Shooting the Volcano with Seth Resnick


The Iceland volcano trip that we made last month rocked. I was supposed to teach a creative workshop in August, in Iceland, with Focus on Nature. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano begin to erupt, and I got in touch with Einar Erlendsson who runs Focus on Nature, and told him I had a crazy pyroclastic idea and I asked if we could put together a program called "Fire and Ice" and photograph the volcano.

Einar responded, "Seth, No, no, no. Not crazy, Seth. Beautiful. Anything is possible. There are no problems, just solutions." In less than one month we had folks from Bermuda, Australia, Europe and the United States onboard and ready for the adventure of a lifetime. And an adventure it was. The Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption on Mt. Eyjafjoll in Iceland began breaking through the Gigjokull Glacier, and the water mixing with the lava triggered violent eruptions and large amounts of ash that caused worldwide aviation nightmares, shutting down almost all of Europe for days just as our workshop was about to start. In the end, it added to the excitement. Some folk were diverted to Glascow, Scotland. I flew on a private Lear jet with three other students. It was the craziest traveling ever with airports open one minute and shut down the next, but in the end, everyone made it to Reykjavik. We had an amazing array of participants, including my dear friend and mentor, Eric Meola.


As we were waiting for people to arrive, we explored Reykjavik and made some truly memorable images.

From Reykjavik we headed toward the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. On the way we stopped at The Hellisheidarvirkjun power plant in Hellisheidi, Iceland. This is a geothermal borehole that employs futuristic technology. The plant is not online yet, but it is able to recover the water by combing it with carbon dioxide and pumping it back into the ground allowing it crystalize underground.           

When we arrived at our hotel, a crew from "60 Minutes" was there with us, but the volcano was socked in by fog and rain. The authorities were banning all air traffic around the volcano because of the intensity of the ash. We photographed other things as the anticipation grew, and we all became good comrades. It was amazing to photograph the volcanic ash which was literally raining from the sky.            


We had the best guide one could have had in Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson. Ragnar kept saying, "Just wait, it is going to happen," and then we had an incredible, almost non-stop 48-hour shooting experience that I and everyone else will never forget—and the pictures say it all.

On the way back to Reykjavik, we photographed at  Breidarmerkursandur Beach, with black volcanic sand and icebergs from Jokulsarlon Lagoon in South Iceland. 

As we were about to leave Iceland, the intensity of the volcano increased and again airports were shut down and travel was crazy, to say the least. I know that everyone on the trip had an incredible time and there was totally major gigage shot. We got back to the States, The Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption on Mt. Eyjafjoll ended, and Iceland is quiet again. I know that the next time something like this happens in the world, I am sending out an e-mail blast and we are going to get up and go—and we hope you join us!