Reasons why you should hire Bruce and Tom to take you out to the flow:
1) It's RAGING right now. GREAT lava action. One thing I learned a couple of years ago is that you never know when Pele is going to take a nap and stop the flow from entering the sea. The last one lasted for almost two years.
2) If you think you know how to shoot lava.... you don't. At least you don't if you are a hack like me. The challenges are unique to lava shooting, and not at all obvious is you are used to shooting "regular" landscapes. It would be a pity to spend all the time, money, and effort to get out there to shoot the lava and then completely botch it. Bruce and Tom are out on the flow almost every day, and they know what they are talking about when it comes to making good photographs of the ocean entry. If you doubt what I say, go take a look at their gallery in downtown Hilo. You will be convinced that these are the guys you want giving you advice on how to shoot what is a fickle, difficult, and rather dangerous subject.
3) Speaking of dangers... the hazards on "the bench" are real, and not obvious is you don't know what you are looking for. Over several days of observing the flow, I saw several strong candidates for this years Darwin Awards. People who put themselves in extremely dangerous situations, and didn't have the foggiest idea of the risks. Bruce and Tom have been out on the flow for years, day in and day out. Although it's never going to be perfectly safe, they will make sure that threats are minimized and controlled to the highest extent possible.
4) You become family. It's been a couple of years since I first hired Extreme Exposure to take me out to the flow, and I am proud and privileged to call Bruce and Tom my friends. You can't go 20 feet in Hilo without someone stopping them to say "Howzit". In all my considerable years, I'm not sure that I have met two nicer guys. I look forward to a lifetime of friendship with these gentleman.
5) To access the flow, you need to cross private property. The punishment for getting caught sneaking across the lava field is expensive both in $$ and time served. You can hire other guides to take you out, but most of them are not photographers. If you want to make good images, Extreme Exposure is far and away the best way to give yourself the best chance to come home with some "keepers". Don't take my word for it, but the list of clients who contact Bruce and Tom to guide them to the flow is a "who's who" of photography. It would be tacky to post their names here, but the heavy hitters from professional photographers to equipment reps call Extreme Exposure.
Bruce and Tom will probably be embarrassed by this post, but I don't know if it would be possible to recommend an experience more highly than a photo tour with these guys. Ryan Dyar and I had the experience of a lifetime. My images will never stand up to the work of these pros and I hope I don't let them down by posting a few, but they will serve as wonderful placeholders to the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I love you guys. "Thanks" will never cover it.