Looking for Lava

Mt Etna erupts and re-ignites my lust for lava.

At the top of Bromo with the sand sea in the background.

In 2008 I came close to achieving my dream of seeing lava. I was travelling through Indonesia and saw plenty of volcanoes in Java and Bali, but at none of them did I have any chance of seeing lava.

Not until Merapi that is. Continue reading “Looking for Lava”


Learning how to photograph the Northern Lights.

Now I’m thinking about how I’m going to photograph that amazing view I’m soon to have of the Northern Lights, lava, bonfires and fireworks. Yes, all at the same time. I’ve requested it.

After looking at a few websites for tips on photographing the Aurora Borealis (to give it its proper name) I’ve realised that my snappy camera probably isn’t going to be up to the job. So I’ve just ordered myself a DSLR. I didn’t want a full-blown SLR as I know I’d get too confused by it and I can’t afford one anyway. So I’ve got a combi type that has got really good reviews. It should arrive by the end of next week, so then I need to get out and about practising with it and learning how to be a good night photographer. All in the next few weeks.

I’ve also ordered an ‘extreme’ memory card. Apparently memory cards can give up when the temperature gets too hot or too cold. The extreme cards are meant to cope with extreme lows and highs. The temperature in Reykjavik should be hovering around 0 when I’m there, but it has been known to get down to -17, so I want to be prepared.

I need to get a spare battery too, for the same reason. Then I can keep one next to my body and keep swapping them over. And a tripod. I’ve been researching tripods, but I’m not too sure which one yet. I want something light to carry but it has to be strong enough to stand steady in big winds. Iceland can be VERY windy. The other thing is a coat. I have my waterproof which I use for walking, but I’m not sure if this will be warm enough. I can layer up underneath it, but I can only fit so many layers. I had a look a down jackets which seem really snug, but they’re not particularly waterproof. At least not waterproof for the full-on sideways blasting rain that Iceland will throw at me. So I’ll have to ponder a bit more on that one.

I found this blog with some really good advice on how to photography the Northern Lights.

And another volcano erupts when I’m not there

I’m missing out on lava AGAIN!

Yes, another volcano in Iceland has erupted and yet again I miss out on seeing lava. I was close to this volcano when I was in Iceland a couple of summers ago. I skidooed over the glacier that covers it, though I was further south. I also came close when I did a trip into the interior of Iceland which is pretty much closed to everyone in the winter. Because of distances and difficulty of getting transport in this region this Grimsvotn volcano isn’t as easy to get to as Eyjafjallajökull would have been when that erupted. 

One of these days one will erupt when I’m either already nearby or when I’m in a position to get on a plane (assuming they’re still flying) and head straight over to see it. 

Volcano Book

Getting some inspiration for my lava quest.

I had to go into Manchester for the dentist after school and as I had a bit of time to kill I popped into a remaindered book shop. I was quite excited to find a hardback book full of colour pictures of volcanoes for £2.99.

I first got interested in volcanoes when I travelled in Indonesia a couple of years ago. I saw several steaming, grumbling and smoking volcanoes but no actual lava. The nearest I got was Merapi which is really active. You have to go with a guide if you want to go into the danger zone (very Top Gun) but even with a guide it’s not possible to go to the rim which is in the forbidden zone. The morning I was there it was spewing lava. I could hear it grumbling. I could feel it rumbling beneath my feet. But did I see lava? No. The morning I was there the lava was pouring out of the other side! So now I’m on a lava quest.

In recent years both Merapi and Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which I saw the following year, have had full blown eruptions. I missed both. Just to rub salt into my wounds I got stuck in Antwerp over Easter last year because of the Eyjafjallajökull ash cloud. Not that that was such a bad thing. I got an extra week off work and got time to explore Antwerp. But both times I missed the lava. One day I’ll see it, I know I will.