Photographer battles 2,000F to capture dangerous volcano pics
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An intrepid photographer endures temperatures of over 2,000 degrees fahrenheit - to get as close as possible to the world's most dangerous volcanoes.
Carsten Peter, 53, stands just inches away from the fiery mouths of active volcanoes like Mount Etna and Nyiragongo to capture his sizzling shots.
His images capture the silhouettes of those scientists who dared to collect samples, while standing just yards from falling lava, while on research expeditions at the volcanoes in Italy and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Carsten said he got a real thrill from witnessing and photographing volcanic eruptions.
"I started photographing volcanoes out of curiosity and gradually became more and more interested.
"It's an unbelievable force, you feel so little in comparison. I like the feeling of being exposed to the forces of nature.
"I try to visit as many volcanoes as possible.
"I can spend weeks at a time on a volcano. I try to stay as long as I can to observe the volcanic activity."
But Carsten said photographing active volcanoes was no easy feat and he could sometimes spend up to two months living on a volcano in search of the perfect shot - and the team even pitched a cooking tent on the rim of the volcano.
He said toxic gases, wind direction and extreme heat also made it both difficult and dangerous for him to photograph.
When photographing Nyiragongo, Carsten said temperatures at the rim of the lava lake reached up to 1,100 degrees celsius.
He said: "When you're this close it can be incredibly hot, normally you take heat protection as it's impossible to withstand this heat for more than a few seconds.
"I have tried to go unshielded before, but I can only stand this close for a very short amount of time.
"It's like holding your hand under the grill in an oven, you can only hold it there for a few seconds before pulling it away it's unbearably hot.
"The only way you can photograph this close is to wear a heat protection suit."
He said due to the volatile nature of volcanoes, photographing an active volcano could be extremely dangerous and it was important to plan in advance in order to minimise the danger involved in photographing active volcanoes.
And he said he always observed volcanoes from a distance in order to judge how close he could get.
"It's very difficult to judge what is the most dangerous part of photographing a volcano as they are so unpredictable.
"One of the worst dangers is rock fall, volcanoes are ever changing environments so the rocks can be very unstable making them dangerous to climb.
"There's always the risk of explosions or lava bombs, it's often very hard to judge the explosions.
"Pyroclastic clouds, a mixture of hot gases and ash, sometimes with rocks can travel at a speed of up to 300km per hour, they can travel over mountain ridges and are very dangerous.
"Even very experienced volcanologists have been killed by pyroclastic clouds."
"Volcanoes also release a poisonous cocktail of nasty gases, so you need to be careful of the wind direction when photographing volcanoes as some of these gases can be very harmful.
"There are constant dangers but I try to do my best to avoid them.
"But witnessing a volcanic eruption is amazing and it's this magnificence of nature that is the driving force behind my work."
Source: Lianne Ryan/Caters
Ready for your close-up? Photographer braves volcano for perfect picture
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