It is hypnotic witnessing an active volcano. A volcano that yawned and rumbled the day before we explored this ground. A volcano that can change our world with powers beyond imagination. For some reason we have created a society where we have abandoned all survival skills of our past and rely on infrastructure, fuel, electricity, factories and supermarkets for our survival. Volcanoes inspire awe and reminds of the incredible powers and resources of our Earth. Powers and resources we should perhaps consider to protect and respect instead of only non-sustainably using thereby distancing ourselves further from nature. Certainly this conflict is an interesting photographic story to explore.
If memory serves me right, the VVAP team of True North Mark, Greg Munyard and I landed on the Volcano of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea right where an old airstrip used to be. Perhaps this old bulldozer used to be put to work on the airstrip before it was very much put to sleep by the volcano. The yellow sulphurous water smells acidic in this science fiction setting, home to our old fellow sitting on his canoe staring at the spellbinding volcano that has already changed this world several times over.
If I had a dollar for every time my mate Christian Fletcher said the words ‘Altered Landscapes’ on board True North I would have, well, quite a few dollars. I must agree with him though that altered landscapes are very interesting as they can bring conflict and drama to what can otherwise be a nice and perfectly untouched but also on occasion perfectly boring landscape. Especially when you have been capturing them for years, I am pursuing new paths and challenges. Altered landscapes, portraits and travel photography being that path.
This image was captured just as we had to leave this otherworldly heaven of altered landscape photography. Being slightly rushed, I dropped the tripod and switched to handheld shooting with the 17-40 f/4 L lens on a Canon 5D Mk II. Handheld shooting sacrifices ultimate sharpness but is a lot more fun and I quickly explored 5-7 different compositions. This is the best of them, I feel the composition is a little heavy towards the left as our greatly photogenic volcano resident, the old fellow, is a bit far away to completely balance the composition. Nevertheless, I feel he completes the image. What do you feel about this altered world?