Videographer Mick Kalber shares his prespective on the shooting of VolcanoScapes 1999.

        “On a trip to the ocean entry in early 1999 we are most fortunate… in fact, we are blessed.  As we approach the ocean entry that night from about a mile away we see wild explosions.  My heart races… I’ve been trying to capture this kind of activity at the ocean’s edge for over fifteen years.  I know this is my chance.  The activity continues as we scramble over the pahoehoe lava toward the water.  Flashes of red, yellow and orange light up the sky in front of us… the hike takes about thirty minutes, but seems like hours. 

        Maybe five minutes before we arrived, the explosions stop.  I’m devastated… damn!  We’re too late again!  We missed it.  I dejectedly set up the camera and started taping the early morning sunrise over the glow

of the ocean entry.  It’s very pretty, but its beauty is somewhat lost on me… this is not was I had bargained for.After about ten minutes of calm… boom… boom!!  a deafening crack and a blinding flash of light!  Boom, boom!!!  Lava shoots into the air in huge sheets, spraying volcanic debris everywhere!  I’m stunned!  I roll immediately, but the light is so red hot it takes me awhile to adjust my camera to the proper exposure.  I’m shooting at a time of day when the lens would normally be wide open or very close to it.  Instead, the light from this amazing eruption was so bright that my aperture is almost completely closed!

        The ground shakes with the continual percussive explosions… the sound is deafening… lava blasts one hundred-fifty feet in the air… rocks the size of grapefruits frequently fall in front and to the side of us… we are right at the edge of the fall line… as close as we can be without being hit.  I am confident we are safe until I see the earth crack and start opening even closer to us.  I’m ready to run, but kept on shooting while I watch what happens.  The new crack explodes several times, but eventually slowly closes down.

        Wave after wave of some of the most amazing formations I have ever seen appear before my lens.  The steam explosions throwing sheets of lava into the air as they violently force their way out of the lava tubes that fed the Pacific Ocean.  I call them “shrouds,” because they billow white hot, then quickly turn various shades of yellow, orange, red, magenta and, finally became a black veil before disappearing in the early morning light.  I am so excited to have been capturing this activity I have to stop myself from screaming.  It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life.  Hollywood could not create a better effect than this... this is the Goddess Pele at her very best! A few early morning visitors are on hand for the display… their eyes as big as saucers.  “Nothin’ like that in Kansas!” I hear one of them exclaim. 

        No doubt about that.  The activity slowly dissipates as the sun rises… Pele has given us another gift… a truly magnificent volcanic display.

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VolcanoScapes 1999 on VHS

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