These Incredible Aerial Photos of Volcanic Rivers in Iceland Look Like Paintings


It may be hard to believe at first, but the photographs in this post are just that: photographs. Though they might look like beautiful abstract paintings, they are actually photos of volcanic rivers taken by Russian photographer Andre Ermolaev from way up in the air.

The aerial views are captured by Ermolaev in Iceland, a country he calls, “wonderful… a true paradise for all the photo shooting-lovers.” His photographs, which have been picked up multiple times by sites such as My Modern Met and This is Colossal over the past year, are part of an ongoing series that captures a birds-eye view of this paradise.

Despite its name, Iceland is actually home to some 30 active volcanic systems. It is these that Ermolaev flies over to capture the swirling colors, patterns and textures of the volcanic rivers below as they flow through the black sand and eventually find their way to the ocean.

Here’s a selection of his work from the past couple of years:



















Speaking about his photographs, Ermolaev says:

It is an inexpressible combination of colors, lines, and patterns… One can estimate the scale judging by the car tracks that are clearly seen on the black sand. This is just a river, just a volcano, just our planet.

And a beautiful planet it is. You can find more of Ermolaev’s work — including many more river photos — over on his website and 500px profile.

(via My Modern Met)

Image credits: Photographs by Andre Ermolaev and used with permission.

  • darioqqo948

    my Aunty Ruby got an
    almost new blue Nissan Sentra only from working off a laptop. a knockout post

  • D Harris Brooks

    I can never tell how large or small rivers are in these kinds of aerial photos. Phenomenal to look at however.

  • John R

    Photography is always welcome.

  • JP

    What is a volcanic river?

  • ACEkin

    Photography is not second rate painting and when it is done well photographers should not “elevate” their work to the esteemed status of painting. This is a fact, but without any merit at all. Photography, just like any other medium, has capabilities and limitations and we need to learn them and create our work within these parameters. We should not have “brush envy”.

  • MS

    These are great. Would make nice large prints.

  • theJoeD

    These are terrific. I believe this is the best aerial photography I’ve ever seen. Very interesting work. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nancy

    Glacial rivers. Not volcanic. It’s the dirt the glaciers dig up that makes the rivers seem muddy and even milky in colour. Freshwater rivers in volcanic areas are actually quite clear.

  • Martin Fredrickson

    No such thing as a “volcanic river”.

    I do agree that these photos are stunning but these are hydrologic features running through the volcanic deposits.