As a landscape photographer I’ve always been intrigued with nature. A few weeks ago I went to Guatemala to try and shoot the eruption of Fuego, an active volcano on the edge of a little town called Antigua Guatemala. I wanted to not only shoot the erupting volcano, but align the milky way at night with it to create something unique.

I planned everything carefully weeks before making my trip using all the tools that I had at my disposal. First of all I used Photopills to plan the position of the milky way. Then I used the tools I found online to ‘get to know’ the volcano by observing scopes, recent activity logs and webcams. Last I called the local weather station when I finally arrived in Guatemala multiple times to get a recommendation about the weather up there above 3000m. When clear skies were predicted in combination with lots of activity i made my move to try my luck.

Needed ingredients: 1) The right date for the milky way to rise next to the Fuego volcano, seen from the Acatenango volcano. This would be around the end of March; 2) A clear night with no clouds; 3) Close to new moon for good visibility of the stars; 4) Most importantly: luck to get good lava eruptions with the right timing. I say right timing because I figured it would be extremely difficult to get both the stars and the lava properly exposed in one exposure because of the huge contrast difference. To get the perfect shot, I would have to shoot during late blue hour at sunset or early blue hour at sunrise.

After a very tough steep hike I found myself on the Acatenango volcano the next day. I arrived before sunset. It was very cloudy and I couldn’t even see the Fuego next to it. However, clouds were moving fast and I knew it was probably going to clear up. It did. When I saw it erupting up close combined with the powerful sound I was just paralysed. This was amazing. It was literally one of the most impressive things I had ever seen in nature.

The final shots you see here are a result of careful planning combined with a bit of luck!

More info:

Money Shot Of Close Up From Fuego’s Eruption Combined With A Lined Up Milky Way

The Power Of Nature During Sunset

Fuego Spitting Lava At Sunset

Panorama From Campsite Around 9 PM

Panorama From Campsite Around 2 AM

Close Up Eruptions During Morning Blue Hour


Enjoying The Volcano At Sunset

Crazy Morning Eruptions Were A Nice Goodbye