On March 20th a volcano in Iceland began erupting over the course of several weeks, eventually sending a twenty thousand feet high cloud of ash up last week. That ash was the cause of most airports in Europe being shut down and the entire event has been recognised by some as a sign of the End Days. For John Beatty, a 58 year old freelance photographer who was in Iceland taking photos for a clothing company's ad campaign at the foot of Eyjafjallajoekull, it was the chance to take the photos that would define his career. This is his story:
"I saw the earth explode. Being that close was frightening but an incredible experience. I specialise in photographing wild, natural places, but an active volcano is one of the rarest and finest sights in the natural world. There were scarlet, yellow and pink pools with pulsating lava being hurled five hundred feet into the air, and the volcano was showering rock across the surrounding ash and ice.
"When I was close to the lava I got a sharp, foul taste at the back of my mouth, which told me the air was poisonous. We stayed close for only ten minutes at a time. Any longer and we would have collapsed from lack of oxygen. I very much regret not being able to see the secondary explosion although, of course I was relieved to have been able to get home."