The altered world of Caldera in Rabaul

“What a strange desolate place this is” I keep saying to myself and perhaps out load as well, mimicking C3PO in Star Wars. I am walking on the dark grey ashes of the volcano Caldera in a very surreal altered landscape. A landscape dramatically altered in 1994 when the volcano erupted and drowned the township in lava. A landscape where ruins and remnants of the township provide an eerie reminder of what once was. I feel like I am in some 1970s apocalyptic science fiction movie. I was very busy capturing images, if not I would just stand there, spellbound and planted by this otherworldly alien world of Caldera. Life is slowly returning, palm trees has sprung back to life and the occasional green plant can be found, starkly contrasted by the dark soil.

I have several hero images from the volcano, but I shall save them for my gallery and later posts and just post one today. This old fella, incredibly fit mind you, lives in this science fiction world in a small hut. I captured him from many angles, this one I feel nicely captures him in his surreal environment. It is processed in the new faded creamy saturated 50s look I am attempting to develop:


Our trip to Caldera, the volcano of Rabaul, is an epic tale and there is an epic blog post with an epic video coming up someday soon. After our morning helicopter flight over the volcano we were all thinking: “oh if we could only be on the ground”. We need only return to True North and Mark’s already making the dream come true, arranging local guides and a fast boat. Mark Stothard simply makes things happen! A fast and brilliant boat ride takes us one hour across the ocean from True North back to the volcano. Christian could not make it, so only two of the three Musketeers were represented, Mark and I, but we were joined by our good friend Greg Munyard completing the team (hey Team mate Greg!). I have some epic video of the boat ride to the island, and the boat ride back to True North where three very excited photographers have just had one truly surreal and fantastic experience and cannot stop talking. Thanks a million Mark for arranging this! Thanks to the whole Team Volcano Visual Artist Pioneers (VVAP, must work on that name). More to come.

12 Comments on “The altered world of Caldera in Rabaul”

  1. Great post there Bomontaruny!

    That was a real adventure eh and it was like 3 kids in a lolly shop know we had only 2 hours to take in as much as we could! Next time I fully intend to spend a full day there and a sunset!

    Signing off VVAP #1!!!

    1. Thank you Mark of the VVAP team. It was a splendid adventure, one hour thrilling boat ride, two hours of ecstatic excitement capturing images, one hour thrilling boat ride back to True North. We could spend a week here around Rabaul exploring the area. Btw mate, look at this image: – actually this:… and this:

  2. The shot looks a little 'warm' on my screen. Maybe move the slider a bit to the blue side. Nice photo besides that, though, Flemming.

    Greg Munyard was a teacher of mine in high school. I wonder if it's the same guy?

    1. Thanks Beau. The image is warm by design Beau 🙂 Neutral warm balance is boring, this new style of mine has the highlights tinted warm and the shadows cooled to blue. Whether it is too warm, well, that's up to the viewer 🙂

  3. Unreal shot. All that serenity against the threat of invisible chaos beneath. I can imagine a film from just this single frame. It's a fragile equilibrium.

    Ho ho ho, ha ha ha (for good measure)

    1. Hi C, yeah we only had two hours, had we had more time I would have captured some video as well as this was such an unreal setting. Glad you like my image. And I never quite got why Jabba the Hutt has to laugh like Santa Claws 🙂 Then again, there's a lot of stuff in ROTJ that begs explanation, George had already lost his drive at that point.

  4. great shot Flemming!.

    The composition is spot on, really leads me around the image, from the guy in the foreground and then right around to the left and back to the volcano! The goods!

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