A photographer has captured incredible images and footage of Iceland’s most recent volcanic eruption.
Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove, a Belgian photographer who has been living in Iceland for the last six years, tells PetaPixel that he hiked for one and a half hours on rough terrain and carried a gas mask to film the latest eruption at Fagradalsfjall volcano.
In March last year, Van Nieuwenhove photographed a volcanic eruption for the first time, taking stunning images of Geldingadalir volcano’s eruption, which is in the same Fagradalsfjall volcanic system. He visited the volcano 44 times to photograph the eruption from every possible angle.
Since then, Van Nieuwenhove had been expecting Fagradalsfjall volcano to erupt again. In the days before the latest eruption, Van Nieuwenhove kept a close watch on the volcano’s seismic activity and had his photography gear prepared for any eventuality.
“I hadn’t been actively waiting for it to erupt again but it was always on the back of my mind,” says Van Nieuwenhove. “But just a few days before the eruption began, seismic activity increased very quickly. It became very clear early on that this would evolve into an eruption.”
“Since the seismic activity began, I kept a very close eye on all the seismic data which is publicly accessible information here in Iceland. I also kept my photography gear ready to go,” he adds.
As soon as he ascertained where the eruption was taking place, Van Nieuwenhove began the arduous journey by foot to the volcano.
“Once I figured out where exactly the eruption began, I drove to the area where you could start hiking,” he says.
“The hike took one and a half hours and was very strenuous. The terrain is very rough.”
Van Nieuwenhove used two Canon R6s together with a 14-35mm RF and a 100-500mm RF lens and a DJI Air 2S drone to capture the dramatic shots of Fagradalsfjall volcano. He knew that he had to get as many close-up shots of the eruption before the area became too dangerous.
“Once I got there, I kind of just used what I learned last year and jumped in,” says Van Nieuwenhove. “One thing that became very clear last year was that it was best to use your camera most of the time early on. The reason is that you can still get quite close. However, the eruption grew very fast so I mostly resorted to my telephoto lens on day one.”
“There’s always a danger in approaching a volcanic event,” he adds. “Even though this eruption is again rather small, there’s always the danger of toxic gases and new cracks opening up. I always carry a gas mask on me in case the wind shifts, for example.”
Van Nieuwenhove says that he has a deep fascination for volcanos and eruptions — a subject which he explored in his first book New Earth which was published in December last year.
“Capturing a volcanic eruption is incredible. It’s not only a cool light show. It goes way beyond that,” he explains. “You’re essentially seeing a new landscape being born in front of your eyes. Every time you visit, the area has changed. No photo is ever the same.”