Kilauea is an active volcano on the Big Island, Hawaii, and the central feature of Volcano National Park. In the previous years there had been lava flows from vents further down the slopes of the edifice, but the crater at the top maintained a relatively stable pool of molten rock and gas emissions, stable enough that roads, trails, and a visitor center were constructed along the rim for visitors to enjoy and learn from.
The visitor center was very popular, especially at night, and on this evening we enjoyed the spectacle of a lake of hot lava, along with many others that overflowed the visitor center parking lot. Park rangers gave presentations as we watched the boiling cauldron emit a plume of gases and steam. As I prepared a camera on a tripod, one of them made a suggestion that I could step beyond the tourist line and find a position along the crater wall that would offer a more photogenic view.
I was very appreciative of this implicit permit, and soon found a position along the trail where I could include the fiery exhalation of the lake of lava, a tree that had survived these conditions for its lifetime, and a view of the sky that included the constellation of Orion.
Volcano National Park, Hawaii
28 December 2014
Canon EOS 60Da 10-22mm (10mm)
30 sec, f/4, ISO 800