On their second date, Donna and Stephen O’Meara flew to the erupting Kilauea volcano on the Island of Hawai’i. It was the first time Donna had photographed a bubbling lava lake, and she instantly fell in love with volcanoes — and Stephen. A year later, in 1987, the couple married on the slopes of Kilauea. Both wore tennis shoes in case they had to run to safety.
Since that day, the O’Mearas have dedicated their lives to photographing and unlocking the mysteries of volcanic eruptions. In 1994, they founded Volcano Watch International, a research organization dedicated to better understanding the Earth’s active volcanoes. The organization uses the couples’ images to educate people about volcanic dangers and to help save the lives of people living near precarious volcanoes. It is estimated that more than 10 million people worldwide live in active volcano danger zones.
Photographers, scientists, videographers, recipients of National Geographic Society grants and the subject of documentaries, the O’Mearas experience the dangers and discover the mysteries of volcanoes every day from their home on top of Kilauea.