ARTS & CULTURE

Lightning Photos: Volcanic Eruption Captured By Martin Rietze Shows Sakurajima Volcano Spewing Lava

03/13/2013 02:14 pm ET | Updated Mar 15, 2013

Martin Rietze, the photographer behind the website Alien Landscapes on Planet Earth, is willing to do whatever it takes to get a great photo -- even if that means inching towards a volcanic explosion while scalding lava spews into the air and lightning strikes from dark clouds above.

Rietze is a "volcano-chaser," according to the Daily Mail, a particular breed of photographer who takes big risks for big shots. He was able to capture destructive and beautiful forces of nature at work on a trip to Japan in February. His photos show the Sakurajima Volcano, an active volcanic who's record-breaking 1914 eruption sent lava flows across the island.

volcanic lightning

After hours of silence, a lightning storm exploded above the volcano, Rietze notes on his website. During the 20-second storm, where bolts of lightning froze molten lava into dangerous lava bombs, Rietze snapped these fire and brimstone images and made a quick get-away.

"If fitted with a proper gas mask, helmet and protective clothing, you can stand a few dozen feet away from boiling lava lakes. It is an experience you will never forget," Rietze told the Daily Mail in an interview.

The risk paid off. On Monday one of Rietze's photos was picked as NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day.

[H/t: Colossal]

Scroll through the slideshows to witness this incredible volcanic eruption from a safe distance.

Volcanic Lightning Photographs By Martin Rietze
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