Most of us outgrow our fascination with volcanoes after our first baking-soda-and-vinegar science project, but for Patrick Koster, 40, volcanoes are a lifelong obsession.

For the past 10 years, Koster has traveled the world with a camera in the hopes of capturing the planet's most spectacular volcanic eruptions. Equipped with just a gas mask and street clothes, he has camped at the edge of an active crater, braved bandits while trekking up a volcanic mountain in Ethiopia, and even proposed to his wife on a smoking volcano in the Canary Islands.

"I was thinking about an unusual way to propose and I thought, Why not?" Koster said. "She did not care so much about the volcano. She was just really happy I proposed."

The search for a perfect shot has also led to some close calls. "In Tanzania when I started this project I had been taking pictures on a rocky platform looking down at some lava," he said. "I left to go and take some pictures at another spot, and when I returned a few minutes later the shelf had disappeared. It was very lucky."

For all Koster's troubles, he's taken some remarkable photographs that would be right at home in a science textbook, National Geographic or the cover of "Dianetics." Below, take a look at some of Koster's amazing shots.

http://xml.channel.aol.com/xmlpublisher/fetch.v2.xml?option=expand_relative_urls&dataUrlNodes=uiConfig,feedConfig,entry&id=667048&pid=667047&uts=1248204399
http://cdn.channel.aol.com/cs_feed_v1_6/csfeedwrapper.swf
Patrick Koster Volcano Photography
Photographer Patrick Koster has slept at the edge of an active crater, proposed to his wife on the slopes of a simmering cone, and reorganized his honeymoon to make sure he didn't miss an eruption.
BARM / Fame Pictures
Getty Images Europe
Patrick Koster Volcano Photography

Patrick Koster Volcano Photography

    Patrick Koster next to a volcanic crater in Hawaii, November 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    Koster is so crazy about the smoking mountains, he has slept at the edge of an active crater, proposed to his wife on the slopes of a simmering cone, and reorganized his honeymoon to make sure he didn't miss an eruption.

    A lava fountain hits the ocean at the Kilauea volcano, Big Island, Hawaii, November 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    Crater-crazed Patrick has even dodged machine-gun toting bandits in his quest to take beautiful pictures. Amazing picture of flowing lava taken in Hawaii in November 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    But years of scrambling around at the dangerous hot spots have paid off -- as shown by his awe-inspiring photographs that capture these violent and dangerous phenomena in all their glory. Lava pours into the sea, causing steam clouds in Hawaii, November 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    "If you go to a holiday destination where there is one, everybody takes photographs of it and there's a good reason for that," Koster says. Dried, cooled lava flow in Hawaii, November 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    Dried, cooled lava flow in Hawaii, November 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    Wearing only a gas mask and normal clothes for protection, the 40-year-old engineer from Spijkenisse, Holland, has been traveling around the globe for 10 years in search of the most most famous sites.

    Bubbling lava at the surface of a lava lake on the Erta Ale volcano, Ethiopia, February 2008.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    His decade-long obsession started when he visited Lanzarote in the volcanic Canary Islands. Since then he has gotten closer and closer to the lava-spewing landscapes he loves.

    Lava illuminating the side of a crater in Ethiopia.

    BARM / Fame Pictures

    Lava illuminating the side of a crater in Ethiopia.

    BARM / Fame Pictures



From the Web:
The 5 Lamest Disasters In Disaster Movie History (Cracked)