Ethiopia

Floris: "Our trip to Ethiopia was probably our most adventurous photo expedition yet. I was scared to death when we were hiking high up to a church carved into the rocks. I stood near the crumbling edge of an active lava lake in the middle of the night, we slept under the open sky while armed men guarded our campsite and we shot photos on thermal fields and salt flats in the hottest area of the planet. All that to get the most beautiful places for our photos. Ethiopia is insane. And also, they eat pancakes every day!"

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An extraterrestrial road trip

Floris: “This photo was taken on the thermal fields of ‘Danakil depression’. A walk on Mars would probably be less of an extra-terrestrial experience than this place. What this picture doesn’t show are the bright yellow and bright green salt pillars and geysers shooting up high into the sky. But… our photographer stood with his back to the colour explosion. He thought it was a bit ‘too much’. First I thought that was a pity, buuut as it turns out, our photographer was right as always. In fact, this photo is now our favourite – a nice and clean shot showing the infinite salt flats instead of the yellow and green lemonade fountains.”

According to our guides, we had to ‘hike’ a bit to get to the photo location. To me, this was some hardcore mountain climbing.
Here I point to the mountain peak we ‘hiked’ to. This is where we ultimately took the picture you can now see at the top of this page.
Inflation isn’t so bad in Ethiopia. Let me just pay for my night at the hotel...
These camels walked behind us in the dark for three hours up to the volcano. At night, we slept right next to the crater. ‘If you have to go to the toilet, go behind the camels.’ OK!
Showtime!
The Ethiopian lowlands. Not a place you want to be… This is our transit camp on our way up the Erta Ale volcano.
In all these years of photo trips, we never went such distances on foot. But… it always paid off.
An insane experience (and of course crazy pictures), in the middle of the night, right next to the edge of the active volcano Erta Ale and its lava lake.
The Ethiopian highlands are green with a pleasant climate. I didn’t know that before. Now I do.
Very important: the local kitchen! In Ethiopia, everything comes with pancakes. Only instead of syrup, they’re served with all kinds of hearty stews.
For the last couple of days, we had armed security guarding us. The Afar region is beautiful, but also close to the unstable border to Eritrea.
This rock is still giving me nightmares. Walking on an 80 cm edge with bare rock on one side and a 300 metre deep precipice on the other is just a bit too much.
In Ethiopia, you can find churches that have been carved into the rocks (very) high up. To get there, you risk your life making your way across steep cliffs and narrow ridges. But that feeling you get when you’re sitting in a carved out window hundreds of metres above the ground makes it more than worthwhile...
If things don’t work out with the shoes, I can always become a scaffolder in Ethiopia.
These are the marvellous thermal fields in the Danakil Depression. We got here after one night outdoors on top of the volcano and another out in the open on those wooden beds. I pretended to be super refreshed and recovered. We ultimately shot the photos for our campaign here..
46 degrees, wind strength 7, spending the night on these wooden beds under the open sky. Nothing but heat and huts made of beams and straw. This is where the fun is officially over.
That’s something different than the tiles on my kitchen floor.
The salt flats. After days without a shower, the salt baths were very tempting. And floating in the salt bath was great. The itching afterwards not so much..
Group photo! Niels, Elmar and Geert - the men behind the photos and videos.

Video

Floris: "Aside from taking pictures, we always shoot a crazy film as well. And I do all stunts myself! Motor biking in Costa Rica, crossing a hanging bridge in Nepal on horseback, travelling through Tanzania in the bed of a truck, shooting soup cans in Alaska, posing between wild reindeers in Lapland or, as for this film, walking around the edge of a lava lake on top of an active volcano – I do it all without batting an eye. This guy is the Tom Cruise of the Dutch shoe business!"

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