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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things that go "Boom"

I have been fascinated by volcanoes since I was a small boy living with my family in Japan. From the back yard of our home we could see Mount Fujiyama in the distance. It was then I learned about volcanoes and their propensity to go boom.

Despite the fact I could not have been much older than four or perhaps five, I somehow remember a day trip down the coast to a lighthouse. Recently my older sister sent me some scanned shots from the trip, juicing the images and reminding me of the island sitting offshore. There isn't a picture of it, so I must assume it's a valid recollection.
The Kilauea caldera, Hawaii

The island, roughly conical in a shape similar to a flattened Mount Fuji, rising to a low, pointed summit where smoke was billowing forth. I do recall my father's explanation -- though now I assume it was tailored to a four year old perspective -- and had a brief rush of fear that mountain would explode. The kind of fear that is mixed with a rush of excitement wishing, perhaps deep inside, that it would happen and I would be there to see it.

Mount Etna, Sicily
This fascination has continued through to adulthood. I have been fortunate enough to visit several of the world's volcanoes -- some extinct, some dormant (Mount Saint Helens, Mount Vesuvius and Mount Haleakala) and others very much awake (Kilaeua, Etna and Stromboli).

But all of them fascinate me and excite me. It's the sense that we're very much just passengers on this planet, and -- should she want -- mother nature is very capable of reminding us who is boss.

Mount Etna's smoldering summit

Kilaeua. A large SUV can be seen as a dot on the highway behind
Standing on the lava flow, meters from the edge of the summit.

Utter destruction near St Helens

Mount Saint Helens

Perhaps the most famous volcano in the world, Mount Vesuvius towers over Naples

Vuesivius in the afternoon sun
Vesuvio Dawn

Cindercone in the Mojave Desert, California

The lava fields in the Mojave