption at Fimmvörðuhals died that the big one erupted (14th April 2010). Obviously they are connected via underground volcanic chambers. The real concern was that Fimmvörðuhals was directly between Eyjafjalljökull and the dreaded Katla. The last time Eyjafjalljökull (1821) erupted, it was followed by a Katla eruption. The authorities were taking no chances and evacuated nearly 500 people from local farms. An exclusion zone was set up and police blocked the roads preventing any photographers from getting near.

The eruption created a huge ash plume several kilometres high and the heat from the volcano created a Jöklahlaup (glacial flood) from Gigjajökull into the Markjaflott river. Workmen struggled to break a hole in the ring road to save the bridges. The whole area was underwater and huge blocks of ice were strewn throughout the landscape. I was a nervous time for local farmers, but the floods soon receded.

My first trip out there was with my girlfriend and we took our dSLRs with an attempt to capture some of the lightning forks. Being a wide angle landscape photography fan, I only had 50mm prime as my longest lens. We took a back road and drove as far as the road block where we were directed into a school playground.

Thunderbolt Crop
This was taken with a long exposure, I took several in the hope of capturing the lightning. This exposure was successful, but it is a huge crop from the original.

Telephoto Rental

Two days later we returned and I managed to hire a 70-200mm lens. Unfortunately the lighting had ceased by then, but we were able to get closer.

Loco Reflect
This was taken with my 24mm as we approached the area. The setting sun was catching the higher parts of the ash plume.

Bridge to Doom

Close Portrait
Using the 200mm I was able to get up close and personal.

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