Ian Plant • Photographing Lava

It might sound like a tremendously dangerous way to capture a picture but photographing lava can be done carefully and safely. Ian Plant tells us how

Hawaii’s recent volcanic eruption has been getting a lot of attention in news headlines around the world, so it seems like a good time to be talking about lava! I love photographing lava and have been to more than my fair share of active volcanoes (including in Hawaii). Yes, volcanoes can be ridiculously dangerous, with lava being always ridiculously and dangerously hot, even when other volcanic dangers aren’t present. But, as long as you are careful, photographing lava can be the ultimate bucket list experience.

There are actually a few places in the world where you can photograph lava with a considerable amount of safety – in fact, some of these places are tourist hot spots (pardon the pun). Some of the most popular destinations include Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in the USA, the Yasur Volcano in Vanuatu, the Nyiragongo Volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mount Etna and the Stromboli Volcano in Italy and Erta Ale in Ethiopia. These are among the most active sites, while plenty of other places around the world experience intermittent lava activity. Always make sure to check current activity before booking a trip, as conditions can change at any time, even for the most persistently active sites. In most lava tourist areas, a guided tour might be your only option, but in some places you are ...

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About Author


Ian Plant is a full time professional nature photographer, writer, and adventurer. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, books and calendars, and he is a frequent contributor to Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazines, among others.

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