Flying on a lava charter with 2 travel photographers

We had the pleasure of flying travel photographers, Taylor Jackson and Steve Zdawczynski,  on one of our lava charters with pilot, Ryan Moeller, and local lava photographer, Bruce Omori.  What a day it was, as the activity was on the upswing as a result of inflationary tilt resuming at Kilauea’s summit.  Light winds allowed us to fly directly above Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava pond, and witness bubbling and spattering that’s usually obscured by the gas plume when we have our normal trade winds.  Numerous breakouts on the flow field added to the new and exciting experience for both.

Taylor hails from Cambridge, Ontario, and has begun filming a travel show called, “A Photographer in…”  Passionate about capturing moments, he also LOVES tacos.  lol.  And, we think we’ve turned him on to LAVA!  Says Taylor, “After a year of filming a travel and photography show all around the world, this was the best experience I had. Paradise was amazing to work with, Ryan our pilot was safe and got us to where we needed to go, and Bruce was able to give us some great shooting tips before we took off. Would highly recommend this experience over anything else!”

Steve lives in Boulder, Colorado…  when he isn’t traveling, as he’s been on the road for the past 2 1/2 years, visiting some 35 countries!  A wedding and travel photographer, his website:, takes you on the road with him.  As for the experience of our charter, he says, “I’ve photographed in 35 countries in the past 2 years and this was my favourite photography experience!  The time over the lava is so incredible but fleeting, so you can’t help but feel the need to savor every moment!”

Both vow to return soon!  Here are photos from their flight…

Taylor surveys the area as we approach the flow field.
Steve captures imagery of multiple fingers breaking out simultaneously.
A tube ruptures from both sides, as multiple fingers of pahoehoe breakout.
The flow along the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve continues to advance, burning ohia trees that stand in its path.
Light winds allowed us to fly over Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava pond.
Ropey pahoehoe pours from beneath the hardened crust.
Two fresh toes of lava ooze forth.
Pressure building from within, ruptures the hardened crust of a flow.
Leaving the flow field was difficult after witnessing incredible activity!
Ryan, Steve and Taylor have their photo taken with Lava Ducky and Leilani the Hula Girl.


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