Meet Kawika Singson: part-time photographer, part-time firefighter. Recently, we shared the picture above of Kawika during a photoshoot where his shoes and tripod caught on fire due to the intense heat of the lava around him. Many were quick to call it a forgery or some type of bogus Photoshop, so lets take a closer look!
Singson is actually an extreme hiker, to the say the least, and landscape photographer who resides in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He has photographed countless locations across the Big Island, often times in hard to reach locations the general public would find very difficult to venture. To brave the elements, he “has taken many risks to capture just the right shot to share with the rest of the world,” Singson says. The now famous photograph above was captured on July 4th, 2013. When Petapixel asked him about the location, he would only reveal it was in Hawaii saying, “I don’t like giving out my locations,” he said. “It’s a secret. Plus, I don’t want people to go there and get hurt.” A good Samaritan too.
The photo appears to show Singson braving an unbearably hot fire to shoot a photograph, but really he was simply posing for a one-of-a-kind portrait. “I thought it would be pretty cool to take a lava pic with my shoes and tripod on fire,” he writes.
It may look too crazy to not be Photoshopped, but Singson insists that it’s an authentic photograph: “That’s real lava real flames and it was really hot! I could stand the heat only for a few seconds.”
Need more proof though? This is what Singson’s shoes looked like, or former pair of kicks that is, after the shoot:
According to Singson, this is the first time he had actually caught on fire, although his shoes have started smoking before!
Needless to say, don’t try this at home folks. If you happen to live near a volcano, you’re probably best staying away from it as opposed to trying to walk across a thin layer of rock above molten lava that could fall through at any second, just to take a potentially viral ‘burning man’ selfie. 🙂