Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

I realize that this photograph is pretty much the attention grabber from all those that I have taken in Iceland on this trip so I figured I would write up a little about what it took to get the image. As soon as I got this assignment, a photograph of a volcano erupting with lightning inside of the ash plume was on my mind. I had seen one a couple of years ago from a volcano in South America so I knew it happened. When I was watching the ash during the first dusk I saw plenty of lightning so I knew I had a shot at making this picture.

I have shot lightning a few times before but it tends to be a bit of a fishing excursion because of the erratic habits of lightning bolts, this was less so. I knew exactly where the lightning would be (in the caldera) and I just had to find a good vantage point. Earlier in the day I spent some time with some sheep farmers, who lived directly across the valley from this eruption. I noticed some cars crossing a river and driving northeast to get a better view inside the crater. With dusk approaching, I decided to make a go of that route. I drove my jeep across the river and down a very bumpy road that had been rebuilt through fields of mini-icebergs that had been deposited by a glacial flood triggered by the initial eruption. It was here that I made another of my favorite images showing the “Land of Ice and Fire” that Iceland is known for.

Ice from a glacial flood triggered by a volcanic eruption is seen as the volcano continues to erupt near  Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Ice from a glacial flood triggered by a volcanic eruption is seen as the volcano continues to erupt near Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

It took 30-45 minutes of driving from the farm before I came upon a viewpoint where the road raised to follow a mountain. Police were parked there informing drivers that the road had been washed out a little further up. The two men inside, and all the police in general here, were extremely helpful and, although a bit tired from staring at a volcano for 8 hours, informed me that it was fine for me to drive up the road a bit and park to take some photographs.