PART I: Earth Vents

My ‘earth vents’ photographs have been making the rounds recently so it seemed like a good time to share the story of one of the images. In 2009 I was travelling alone through South East Asia and one of the highlights of my trip was a visit to Mount Bromo in Java, Indonesia. It’s an active volcano inside the mysterious Sea of Sand, or Tengger Caldera (a giant ancient volcano that erupted). It feels completely out of this world. 

When you visit Mount Bromo you stay in a nearby village and locals organize Jeep tours from the caldera rim at quite a distance away. What you see is this. Because I was on a major budget I decided to hike up to the crater rim directly, which is what most Indonesians themselves do when they visit. I convinced a dutch couple to join me and we were up at 4am and hiked to the top using headlamps and following a trail. 

These images are from the sunrise where the light, volcanic ash, and atmosphere converged into something truly otherworldly and I felt right at home. Everyone there was ecstatic and it made me glad I wasn’t miles away watching from a Jeep. 

The moral of this story: if a lot of people are shooting the same thing, find a different perspective. turn your lens around. opt out of the tour, make your own.