INHALING TOXIC GASES TO CAPTURE THE BLUE FIRE | GRACE FILLED TRAVEL JUNKIE

INHALING TOXIC GASES TO CAPTURE THE BLUE FIRE

I've been through a few dangerous travel experiences. I might be quite the risk taker or I'm just plain dumb, but I can't help it. Every time I see something worth seeing or trying, I have the tendency to approach closer. That was why I went so close to Ijen Crater's Blue Fire during my trip to Banyuwangi. Until this happened...
A miner trying his best to evade the toxic gas.
I ate grasshoppers in Thailand, took on the reverse bungee in Bali, hiked solo to the summit of Rinjani and slept in strangers' houses in many countries, but this one was scarier than I thought it would be.

Since the crater was filled with toxic fumes, it is a must for tourists to be wearing gas mask. The gas source might be far down below, however if the wind blows strong, the gas might travel up high covering the sun from shining. 

As cautious as I could be, I couldn't stop wondering about the health of the miners who were working there. Is it really that worth it? Apparently not. Paid only Rp 50k for a wheelbarrow of sulphur, these miners are risking life for only a day's portion of food. No wonder some of them decided to quit their jobs and become guides or transporters (you will find out what this is down below). 

Other than thinking about the welfare and health conditions of these miners, I was in awe of the never ending blue fire that keeps on blazing throughout the day. Taking photos of the fire was quite a challenge, but my headlamp was very useful when it comes to taking photos of close distance object in the dark.
The blue fire.
Grace under the light of my headlamp. Using external light sources, other than the flash, helps you capture the object with a softer tone of colour.
This photo was taken using slow shutter speed. As you can see, the fire blazed according to the wind's direction. Bringing a tripod to use slow shutter speed will not bring much benefits.
That night, I spent quite some time tweaking my camera to get the best settings for the best photos. Usually at night, a tripod and a slow shutter speed setting will be enough, but since the object kept on moving, I had to crank up my ISO and suffer a lot of noise on my photos. The choices were that or having no photos at all.

As the sun rose, a beautiful acid lake on the side of the crater appeared and I found myself walking hastily to get a better view. Since the object was still, I placed my camera on a few stones that I set up as my DIY tripod. The same technique was applied at the summit of Rinjani. I can't lie, at these moments, I kinda feel like McGyver. 
My DIY tripod worked just fine.
Christine had to stand still for 20 seconds to get this shot.
As the sun rose higher, taking photos was no longer a problem, but leaving the crater was. The lake was blue and the skies were silent. It was so peaceful and I wanted to stay longer. I could honestly sit down for another hour just to stare at the lake. As acidic as it is, the lake still offered such a soothing sight.
Hate to leave the place.
@Christinelaksana was as happy as she could be.
As there was only one trail in and out, the miners would often pass us by carrying these sulphurs with such speed. Such huge effort must be exerted to receive such a small reward.
The lake from above.

Nothing beats the tired but satisfied feeling after you've conquered another challenge.

Pretty skies above us.
Lina, back at it again.

I don't know what mountain this is, but it was such a pretty sight.

Definitely not a candid.
The hike was an easy one. It took our group 3 hours that is filled with a lot of rests along the way. Walking in the dark was hard, but as the sun rose, walking back home was a lot easier. The view was majestic and we were taking our time to enjoy every minute of the walk. That feeling lasted until I met these transporters who would take us down to the basecamp for only Rp 50 - 150k, depending on the distance.

In my defence, I wasn't tired. I was just curious. That was why I took the easy way down to the basecamp after walking down for quite some time. No regrets, I was enjoying the ride so much!
Taking the easy way down.
This post sums all my trips to Banyuwangi! 3 days in Banyuwangi was more than enough to cover Menjangan, Baluran and Ijen Crater. Read all about it in my blog and quickly book your custom tour with Lintang Indonesia!

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