Volcanic Eruptions and Chemical Reactions

About a month ago, Bali’s largest volcano publicly burped, and didn’t excuse itself. Causing thousands in Amed, and the surrounding areas of the East coast to have to evacuate. How rude!

On top of that, Mt Sinabung is threatening to spew ash, sulfer, fury, and lots and lots of liquid hot magma on the neighboring island of Sumatra as well. After all the Indonesian island chain is squarely in the Ring of Fire, and just doing what it’s done for thousands of years.

While I’d like to somehow, seamlessly and brilliantly tie volcanoes and chemical reactions together as my title somewhat alludes to. The truth is I just liked the wordplay in the title. Volcano eruptions are at their core a physical build up of pressure and heat. And the chemical reactions I refer to, are between photographic film and developer.

The eruptions jogged my memory to my trip in 2012. I was there for November and December since those are my slow months with Flaunt Your Site. I had a few sites to work on. But my days were mostly spent surfing and doing yoga. December is the rainy month however, and the surf had been dead for a couple weeks. So I enthusiastically jumped at the chance to go on a motor scooter roadtrip with a couple of Germans that lived in the hut next to mine.

Our trip took us up the East coast, through Amed, and the areas impacted by the volcanoes. We even road up to the rim of one, and took our bikes down a road into Ganung Batur!

When I got home, I didn’t develop the film right away. In fact, it sat undeveloped for a year. As you can see, the humidity and time (as well as some unexplained fogging) caused some funkyness to occur to the emulsion, as you can see in the images below.

It was very disappointing to see this. The photos of the villagers bringing a brand new jungkung boat through the jungle to the beach, and the images of the gamelan musicians had so much promise. I was emotionally connected to the subjects too. Being in the countryside, and getting to know these people, if only for a short while was such an enriching experience.

But… this funky chemical chaos does look kinda cool, huh?

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