BOOKENDS: 2-pix per day showing … Something old, Something new – Something foreign, Something domestic – Something film, Something digital. Visit my gallery to follow along on this photographic journey around the world.
River of Fire, Mt. Etna, Sicily, 1971 —
Mt. Etna had been erupting for a week when I arrived in Taormina in May of 1971, and serendipitously met up with a team of British volcanologists who were climbing the mountain to photograph the event. Setting out after dark, we trudged up the lava-sand slope, sliding a half step back with each step forward, until finally reaching the top about midnight. Cresting the summit ridge, we were greeted by a deafening roar, like that of a howling wind or mighty waterfall, and a startling blast of heat that immediately melted the nighttime chill from our bodies.
Not fifty feet in front of us was the most awesome and exciting example of God’s power in nature I had ever seen – and instantly my fatigue was gone and I was shooting and shouting in an ecstatic frenzy. Using a large boulder for protection while changing film backs and lenses, I darted out to expose as many frames as possible before the furnace-like conditions would drive me back … even so, the hair on my arms was singed by the intense heat.
One scene from that night indelibly stamped in my memory is that of a boulder at the edge of the flow (about 7 or 8 feet in diameter) being loosened from its foundation and swept into the river of fire, where it burst into flames … and melted. WOAH!!! Hasselblad 500C, 50mm Distagon wide angle, Ektachrome film
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