‘Some say the world will end in fire/Some say in ice,’ wrote Robert Frost. In Francisco Negroni’s photograph Apocalypse, fire wins. Negroni took this photo in the Puyehue National Park, Chile. He was after a light show as the Puyehue–Cordón Caulle volcano began to erupt. Lightning was unexpected for Negroni, but a ‘dirty thunderstorm’ caused by static electrical charges is a common event during an eruption. The charge is probably generated as rock fragments, ash and vapour combine.
Eruptions at the volcano over 2011–2012 created an ash cloud 12,000 metres high, closing airports in Argentina and – once the ash crossed the Pacific – Melbourne. Over 100 million tonnes of ash was produced during the eruption. Authorities evacuated 4,200 people from the area around the volcano, which continued to spew ash for over a year. Local deer have suffered from dental abnormalities due to fluoride poisoning from the ash.
Francisco Negroni won the Earth’s Environment category in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He used a Nikon D300 with a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens; 1/1541 sec at f 2.8; ISO 200 and a tripod with remote control to take Apocalypse.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum runs until 30 August (10.00-17.50). Adults £12.50, concessions £6.30.