As we approached the village where I took the photo, we could see the smoke billowing from Mount Agung – the video shows a timelapse of around 3 minutes sped up to 10 seconds which shows the sheer volume of smoke erupting but the reality felt like a moment frozen in time.
I’d gotten up at 3am with Tina (my gf & co-founder @hellotinamay ) and Justyn (@justynjen) to witness this from a secret location. On the way there we had gotten stuck in traffic as a local market was setting up across the road, so we were assembling the drone and connecting the tripod in the car to ensure we were ready to go the moment we got there. I’d seen lots of photos of the eruption before then, but nothing could compare to the magnitude of seeing it in real life, and from this vantage point with the sunrise breaking through the smoke it was breathtakingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
I posted a photo on Instagram and shortly after it went viral – on my own channel it was seen by over 100,000 people. It’s been re-grammed over a 2000 times on Instagram (and those are just the ones we can find!), featured in ‘Art of Visuals’ (an account 1.1m followers) and ‘Earth Fever’ (700k followers) among others (as of Nov 27 1pm).
In Bali the emotions are mixed – despite the dramatic look of the volcano, almost all the tourist areas are a very safe distance away and people shouldn’t be afraid for their safety.
We’re all more concerned for the families who have called this volcano home for generations – who already are displaced in refugee camps and risk losing their crops, their home, and their communities. In cafes and bars there are posters and collection jars, and for the people who have spent the most time in Bali this is where their heart is … caring for the balinese people who have shared their country with the rest of us.
Flights will open back up again soon, tourists and expats will go back to their daily lives (if they ever stop) but the people who live on the Mount Agung will take a long time to build back what they had. If you are reading this and appreciating the photos please consider donating to the Bali Street Kids Project which is helping families displaced by the volcano.
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