The GoPro has been on many an adventure since its inception. Most popular of late is high up in the air, paired with a Phantom DJI, giving us a bird’s eye view of the world. This coupling has led us through fireworks shows, nose-to-nose at a rocket launch, through Alaskan caves and so much more. But never before has it been quite this close in the fiery pits of hell, aka an erupting volcano. This drone got so close to the Bardabunga Volcano in Iceland that the face of the GoPro actually melted.
Using the proper permits and permission from local authorities, DJI’s director of aerial imaging, Eric Cheng and photographer, Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, were able to gain access close enough to the erupting volcano capture some footage. After a last minute flight and a grueling 15 hour car ride through rough terrain, they were able to get about a little over a mile away from the volcanic site. Still a bit too far to not trigger the quadcopter’s failsafe, Cheng got permission to get a bit closer. Cheng tells Wired,
One of the policemen came over to us and said, ‘We checked the rules, and vehicles can’t drive closer. However, you could theoretically walk closer. I have to inform you that we officially do not recommend this, because it’s dangerous.
I’m not sure there are many photographers out there that would pass up a chance like that, so donning the appropriate safety gear – gas masks and heavy boots – they set out and captured the following footage:
During the last flight, the feed went out and Cheng triggered the Phantom’s failsafe, which called the drone back to him. The front of the GoPro had melted, causing the camera to malfunction, but the footage was safety ensconced in the micro SD card. Below is the behind the scenes video with Eric describing the entire trip:
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that Eric Cheng has the coolest job in the world.