The video was taken by filmmaker Joey Helms on May 24 at around 11:00 p.m. local time in Fagradalsfjall, an active volcano located about 25 miles away from the capital of Reykjavík. Equipped with a DJI FPV (first-person view) drone, Helms set off to capture the stunning geyser-like eruptions from Geldingadalir, the first active volcano in the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark area for 800 years. The volcano has quickly become a popular tourist destination since its initial eruption in March.
“Iceland is my favorite place on earth,” Helms, who is based out of Chicago, told HYPEBEAST. “As soon as I got vaccinated I knew this was going to be my first destination.”
Helms said he initially booked a trip for July but had decided to push his trip forward once the volcano began emitting fresh lava, out of concern that the area might soon become heavily trafficked.
“I flew there for a long weekend just to witness my first volcanic eruption and, as a filmmaker and video creator, capture the beautiful spectacle nature put on,” he added. “Drones provide an unusual angle and let you shoot from places you cannot get to — like a hot lava river.”
In an effort to get a unique vantage point, Helms flew the drone over the flowing lava, getting as close as possible to the crater while he stood at a safe distance away. The beginning of the video shows the drone twisting and gliding across the red-hot rocks as glowing hot lava spills out. Then, as the drone approaches the scorching-hot crater, the device gave out, providing stunning footage in the moments before it was devoured by molten lava.
“It was my first time seeing a volcano exploding,” Helms said, adding that the experience of using the FPV drone, which allows the drone operator to see immersive live footage through a set of goggles, was even more mesmerizing.
Helms said FPV drones can be notoriously tricky to fly because they do not come equipped with GPS support, leading to his device’s untimely demise.
“I’m new to FPV drones, and in my defense, people crash and lose them all the time,” he said. “Around the volcano, where you have the hot gasses emitted that cause turbulence and hot rocks raining down onto you, flying these things is even more tricky.”
“I tried to push it as much I could to get spectacular footage, but I reckon I pushed it a little too far,” he concluded. “The silver lining is that we got some really amazing looking footage.”