Photographer Mike Mezeul II recently released an astounding set of pictures plus a 3.5-minute long footage that show the scale, size as well as the majesty of Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland. This specific volcano has been growing dramatically.
This volcano started to erupt on the 19th of March after being temporarily inactive for about 6,000 years. As of the information upto April 16th, this eruption has grown to seven fissures according to the estimations. And also the lava valley has nearly been filled with lava and even poured to the next valley.
“With the glow of the eruption being visible from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, thousands of visitors have been able to visit the site and take in the beauty of the event,” Mezeul says PetaPixel.
“This was my fourth erupting volcano of 2021 to document and I spent eight days out in Iceland documenting the eruption,” he says. “Due to the isolated location of the volcano, I ended up hiking nearly 75 miles during my time there to cover the event.”
The risk of moving to the remote area is more elevated due to the lava flow and other physical challenges.
“Besides the challenge of just getting to the site, there were various volcanic hazards that needed to be carefully watched. This eruption is extremely new, so it is constantly changing minute-to-minute and one of my biggest concerns was how quickly the new fissures were opening up without warning,” Mezeul continued.
“Seismic activity didn’t show any increases in activity before new fissures developed, so there was literally no warning,” he continues. “This actually came close to happening on one of the nights I was there. A new fissure opened up where I had been sitting about 10 hours prior.”
Mezeul also explained that a huge amount of sulphur dioxide gas has been released due to the high effusion rate of lava.
“I had to have a gas mask with me at all times and monitor S02 levels. Also, with the ever-changing environment came drastic and quick changes to lava flow paths, so I had to be incredibly aware of escape routes and where the lava was coming and going at all times,” he adds. “There were multiple times where I would have lava come down the hill from behind me and if I was not paying attention, I could have easily been trapped.”
Mezeul’s documentary video has been captured both from the ground as well as from air with the help of his Nikon Z 7II, Z 6II systems and a DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
“On land, I really aimed to utilize surface flows as foreground, but with the extreme heat, I sometimes would only have seconds to get close, compose a shot, and press the shutter before suffering burns or possible damage to the camera gear,” he says. “I actually had part of my pants melt while out shooting. As for my drone, I pushed it to its limits and was able to get some stellar footage from up close, but at a cost… it partially melted.”
However, this isn’t the first time that the items of a photographer suffered damage due to the eruption while photographing. Photographer Garðar O ́ lafs from Iceland too showed his damaged drone which he flew towards the volcano. It had melted.
Mezeul has also documented the event from an airplane other than the drone. He had faced a lot of unique challenges during the time.
“The extreme amount of heat from the entire line of fissures made for quite an amount of thermal activity and a very bouncy flight at times as we flew over the eruption,” he explained. “All in all, it was an absolutely incredible event to witness and document.”