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in april 2010, james appleton spent four days in the fimmvörðuháls mountain pass battling whiteout conditions that would have prevented rescue, freezing temperatures, cave ins from melting snow and lava bombs thrown from fissures in the eyjafjallajökull volcano to get within 100 feet of the eruption to capture both it and the aurora borealis.

"i had little more than three hours of sleep every night because i was just so determined to capture as much as i could. i have never been physically trapped by weather conditions before but it was completely worth it for the dramatic results," he said.

"if someone had said to me, ‘do you want to go and spend four days alone in a hut where you might get melted by lava flow or stuck in an eternal blizzard?’ i’d say no. but, if someone says you might get the best photograph of your life, i’m there in a shot."

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