I was in Colima for the second time at the beginning of January 2017. The first time had been at the end of the rainy season last year and unfortunately, I had not seen Colima Volcano and the massive eruption that had occurred back then.
Arriving at the hotel, I had a little chat with the owner. I told her about my project and my wish to take photographs of Volcán de Colima. She said that she knew a photographer that just had won a prize for National Geographic, or something similar, and gave me his number. I immediately thought that this could be the guy I recently had seen a great photograph of: a nightly eruption of the Colima Volcano. So I texted him, to see if he had time and we could meet up. Luckily, he had and we arranged a meeting for the weekend.
I met Sergio Tapiro Velasco on Saturday, 8th January. I had told him about my project and that I am interested in seeing how people live with volcanoes. Therefore, we drove up Colima Volcano to visit his friends in the farms and villages on the lower slopes. As it turned out, Sergio didn’t win a prize by National Geographic, he did win something much greater, the World Press Photo award.
It was a great day. We visited his favorite spots and spoke about volcanoes and his experiences winning the World Press Photo award. For me, it was very interesting to see how he worked and how he related to the volcano. All day Sergio said that he could feel something was about to happen and so he constantly monitored the volcano. As the day came to an end, we went to eat lunch at his restaurant, the “Mirador del Volcán“ at the „Laguna de Carrizalillo“. As we were eating it happened. At 16.28 pm we heard a loud explosion and a big column of smoke and ash rose into the sky. Sergio told me that this was the biggest eruption since 2005. Unfortunately, clouds covered the volcano and so we only saw the smoke column. Anyhow, it was a great day and a fantastic experience.
What you see in the photo is Sergio making a live broadcast of the eruption on the terrace of his restaurant. If you’re interested in his work and some great eruption shots of Volcán de Colima, please visit his page at: http://tapiro.photoshelter.com