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“Waiting to Blow”

Sunrise at Mt Agung, Sidemen, Bali, Indonesia

The Story of "Waiting to Blow"

With news of Mt Agung's impending eruption, the entire island of Bali was in a frenzy.  While most sought safety and held their breath in anticipation of the damage it may cause, we reached out to an evacuated resort in Sidemen, just outside the blast radius, and negotiated an accord.  In exchange for a room at their empty "Mountain View Resort", we promised any photos we acquired if we were able to capture the eruption.

We arrived to the gorgeous but empty resort to a strange vibe.  The property was beautiful and it felt like we should be living the luxury life, but everyone was gone; the staff, the other guests... All the while, we knew that literally ANY second, the volcano could erupt just 12 kms (7.5 miles) away.  There was an eerie juxtaposition of anxiety and peace in the stillness.

The first day we arrived, we set up two tripods where we would photograph the event.  We also had a GoPro and Tough camera ready for video and the drone on stand by.  We'd discussed the procedure of getting all equipment firing and the drone airborne the moment the earth rumbled.  For now though, we hadn't even seen the volcano yet as it was engulfed by clouds.

The first morning, I woke up at sunrise and checked outside... clouds.  Still, I went out to see if I could get lucky and was able to get a 5-minute break with an opening of Mt Agung.  Good thing too, as none of our cameras were pointed in the right direction!  I snapped off a couple photos, adjusted all the equipment, and by the time I returned, Agung was once-more hidden.

In a week, this was the only time we even SAW Mt Agung! It seemed the volcano was forming its own weather around it, so we decided it best to leave.  Even if the thing erupted, all we would get would be clouds... all the risk with no reward.

Mt Agung ended up finally erupting some weeks later, much later than expected, and did not put on the show we would have been hoping for anyway.  Fortunately, I will always have this reminder of the time we chased lava!

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