Photographer Gets So Close to Lava That His Shoes and Tripod Melt


Some photographers enjoy chasing storms; Miles Morgan enjoys “chasing” volcanos. The Hawaiian landscape photographer has spent years risking life and limb to capture beautiful photographs of molten lava.

The 41-year-old Hawaiian landscape photographer first cut his teeth in landscape photography back in 2009. His father Hank is a successful photojournalist, so there was no shortage of cameras in the family. After some experimentation, Morgan was hooked.

Soon, his hobby began to include photographing volcanos and lava flows from up close.

For one photograph, Morgan decided to take a self-portrait showing himself standing just feet away from the crater of Kilaeua volcano in Hawaii–without any protective gear. He set his camera’s self-timer and then got as close as he could to the “unbelievably hot” lava. This is the photo that resulted:


It’s dangerous passion, Morgan says. In many places near lava flows at the edge of the ocean, the ground beneath one’s feet is extremely unstable and prone to erosion. Sometimes entire chunks fall into the ocean, posing a danger to anyone standing in the area. In addition to the risk of falling into lava or boiling-hot water, there are toxic gases that swirl around.

So far, though, Morgan has been able to avoid any serious injuries–the worst that has happened to him is having some of his gear (e.g. shoes and a tripod) melt at the bottom.

Here are some of the amazing lava photographs Morgan has captured so far:














Here’s a great video interview in which Miles talks about his photography:

You can find more of Morgan’s work on his personal website and through his 500px account.

Update: If you didn’t believe that you can have your shoes melt while shooting on a volcano, check out this photo that shows a photographer’s shoes and tripod catching on fire!

Image credits: Photographs by Miles Morgan and used with permission