By Michael Scott
These fearless photographers have no qualms about risking their lives to get the perfect shot – perching precariously on the edge of a huge volcano with red-hot molten lava spewing at their feet.
The two snappers were spotted balancing on the precipice of Mount Kilauea, on the Big
island of Hawaii, while lava of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit ran, like rivers of fire, beneath them.
The pair risked their lives in a bid to get the perfect picture by venturing far away from the public viewing area.
The daring duo were spotted by photographer, Joseph Anthony, who saw them from the base of the volcano – the lava ocean entry point – during a boat trip.
The 44-year-old said he was shocked to see that the photographers had put themselves in such great danger, especially with the edge of the cliff being so unstable.
He said: “A little along from them a whole section of the cliff had collapsed into the sea which pushed the viewing area for the public further away along the coastline.
“Also the shelf beneath them was previously part of the cliff and that also has obviously collapsed.
“The ‘firehose’ as it is called is the lava from an underground tube finding a weak spot in the cliff which causes it to burst out and fall like a waterfall.
“This can happen anywhere including right under the photographer’s feet and it is totally unpredictable.
“Witnessing the ‘firehose’ with the photographers next to it was an unexpected bonus of the trip.
“Even the boat captain was excited at seeing this event. He ranked it as one of the most amazing he had ever seen and he has been going for many years.
“Where they are standing is technically completely forbidden.
“There is a rope barrier surrounding this section of the cliff and the public viewing area is quite a long way from where this activity took place. So they took their lives into their own hands by choosing to hike there.”
Joseph was born in Nigeria but grew up in the UK and is currently living in Hong Kong.
He said capturing the images was extremely difficult as he had to balance on the boat as it got very close to the molten lava.
He added: “It was a very intense shoot indeed.
“I was totally exhausted at the end as it is quite a physical work out having to balance on the rocking boat while also photographing in low light with various cameras.
“The boat gets very close to the lava entering the ocean and this creates turbulent water with rocks flying around as the lava comes into contact with the water. So getting the shots was a huge technical challenge in these conditions as it is a violent shooting environment.
“The experience of seeing molten lava up close is a visceral one which leaves a major impression on you.
“The sheer intensity of the heat when you get up close to the lava is an incredible experience and one not to be taken lightly.
“There are clues as to the state of the ground under your feet. It can be disconcerting when you suddenly see the ground popping.
” Literally fragments of old lava bouncing off the surface is a clue that there is pent up pressure beneath the surface which can break out at any time.
“Also the texture and even sound changes underfoot are clues you should pay closer attention to where you decide to take your next step as it could be your last.”