How Two Photographers Shot the Hottest Kiss Ever in Front of a Volcano

A few years ago, photographer couple Dallas Nagata White and Ed White set out on an eight-hour return hike to the Kilauea lava flow in Hawaii to capture some shots of the night sky against the hot lava. When they got there, to their dismay, it started to rain. But, instead of packing it in and heading back, the Whites and their friends decided to take some back-lit photos of themselves in front of the burning lava, under the rain. Then Mr. White did something spontaneous:

Dallas Nagata White had a different idea in mind that night—she was hoping to capture the Milky Way above the fiery lava. What she ended up with was this incredibly romantic, fairytale-like image that has not only gone viral, been picked up by major publications, and became the focus of this Seeker Stories doc, but will live on in the couple’s memory as one of the greatest moments of their lives.

“My husband and I, along with a tour guide and a group of friends, hiked up to what was formerly the Royal Gardens subdivision above Kalapana, Hawaii, where the last standing house was just recently taken over by the active lava flow. While waiting for the rain to pass, we started taking back-lit portraits of each other in front of the lava flow after I set up my camera on the tripod. For the last photo, my husband spontaneously dipped me in a kiss. It was a truly once-in-a-lifetime moment!”

lava kiss photographers

Setting up her 5D Mark II on a tripod, Nagata White framed the shot and pre-focused the lens, then had one of her friends press the shutter which triggered the wireless speedlite that another friend was holding behind the couple.

The photo is pretty much straight out of the camera. There is no Photoshop compositing involved, Nagata White merely adjusted some curves and sharpened the original RAW files by bringing out more color and detail in the shadows and warming the highlights a little.

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