File photo of the Northern Lights as seen above the ash plume of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in...
The Northern Lights are seen above the ash plume of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in the evening in this April 22, 2010 file photo.
Lucas Jackson: The ash cloud brought the greatest disruption to European air travel since World War Two, and the only way to get to Iceland was to fly from North America. I travelled overnight, arriving at Keflavik airport at 6:30 a.m. on April 17.
In a rented car I drove east towards the ash plume on the horizon. The scale of the assignment had begun to sink in, and I realized it would require careful thinking, rather than instant reaction.
For images of the eruption itself I was dependent on the weather.
The plume would be invisible if it was overcast, and if the wind died the ash would turn to a haze. For a photograph of lightning flashing inside the ash cloud I had to wait for several hours on a washed-out road, and physically hold my shutter open for more than two minutes.
To show vehicle-size chunks of lava exploding out of the volcano I had to drive through eight different rivers and up a mountain to angle a 300 mm lens at the crater. On my last evening I was blessed with a show from the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) while lava illuminated the ash plume from below.
I will always remember this assignment fondly. I feel lucky to have been able to document the eruption so others could share in the amazement - watching Mother Nature negate centuries of human technology and progress with one of the most beautiful sights on earth. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files (ICELAND - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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