An image circulating this week shows a photographer whose shoes and tripod are on fire as he takes a photo on an active volcano. Is the image real or fake?
The image is real, but was staged.
Although we were convinced that such an image was likely a product of Photoshop, one of our readers helped us discover the true identity of the photographer and the story behind this photo.
The photographer is Kawika Singson of Hawaii. Singson didn’t spontaneously ignite while shooting lava, but conjured up the idea to pose for this photo. As he explains,
Always trying to be creative,I thought it would be pretty cool(hot!)to take a lava pic with my shoes and tripod on fire while photographing lava so that’s what I did that’s real lava real flames and it was really hot! I could stand the heat only for a few seconds.
Ironically, the photo made it to the “What’s Hot” section on Google Plus.
After this article was posted, the photographer and the photo were featured in First To Know. You can read the story, and see an additional photo from this occasion here. In the interview, Singson states that purpose of the photo wasn’t to mislead, but to have a cool Facebook cover photo, and that he was holding his breath while the photo was taken.
Article updated July 17, 2013