Behind the Lens: Exploring the Lava Fields of Sullivan Bay, Galápagos

On Santiago Island in Galápagos, the swirling black patterns of solidified lava fields showcase a passage of time from hundreds of years ago. What was once a molten flowing river is now a fascinating geological wonder named “Fields of Fire” under the towering presence of the volcano located here.

Jorge Prigann, an expedition filmmaker and member of Silversea’s Expedition Team who has lived in Galápagos all his life, made it his mission to express the power of nature through his film of Sullivan Bay.

Unique volcanic beauty

“My goal is always to share a different perspective of the place I call home,” says Jorge, remembering the two-and-half-hour hike to this specific spot and its unique formations. “In this location I tried to share the dimension of the place by including people; that we are just a small piece of this world and also how nature expresses itself, which is like art.

Sullivan Bay in Santiago Island
The barren, other-worldly landscapes of Sullivan Bay are evidence of Santiago Island’s volcanic origin./Lucia Griggi

“Some people think it’s very boring because there’s just lava and only a few lava cactus, but if we look at the landscape, which is like a black carpet, every inch is unique. Every time I’ve been, I see something new and a different perspective.”

Geology in the golden hour

During the golden hour, the lava fields of Sullivan Bay come alive with vivid yellows and oranges, highlighting its ridges. Jorge captured the intricacies of the volcanic origins here with a macro lens, along with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and a Canon EOS 1D X Mark III.

“One of the best moments for pictures here is an hour before sunset because of the golden color cast on the lava. I recommend having the sun behind you, so there is strong lighting for your pictures and to use a macro lens to capture the details of these huge worlds,” he adds.

Santiago Lava Lizard in Sullivan Bay
True to its name, the Santiago Lava Lizard thrives in Santiago Island and the nearby islets of Rábida and Bartolomé in Galápagos./Lucia Griggi

For Jorge, the Fields of Fire at Sullivan Bay offer a glimpse of Earth’s tremendous geological history.

“The highlight of this activity is enjoying the environment and having the chance to see how it was at the beginning of the world, with only lava, textures and color. And it’s not always with your camera. Some of the best experiences have been the pictures I never took, the scenes I saw only with my eyes.”

Lava fields of Sullivan Bay
Trekking the lava fields of Sullivan Bay is one of the main attractions in Santiago Island./Lucia Griggi

Ready to book a visit to the lava fields of Galápagos? Learn more here.