Albert Dros has always had a fascination with volcanos, and that only increased the more photography consumed his creative brain. And his brother provided a spark in that creative mind recently when he sent Dros images of the erupting volcano ‘Fuego’ in Guatemala where his younger sibling was backpacking and studying Spanish.
Dros knew that moment that this was a scene that he wanted to capture. But what if he could capture the lava-spewing volcano with the Milky Way in the background? Determined, Dros pulled out his favorite photography planning app, PhotoPills, and began planning. Dros talks in more detail about the specific mindset and planning that went into this adventure on the website Lonely Speck.
With his plan in place, Dros traveled to Antigua in late March, when the Milky Way looked to line up perfectly from a vantage point on neighboring Acatenango volcano, which, luckily is dormant. After a steep hike, Dros was in place.
When I finally saw Fuego erupt up close, combined with the power of its sound, I was paralyzed with awe. It was amazing. It was one of the most impressive things I had ever seen in nature.
Throughout the night, Dros waited for the darkness to descend and the Milky Way to rise, hoping his luck with clear skies would stay intact. And then, just as his planning told him, the Milky Way was in the perfect position at 2 A.M.
While this photo alone made the trip worth it, Dros wasn’t done. On Lonely Speck, he talks about his secondary shot. A close-up view of the Milky Way and the eruption.
I really wanted a close up of the erupting volcano with the Milky Way. My best opportunity was that morning. I put my camera in position for the early blue hour when the Milky Way would still be visible. At that time, a very faint crescent moon had risen in the sky, giving me some extra light on the foreground. I set everything up and waited for the right moment. I just needed that right eruption. And then it happened.
With a lot of planning and a little luck, Dros got the shot he had envisioned for months. I asked him how he would feel if things didn’t go as planned.
RT:You talk alot about the luck factor in getting shots like this. Say your luck ran out, and you weren’t able to get clear skies and visibility to get the shot you envisioned. How do you think your mental state would have been if you left with photos that didn’t meet your expectations.
I would be sad but not devastated. Planning a shot and not getting the right circumstances in the end often happens. If I wouldn’t get a decent shot and the weather or eruptions would totally let me down, I’d try again a few days later. I planned 2 weeks in Guatemala and went straight to the volcano on my arrival. I got my shots the first try, so I calculated extra time incase things wouldn’t go as planned.
Dros has had many incredible photography adventures, but I was curious how this one stacked up in his lifetime.
This had to be my most rewarding and incredible photography experience to date. I really think it is the most impressive thing I have ever seen in nature. Living in the Netherlands, I usually don’t see many spectacular natural events, so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.