Up Close & Personal With the Erta Ale Volcano


It’s beginning to get chilly here in the UK and so the annual panic over snow is about to start. With that in mind I thought it would be nice to post an image that embodied warmth.

I’m in the middle of writing up the third part of the review (days 4 through 6) of the trip to Ethiopia – the days where we were at the Erta Ale lava lake – and so I’m not going into details today but it is essentially it is a hole 47 kilometres deep and full of molten lava. The level of the lava can rise or fall a few metres but not enough to make a difference to the temperature when you stand close of the rim, which is hot. Very hot. The fun starts when there’s gas in the upwell as it turns the usually gently bubbling, boiling rock surface into something even more spectacular: A Stombolian eruption.

There’s a convenient, but easily climbable peak not too far back from the lake and this gives a great downward view of not only the lake but the whole caldera. This was the third and last day that we were at the lake before heading further north to Dalol and nature had been kind by putting on frequent displays of Stombolian eruptions, lasting up to two minutes at a time. After spending much of the day at ground level trying to capture video and time lapses of the activity, I and one of the other photographers on the trip decided to head up here to gain a different perspective. I was up here with the intent of setting up a panoramic shot but when looking down one of the eruptions started.

This was very much an opportunistic shot. I didn’t have time to frame the shot nor to zoom in so the resulting image captured the moment, but not ideally. In fact I initially dismissed the image as unusable in the forthcoming gallery, but then realised that whilst it may not make it into the final 25 images it still tells a story and gives a great idea of just how ‘up close and personal’ you can get with a volcano.

There has been a significant amount of cropping of the original image – enough that this wouldn’t print well at A3+. Other that that I have only made clarity and vibrance adjustments.

Oh, definitely click the image to enlarge!

Erta Ale can have moments of breath-taking wonder... [Click to enlarge!]

Erta Ale can have moments of breath-taking wonder… [Click to enlarge!]

This entry was posted in Frame by Frame and tagged , , , , .

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *