Benefits of an erupting volcano for photographers

Eyjafjallajökull major eruption

David Karnå [CC-BY-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In less than 24 hours we’ll be off to Iceland for 7 days again. One of the last things I’ll do while still sitting at home in Germany, is checking Icelands earthquake map. And guess what I saw: over 81 earthquakes with a magnitude 2.6 or higher at the Bárðarbunga – Icelands biggest volcanic system. The highest magnitude measured was around 4.0 earlier this day (the highest measured magnitude since 1996).

Higher risk for a new eruption in Iceland

Shortly after I saw the earthquake activity on Iceland I googled for news about that topic, the newest posts I found were just about 6-60 minutes old. Another indicator that something is going on in the north of Europe was a official message raising the risk level of an eruption to orange, the second highest grade. If the volcano does erupt, it will cause a major flood (Bárðarbunga lies underneath Europe’s biggest glacier Vatnajökull) and an ash cloud like it happened in 2010 at the Eyjafjallajökull.

Preparing for a possible eruption

Of course I’m a bit scared now, especially cause I’m starting an internship on the 1st of september and it would suck if I’m not able to fly back home cause of an ash cloud. The good thing is: I wanted to see a flowing lavastream since I’m beeing able to think.

That’s why I’m preparing things to get to the erupting volcano as fast and as safe as possible if it should actually erupt. The amazing thing about Iceland and volcanos is, that there’s a shitload of good guides who can lead you whereever you want to guy and that includes an erupting volcano. Sadly this is a bit expensive, as I have to rent a big 4×4 car to get to the highlands.

Also I do hav another problem regarding my photography gear. My strongest “telephoto lens” only has a 50mm focal length, so if I want to good shots from the Bárðarbunga volcano, I have to get really close, maybe to close to still sit in a safe spot.

Anyway, I just hope I’m getting lucky and the stars align for me. I would be so happy to get a decent volcano shot. If anything happens the next few hours I’ll update this post.

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Author Description

Christian Möhrle

Photographing landscapes since 2009, trying to help out the lovely photography community with tutorials, workshops and more

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