It was during a recent photography trip to Kamchatka in far east Russia that I was fortunate enough to witness and photograph an erupting volcano. Having joined a group of passionate photographers, led by the incredibly talented Daniel Kordan, we had arrived in Kamchatka and heard of visible lava streams in the area we were heading out to. We embarked on the long drive in a six wheel drive Russian Kamaz truck, hoping for good weather conditions so we could capture this event.


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After arriving, we set up camp about an hour away from a small lake higher up the mountain, which would allow us to shoot the volcano with a beautiful reflection as foreground. The conditions were great and we managed to get some excellent shots of the glowing lava lighting up.

On the second night of shooting I had just switched from a wide angle lens to shoot at 35mm (allowing to get an image showing more detail of the volcano and lava) when all of a sudden, a bright streak appeared for a split second. A meteor! Luck had it that I was taking a series of 15-second exposures, long enough to capture it. Realizing this is a once in a lifetime event, I feel incredibly fortunate and impressed to have witnessed these forces of nature.

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A meteor aligns perfectly over erupting stratovolcano Klyuchevskaya Sopka. I called this picture “Volcano magic”.

This is a crop of the picture, giving a closer look on the lava and meteor streaks.

We used this truck for transportation in Kamchatka. Roads are mainly unpaved, so a four (or six) wheel truck is a necessity.