The picture actually captured when a driver of a pick-up truck desperately tries to overrun a cloud of ash spewing from the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. This picture has been selected as one of 38 emotion packed pictures of all time by an American online publication. The article titled “32 Heart-Stopping Moments You Can Only Experience Thanks To A Camera”

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It was the latest accolade for photographer Alberto Garcia, who recalls the photo. I am happy and grateful, because at least over 22 years, they still remember how I captured the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Even though the eruption happened those several years ago, and I feels like it happened yesterday, and his capture of the occasion is still vivid in his mind. When I took the photograph, my heart didn’t stop, it beat so fast and my body was even shaking. During the massive eruption, I was about 20 to 30 KM away from the mouth of the volcano, and abruptly was being pursued by tons of hot ash. So everyone jumped into our vehicles and I was trying to put on my gas masked when I saw a blue pick-up ahead of that beautiful wall of gray. 

I opened the door and tried shooting the picture with my 50mm lens but it was too tight, so I decided to change the lens and used the 24mm instead and made sure my setting was correct and shot eight frames. When I took the pictures, I was praying hard that I got the right shot; I knew very well, that we might die and before I die, I was hunted to tell a story using my camera. He said; they finally outran the hot ash, and though I had only eight shots, I rewound the whole roll of film, keeping it safe in my pocket. He spent several days documenting the aftermath of the major eruption before going back to Manila, then he called a friend to process the film.

I went straightforward to the airport international cargo and transported the negatives to Time Magazine office in New York. In the following week, the Mt. Pinatubo picture ran in a two-page Time Magazine spread. Time, Newsweek, and Asia-week all included the photo in the 1991 great images of the year. In 1992, the image won first place in the nature and environment category in the World Press Photo competition held in Amsterdam. Till date Garcia is the only Filipino photographer to have won the World Press photo competition. Whereas; in year 2001 the National Geographic Magazine published a book called “100 Best Pictures, which included Garcia’s Mt. Pinatubo photograph.600x450

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