Get 6 Months of ShootQ Free With Any Workshop Purchase!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds

‘Lava Surf Photography’ is Both Extremely Dangerous and Extraordinarily Beautiful

By Hanssie on May 4th 2014

I just came back from Santorini, where I photographed on an active (non erupting) volcano. It was beautiful, but safe though unpleasantly warm. What photographer CJ Kale does, though, is on a whole other level (maybe 25 levels). Daredevil photographers CJ Kale and Nick Selway hold the distinction of being one of the first photographers to enter the surf to photograph lava entering the ocean through the curl of a wave.


CJ and his best friend, Nick Selway have the largest collection of fine art photographs of the Kilauea Volcano in their Lava Light Gallery in Hawaii. The two risk their lives to create these unique and remarkable photographs. By entering the surf, mere feet from the entry point of the lava, the scalding water and lava bombs come within inches of the two as they capture the images you are about to see below.

In an email to Sploid, CJ says, “There is no other place in the world that you can photography within feet of where you stood the day before and capture such dramatically different images, each volcano photo I capture is truly a unique moment in time never to be captured the same again.

These two extreme photographers warn that this is extremely dangerous and SHOULD NOT be attempted. They are professionals that have been doing this type of stuff for 15 years. Just watch the video they made a few years back. It not only looks dangerous but extremely unpleasant as well. The images though are breathtakingly gorgeous and remarkable.


Volcano images Kilauea Hawaii lava-light-cjkale-1 lava-light-cjkale-4 Volcano images Kilauea Hawaii Volcano images Kilauea Hawaii Volcano images Kilauea Hawaii Lava surf Volcano images Kilauea Hawaii

The two have won numerous awards for their photography, been featured in many respected publications and CJ even had his work featured in the Smithsonian. Visit their FACEBOOK and WEBSITE to see more of their work, not just the scary lava kind. Both are accomplished nature and landscape photographers as well.

CREDITS: All photographs shared by CJ Kale and Lava Light Galleries are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Barry Cunningham

    Not on my bucket list.
    I’d be afraid of getting all that sea water on my marshmallows. ;3^)

    | |
  2. Rob Harris

    And wedding photographers think their days are stressful… :)

    | |
  3. Graham Curran

    Really amazing pictures.

    | |
  4. Jacob Jexmark

    Great shots!

    | |
  5. Rick

    What? No macro shots? Just kidding :) These are really done well. Thanks for sharing!

    | |
  6. Chris Nachtwey

    These are awesome!

    | |