Photographing a volcano with an IR camera

Photographing a volcano with an IR camera

Ijen thumbnail

Jonas Daley is what I call an “atypical nature photographer”. His photos capture mountains and deserts, but they don’t look remotely similar to what pops into your head when you imagine such landscapes. Jonas colors his work differently, making his photos look like they were photographed in an alien world. His work has become a personal favorite of mine for color reference, taking a place in my reference album next to IR photographers. Frankly, the first time I saw Jonas’s work, I thought he was an IR photographer himself, shooting IR in peculiar locations.

Recently, I came across one of his more recent works, from his photography visit to Ijen, a dangerous volcano in Indonesia.

I haven’t seen someone shoot the blue flames of Ijen since Keeow Wee Long visit in 2014, and there is a good reason for that. Photographing volcanos is dangerous by itself, but this volcano is dangerous for more than just its heat.

The Ijen Volcano

With a diameter exceeding 1 kilometer and a depth of approximately 300 meters, the Ijen Volcano crater has formed the Ijen Volcano Lake due to the presence of abundant sulfur salts and volcanic magma activity at the bottom. The lakebed is rich in sulfur deposits.

Every year, local residents and workers climb the volcano and then collect sulfur from the lakebed. This is a strenuous and hazardous occupation, as workers labor in an environment saturated with toxic gases, traversing the steep slopes. The sulfur mined by them is primarily used in the production of fertilizers and industrial products such as chemicals.

DIYP: What was it like shooting in a dangerous volcano?

Jonas: “Shooting at Mount Ijen was truly an unforgettable experience. The environment in the area is extremely harsh, but it also showcases its unique beauty and landscapes. From both a technical and safety perspective, shooting near a volcano requires special preparation and precautions, which made the entire experience even more memorable and exciting.”

DIYP: volcanoes are not a common subject; how did you get to shoot this project?

Jonas: Regarding how I got into such a project, I have always had a strong interest in natural landscapes and photography, and I have gradually developed my skills and style through continuous learning and practice.

DIYP: What are your tips for aspiring nature photographers still searching for their art style?

Jonas: As for advice for aspiring nature photographers, I believe the key is to maintain curiosity and creativity, continuously experiment with new techniques and perspectives, and always stay sensitive to the beauty of nature.

Ijen - red sky over the seaIjen - red sky over the sea

You can see more of Jonas Daley work on his website, Instagram, and Behance account.