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The Black Giant

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The Black Giant
Tungurahua's deadly eruption.

I decided to head for Ecuador, driven by my love of mountains and an insatiable urge to travel. I got more than I bargained for when I arrived, because I discovered that the Tungurahua volcano, located around 80 miles south of the country’s capital Quito, was about to erupt and was spewing dense smoke and lava. I approached it from the west, which was said to be the good weather side, since the clouds generally roll in from the east/amazonas. The road I was on ended at Puela, a little town at the western slopes of the volcano. Night fell and the clouds dissipated and I found myself staying up all night to observe and to take pictures. I’m quite a fan of astronomy and so I realised that the star cluster M45 (pleiades) was about to appear in the night sky on this moonless night, and that it would emerge more or less behind the crater. That’s exactly what happened,I took my picture using a Canon D20 and 70-200mm combination, with an exposure time of around 20 seconds. It was a difficult shot to take, thanks to the humidity and the fact that ash was falling fairly liberally around me: my camera is now worth half its price! The next morning I started my walk along the flanks of the volcano to reach Banos: there had been a road, but much of it had been destroyed by lava flows. The villages I passed were semi-deserted and the vegetation was covered with ash: all the time what really scared me about the volcano was that it was so quiet....no explosions, and my fear was that something was building up. Time, I told myself, to get out of here! The following night the villages of Bilbao and Penipe suffered heavy damage and those of Chilibu, Chogloctuz and Palitagua got wiped out.


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Viewing: 1-19 of 19    

Dave KThat is awesome

Voted 10/10

Seeing a volcano erupt like that is a thrilling experience. I had the pleasure of watching Mt. Yasur erupt up close last summer.

Great shot--love the clouds!
Posted Sep 6, 2007 4:40 pm

Dmitry PrussCould you make a TR

Dmitry Pruss

Voted 10/10

with a few more shots? And also, there is an album of low-light photography, by rayray. I have a feeling that your shot might become one of the top images there if you attach it.
Posted Sep 6, 2007 4:44 pm

Ski Mountaineerthis is an awesome shot,

Ski Mountaineer

Voted 10/10

very dynamice, I like that. Plus it has a lot of information on it, a perfect contribution. I hope it gets more attention (would make a great POD).
Posted Sep 6, 2007 4:47 pm

ScottAttach to mountain page


Hasn't voted

You should attach this photo to the Tungurahua mountain page.
Posted Sep 6, 2007 4:49 pm

patricktaschlerRe: As said


Hasn't voted

done.. sorry I'm new here :)
Posted Sep 6, 2007 6:13 pm



Hasn't voted

this is epic
Posted Sep 7, 2007 12:49 am



Voted 10/10

This a really great photo with a good story and fine informations. Congratulations!!
Posted Sep 7, 2007 1:15 am

AndinoBravo !


Voted 10/10

We saw this volcano back in early June, it was only smoking. We were hoping for more action... you had action, good for you !!
Splendid shot (^_^)
Posted Sep 7, 2007 2:36 am

butitsadryheatIncredible Shot and Great Story...


Voted 10/10

I can't believe you got the star cluster to show. Pretty cool, and what great luck to have that cool eruption to make a great composition. POTD? Hell, I say POTW!!!
Posted Sep 7, 2007 6:13 am

Mark DoironReally Nice!

Mark Doiron

Voted 10/10

Thanks for sharing a really nice image, Patrick, and for writing an intriguing caption. I too am an astronomer and have gotten a couple nice shots featuring the night sky (like this one). It's one of my favorite things about going to wilderness places! --mark d.
Posted Sep 7, 2007 7:22 am

cugelFantastic shot!


Hasn't voted

Superb photo of one of my favoirite volcanoes. I was fortunate to climb it 1994 and in 1999 several months before it sprang back to life. Well done and thanks for posting! cugel
Posted Sep 7, 2007 7:43 am

Ejnar FjerdingstadOminous photo,

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Voted 10/10

looks like Mount Doom!
Posted Sep 7, 2007 10:00 am

HalikuWhat date?


Voted 10/10

Excellent pic! What day did you take it? I never got to see the volcano when I was there in July. Cheers!
Posted Sep 7, 2007 1:27 pm



Voted 10/10

What a great shot and perfect timing. This is really spectacular! Thanks for sharing and providing the beta.
Posted Sep 7, 2007 1:28 pm



Voted 10/10

Thanks for explanation - it looked too good to be true - great photo!
Posted Sep 7, 2007 6:42 pm



Voted 10/10

I didn't notice the star cluster until reading the caption... just when I thought the photo could not get any better! it did!
Posted Sep 7, 2007 8:06 pm



Voted 10/10

this eruption of volcano!
Posted Oct 21, 2007 5:16 pm



Voted 10/10

Great shot with an even better description. There isn't much better than staring at molten rock. It's one of the most visceral things I have ever experienced. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Posted Oct 25, 2009 1:09 am

JoelSkokWhat a clipper!


Voted 10/10

Can't imagine a more potent explosion or a more dramatic picutre. ...Huge blocks hurling through the sky like mere Lincoln Logs, noxious gas wafting about driven by superheated cyclonic winds---what a foto, what a journeyman, Love it 10/10
Posted Aug 24, 2012 8:53 pm

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Image Data
patricktaschlerSubmitted by patricktaschler
on Sep 6, 2007 4:16 pm

Image ID: 333708
Hits: 36541 
Lat/Lon: 1.46806°S / 78.44839°W
Object Title: The Black Giant

Image Type(s): Scenery