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.
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.
This extraordinary photo was taken in the middle of the night in South Iceland. It was taken on a full moon night in October just before 1 a.m. Believe it or not, the post processing challenge was to darken the image to make it look a little bit more like a night photo. The moon was behind me…
For Iceland based photographers, photographing the Milky Way is generally something we do while we are waiting for the Northern Lights to appear.
This Northern lights photograph teaches me to be humble at this time in my life. It represents the place I am at in the universe, and maybe you too?