Monday, 12 October 2009

Pele's plume

Have you ever gone on a field trip and nothing went right? That happened this weekend when I drove up to the Volcanoes National Park in Hawai`i hoping to take some night time shots of the glow from Kilauea's summit. It had been a beautiful day and I thought I could take a few photos of Kilauea Iki and some sunset shots of Kilauea's summit before trying to take some pictures at night.

Kilauea's Iki's shots were horribly boring when I finally got to look at them at home and every night shot I took of the crater was a nasty mess of electronic noise with a bit of red glow in the corner. Unfortunately, despite the wonderful weather during the day, clouds were hanging around Kilauea which ruined the Iki shots and the glow from the lava deep below the surface was exceptionally weak. I had a really nice chat with one of the rangers at the Jaggar Museum on the edge of Kilauea's crater though. He'd set up one of the small telescopes so it was pointing at Jupiter and its moons rather than the crater, and to be honest this seemed to create much more interest with the visitors than the active volcano and vent nearby! I wish I asked for his name, he was such an interesting chap! He had quite an interest in astronomy so we had a little in common.

Well, although it's not my favourite shot, at least I came away with something - the Kilauea summit area and volcanic plume at sunset. I'm going to try again though, but will wait until the glow from the vent is a little stronger!


Anonymous said...

I wish I would have had that good of a view when we were there in March. It was a blowy rainy day and we couldn't see hardly anything. I guess I'll just have to come back, eh?

Tom said...

I think Kilauea creates it's own climate, it's high enough. Sometimes I've gone there when it's a beautiful day at sea level and it's raining and cloudy up there.

I hope you do get to come back and see it on a good day! It's a most extraordinary place!

For the best chance of decent weather the summer months are always best. Late winter and early spring tend to bring the trade winds in and it can get quite wet up there, but to be honest it's a lottery.