Cake
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    • I was particularly wowed by your work capturing the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii. You spent 3 months capturing these incredibly dramatic images. What was that like? What gear did you use? It looked like you got pretty close to the shifting molten lava as per this amazing video profile  and you were even hit by molten lava!

    • It sounds scarier than it was, being hit by lava. It wasn’t liquid when it hit me, it cooled as it was going through the air, so it was a very hot rock when it hit my shoulder, and it actually melted a portion of my vest, but it didn’t burn me or seep through or anything like that. At first I thought it did, so I panicked for a minute, until I noticed that it didn’t go through my shirt. The reporters around me were checking their hair and clothes after they heard the lava hit me. And I still have the vest with the lava burn in it, it’s my lucky vest now! 

      There were definitely breaks in the 3 month timeframe. I left the island and came back, so it wasn’t a straight 3 months, and some of my reporting was done from afar, but not up close. But I covered the story from beginning to end. We didn’t know when the volcano was dying down. It just stopped one day, and at that point, we were waiting to see if it would start again. It had started and stopped before, but this time it just didn’t start again.

      Being able to livestream from that house was an opportunity nobody else had. We had prime viewing of the eruption for a couple of weeks. We had a house with power and internet, so we were able to livestream, sleep on their couches, and the owners had evacuated, so we had the place to ourselves, and they wanted us to keep an eye on their house to make sure looters didn’t come in, and make them aware if lava was approaching their house at any time! So we were doing 2 things, covering the news and helping the homeowners. Eventually the one road we had access to was cut off by lava, so we couldn’t get back, and eventually the house burned down in a wildfire ignited by the lava. Fortunately nobody was in it when it burned down, but the homeowners lost their house. I did a number of interviews with CNN and the Weather Channel, talking about my experience. I did an interview with ABC in Australia. And you can see those on the Videos section on my website. 

    • You said you were a “stormchaser” in this interview and that you’ve covered “Tornado alley” before. Do you find that you’re balancing out the quest for the perfect shot with why you’re fearless to cover storms or volcanic activity?

    • Yes. I would say that’s become what I’ve been known for, is taking chances and extra risk in order to get the shot that I want. Before the chasing and the eruptions, on a regular basis I was able to fly in a helicopter with the doors open over Manhattan on occasion. You’ll see a photo on my website, I think in my ABOUT section, of me hanging out of a helicopter. I’m willing to do ALMOST whatever it takes for a good shot. I wouldn’t say I’m extreme, but I’m a bit more adventurous than your average photographer. 

    • What would you say are particular characteristics of your work? How do you choose the themes (like New York City or Wildlife) that you follow?

    • That’s a good question! I just get a feeling about something. Usually I scour events, I try to do some research about wildlife, times of year, good times for shooting, and sometimes I Just drive and go somewhere and end up somewhere shooting something. It varies on what drives me to shoot something, but usually if something triggers an emotion in me, I go shoot it. And that’s what the volcano did for me. We were in Yosemite on vacation at the time, my wife and me, when the volcanic eruption started, and I was watching the coverage on social media, and it was killing me that I wasn’t there. So that’s what drove me to go there as soon as we got back from that trip. 

      I’d say emotion and gut feeling carry me to my next shot. I pay attention to the weather very closely, I try to plan ahead and get in advance of the weather to capture what I THINK is gonna happen. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s cool when it does. 

    • Well, we moved to Colorado to explore the West. And one of my biggest locations I really want to do is go to British Columbia, Alberta, Canada. And I kind of want to focus more on wildlife, so that’s where I’m going towards next. And if that volcano ever wakes up and starts erupting again, I’m heading back to Hawaii to start covering it again, even if I’m not with an organization to cover it!