The spectacle of Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano challenges photographers of the rare display to avoid being hypnotised by it and instead look at the whole picture, including the human toll from the burning lava, hot ash and poisonous gases.
I drove toward Halemaumau and joined people along the sides of Highway 11 and then at a golf course in a community named Volcano. The crater vented a constant screen of smoke and ash.
I was on the golf course when, just before sunset, a huge ash column shot high into the sky. Surprisingly, I found the event peaceful. I could not hear an explosion. The ground did not shake. Birds were singing.
The tourists, residents, and journalists around me seemed awestruck.
Constantin Plinke, a visiting German exchange student, told me, “We had a big list of things to do and maybe 80 percent of them were in the national park. It’s sad.”
Then, noting the rarity of the event, he added, “You may never see something like this in your life again.”