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New Volcano Photos

Posted on 27th December 2013 at 16:55

It’s more than 30 years since the death of the man that took them, but a research project has turned up some never-before-seen pre-eruption photos of Mt. St. Helens, taken by Vancouver Columbian photographer Reid Blackburn. The Columbian reports that an undeveloped roll of film from Blackburn was discovered after a photo editor working on a geology book had asked for a specific image that they had seen in the paper. A photo assistant started going through some stored boxes, and came upon the old roll of film in other materials from Blackburn. A check of the paper’s records shows that the roll was probably shot some time between April 7th and 10th of 1980, as Blackburn rode over the mountain in a small plane. It’s speculated that he had at least two cameras with him, and probably didn’t like the shots he had taken on that roll. Because of the switch to digital imagery, the Columbian had to track down someone to process the black-and-white film, eventually sending it to shop in Portland, who gets that work done by a free-lancer. The images are said to be “astonishing,” given that they’re now more than 33 years old. Blackburn was one of the 57 people killed on May 18, 1980, when the mountain erupted.