Today I wanted to share pics of the birthday gift I made for my friend Kris – For my birthday gift this year, and also to celebrate 20 years of friendship we went to Hawaii, and thanks to her being willing to drive out (at 3 in the morning, in bad weather, on a G2 license ;o)) we got to see Mt Kiluea, in all her glory, before the break of dawn.
I have to tell this story: the boat ride was very very rough. There was a small craft advisory and 20 foot waves and we left the harbour at 3 am. The boat would ride up a crest and, quite literally, freefall into the trough with a sickening thud. It was pitch black and we couldn’t even see to be frightened of the waves. We were on this heart thumping ride, hanging on for dear life for about 45 minutes before I could make out little glowing red rivers in the cliff-face. By this time I was chock full of adrenaline and my legs were shaking uncontrollably from the ride but we were fascinated nonetheless with whatever detail we could make out.
When the boat finally approached it’s destination we saw it. 12 000 metric tons of flowing lava. Over a quarter mile of it, gushing from the cliff face. We both cried, we couldn’t help it. We were looking at the mechanism by which the earth is reforming herself. We were looking at a process against which we were specks of dust lost in immensity. I remember shooting for all I was worth, ripping film, hanging on to the boat with every available limb except my shooting hand, trying to protect the camera from the salt water, feeling the hot steam of the ocean when it hit the lava.
The boat would ride a wave, and I would be able to shoot, then the wave would move on, the boat would crash into the trough, the wave would hit the cliff letting off a huge head of steam and I would have to wait for another wave to lift us to be able to shoot again. Changing lenses on the fly, changing cards, focusing by hand in otherwise complete darkness, on a violently moving surface. The most adverse conditions I have ever shot in, I’m amazed anything at all came out.
What Kris and I experienced together that day was epic. I make this little necklace to commemorate it. I know Kris is not big on ‘bling’ so a delicate little cluster, on black hematite chain, containing real tumbled lava from Kiluea herself, along with Hawaiian sea coral, and Swarovski fire opals was the way to go. I gave it to her for her birthday yesterday and it looks lovely on her =o)