Capturing Ijen’s Blue Fire: Photography Tips and Techniques

Ijen Volcano, located in East Java, Indonesia, is not only famous for its stunning crater lake but also for its mesmerizing blue flames that emerge from its sulfur vents. Capturing this phenomenon through photography requires skill, patience, and the right techniques. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of photographing Ijen’s blue fire, offering tips and techniques to help you capture this breathtaking natural wonder.

Understanding the Blue Fire Phenomenon

The blue flames of Ijen are a result of ignited sulfuric gas that escapes from cracks in the volcano’s surface. These flames can reach temperatures of up to 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit) and are most visible during the night when the contrast against the dark sky makes them appear even more vivid.

Photographing the blue fire presents several challenges due to the low light conditions, extreme heat, and toxic gases. However, with the right preparation and equipment, you can capture stunning images of this otherworldly spectacle.

Gear and Equipment

Before embarking on your journey to photograph Ijen’s blue fire, it’s essential to have the right gear. Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Camera: A DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual controls is ideal for capturing the blue fire. Make sure your camera performs well in low light conditions and has good noise performance at high ISO settings.
  • Lenses: A wide-angle lens is recommended to capture the vastness of the volcanic landscape and the blue flames. Additionally, a fast prime lens can be useful for capturing details in low light.
  • Tripod: Since you’ll be shooting in low light conditions, a sturdy tripod is essential to keep your camera steady and avoid blurry images.
  • Protective Gear: Due to the toxic gases emitted by the volcano, it’s crucial to wear a gas mask, goggles, and appropriate clothing to protect yourself while photographing the blue fire.

Techniques for Photographing Blue Fire

Now that you have the necessary gear, let’s discuss some techniques for capturing stunning images of Ijen’s blue fire:

Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography is key to capturing the mesmerizing movement of the blue flames. Set your camera to manual mode and choose a slow shutter speed (usually between 15-30 seconds) to allow enough light to enter the camera sensor.

Use a small aperture (higher f-stop) to increase depth of field and ensure sharpness throughout the image. Experiment with different shutter speeds to achieve the desired effect, but be mindful of overexposure, especially in areas with intense flames.


Composition plays a crucial role in creating visually compelling images of the blue fire. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find unique compositions that highlight the contrast between the flames and the surrounding landscape.

Include elements such as the volcano’s crater, sulfur vents, and the night sky to provide context and depth to your photos. Look for leading lines or natural frames that draw the viewer’s eye towards the focal point of the image.

White Balance Adjustment

Due to the unique color temperature of the blue flames, it’s essential to adjust the white balance settings on your camera to accurately capture their vibrant hue. Experiment with different white balance presets or manually adjust the color temperature until you achieve the desired result.

Keep in mind that the color of the flames may vary depending on factors such as their intensity and the composition of sulfuric gases. Take test shots and review them on your camera’s LCD screen to fine-tune your white balance settings accordingly.


Photographing Ijen’s blue fire is a challenging yet rewarding experience that offers the opportunity to capture one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena. By understanding the science behind the blue flames and implementing the right techniques, you can create stunning images that showcase the beauty and wonder of this natural wonder.

Remember to prioritize safety at all times and be prepared for the harsh conditions of the volcanic environment. With patience, perseverance, and creativity, you can capture breathtaking photos that will leave a lasting impression on viewers.

For those interested in experiencing the beauty of Ijen and other natural wonders in East Java, Indonesia, consider booking a tour package with Surabaya Bromo Tour. Our experienced guides will take you on an unforgettable journey through the region, providing opportunities for photography and exploration along the way.