13 Feb. 2015
The Northern Lights are seen above the ash plume of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in the evening in this April 22, 2010 file photo.
Lucas Jackson: The ash cloud brought the greatest disruption to European air travel since World War Two, and the only way to get to Iceland was to fly from North America. I travelled overnight, arriving at Keflavik airport at 6:30 a.m. on April 17.
In a rented car I drove east towards the ash plume on the horizon. The scale of the assignment had begun to sink in, and I realized it would require careful thinking, rather than instant reaction.
For images of the eruption itself I was dependent on the weather.
The plume would be invisible if it was overcast, and if the wind died the ash would turn to a haze. For a photograph of lightning flashing inside the ash cloud I had to wait for several hours on a washed-out road, and physically hold my shutter open for more than two minutes.
To show vehicle-size chunks of lava exploding out of the volcano I had to drive through eight different rivers and up a mountain to angle a 300 mm lens at the crater. On my last evening I was blessed with a show from the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) while lava illuminated the ash plume from below.
I will always remember this assignment fondly. I feel lucky to have been able to document the eruption so others could share in the amazement - watching Mother Nature negate centuries of human technology and progress with one of the most beautiful sights on earth. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files (ICELAND - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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