Thrilling eruptions at the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii taken over 25 years
Bryan Lowry has been hiking the active lava flows for more than 25 years and took 13 years to shoot the perfect picture of fire and ice after first coming up with the idea in 1992. His photograph of a lava-spewing Pu’u ‘O’o vent and the snowy summit of Mauna Kea is regarded as significant as it best represents the Big Island of Hawaii. Other incredible images show red hot lava spewing against the night sky and Bryan posing against the backdrop of orange-glowing lava.
The spectacular shots were taken over the course of 26 years after he moved to Hawaii in 1991. “The volcano must enjoy my company as it always puts on a spectacular show for me,” he said. “It’s never boring. The area changes by the hour during eruptions. It’s very peaceful out there, like sitting by a slow-moving campfire.
“I first hiked at the park in 1986 while on vacation here. The eruption was in a brief pause so, didn't get to see lava but, I was fascinated by everything in the park and on the island. “I moved here in 1991 and been hiking the active lava flows as much as possible ever since. I'll keep doing it until its physically impossible or I'm dead.
“I've never done this for an adrenaline rush, to be famous nor am I addicted. It’s simply enjoyable.” Kilauea is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaii. Kīlauea's eruptive history has been a long and active one; its name means "spewing" or "much spreading" in the Hawaiian language, referring to its frequent outpouring of lava.
"To me it’s important to know an area of new eruptions long before it ever starts. I hike and explore and scout the entire park. I want to be able to comfortably hike an area in the dark. You have to know when not to go too. Sometimes eruptions are just too dangerous to get close.
“My usual hikes are in the 10- to 20-mile range. The biggest challenge is keeping the weight of the pack down below 50lbs on 15- to 20-mile-long hikes that I'm out there for about 15 hours.
“I've carried as much as 80lbs when expecting the possibility of being out for more than 24 hours. I might not always feel up to a long hike but, if it’s needed to get to something special that could end as fast as it started, nothing stops me. If it takes twice as long to get back, then so be it. I've had some bad ankle sprains that would take everything I had to get back.”