28/03/2012 13:17 BST | Updated 28/03/2012 13:18 BST

Volcano-Obsessed Photographer Miles Morgan's Amazing Pictures Of Lava (PICTURES)

This is the moment a volcano-chasing photographer got as close as possible to a volcano with NO protective gear.

At times just a foot away from molten lava that had been in the bowels of a volcano only seconds before, this lava-lover endured melted shoes and tripod to take these extraordinary pictures.

Amazingly, photographer Miles Morgan, 41, from Hawaii took his incredible shot using a self-timer on his camera, before he walked as close as he could to the burning heat of Kilaeua volcano on Big Island, Hawaii.

“In a word, it was unbelievably hot,” explained Miles.

“I had just arrived at the volcano, and the first hint of dawn light was creeping over the horizon.

“I shot several frames of the glow of the lava pouring out of its underground passageway of tubes.

“I decided that it would be a good opportunity to stand in the shot to remind myself how special that particular moment was.

“I set the camera self-timer and walked to the lip of the lava shelf, feeling the searing heat blister my face.

“The toxic gasses were choking and blinding, and the heat literally melts the rubber down on the soles of your shoes and burns the feet off your tripod.

“It's frightening, but completely exhilarating - I'm not sure I've ever felt more alive.”

The 4,100-feet-high Kilaeua volcano is one of Hawaii’s youngest and most active volcanos, having been erupting continuously since the 1960’s.

The lava flows of this volcano travel the six mile distance to reach the Pacific Ocean in four hours, with Miles’ additional shots showing the spectacular moment the elemental forces of fire meets water. New land is created in this process.

So far 40 square miles has been covered in lava since 1983, and 200 homes have been destroyed.

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Miles explained how he was able to face the huge risk of working so close to this lava-spewing giant.

“When you are within about 200 yards of the ocean’s edge, the danger is very acute and very real,” he said.

“The earth you are standing on is nothing but cooled lava, massively unstable, with eroding beach underneath.

“Chunks can and do fall into the ocean, and are sometimes measured in acres, not yards.

“You are walking across recently cooled tubes of lava whose crust is of questionable thickness, called ‘the bench’.

“If you happen to be on "the bench" when it collapses, there is no chance for survival.

“And the toxic gasses can overwhelm you if the wind suddenly shifts.

“Importantly, one must not get so entranced by the ocean entry that there is a failure to monitor what is going on behind you.

“Many people have died when a breakout occurs un-noticed, cutting off the escape route.”

SOURCE: Barcroft Media