As the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex began erupting, Francisco travelled to Puyehue National Park in southern Chile, anticipating a spectacular light show. But what he witnessed was more like an apocalypse. He watched, awestruck, from a hill quite a distance to the west of the volcano. Flashes of lightning lacerated the sky, while the glow from the molten lava lit up the smoke billowing upwards, illuminating the landscape. ‘It was the most incredible thing I’ve seen in my life,’ Francisco says. Volcanic lightning (also known as a dirty thunderstorm) is a rare, short‑lived phenomenon. It is probably caused by static electrical charges resulting from fragments of red‑hot rock, ash and vapour crashing together high in the volcanic plume. The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption spewed 100 million tonnes of ash high into the atmosphere, causing widespread disruption to air travel in the southern hemisphere. Volcanic activity continued at a lesser level for a year, spreading a layer of ash over the region.
Nikon D300 + Sigma 70–200mm f2.8 lens; 1/541 sec at f2.8; ISO 200; tripod; remote control.
Lago Ranco, Puyehue National Park, Chile
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Francisco Negroni, Chile
Born in Chile, Francisco studied photography and went on to work as a freelance photojournalist for various newspapers and international agencies in his home country. Four years ago, he began to work in landscape and nature photography. He leads photographic safaris to some of Chile’s most active volcanoes and this year held his first exhibition on the Cordón Caulle eruption.