From Ryan Osborn, TODAY producer
Nevermind Michael Phelps and a historic election...
This picture of an electrical storm breaking out directly above an erupting volcano in Chile won the most votes in our feature 2008: The Year in Pictures.
Taken on May 2, 2008, by Carlos Guiterrez of Patagonia Press, Carlos told us "it felt like a scene from Dante..."
Q: What do you remember about the moment you took the photo?
A: I woke up in Puerto Varas, my hometown, in the early morning of May 2 after a large tremor. Later in the morning I flew on an Air Force plane to the site. When I took these photos it was 9 p.m. in Chile and I was in a town called Chana, 30 kilometers from the Chaitan Volcano eruption. It was very cold and one could tell that it was going to be a big eruption. WEB-ONLY VIDEO
I put my camera on a tripod and started to shoot. The column of ash shot up 20 kilometers and rays of light from the eruption revealed that the trees and forests were smothered in ash. I made at least 30 photos with various angles and rays with many colors. Later the Chilean Air Force helped move me to the town of Chaiten after crossing a wetland for over an hour in the dark.
Q: What do you think makes this photo special?
A: It felt like a scene from Dante, and so many people around the world have never seen anything like it. We all know of lightning rays, but rays coming from the earth during an eruption has rarely been seen. I hope people, and especially children, appreciate the photo and become aware of what happens when so much energy is produced from within the earth.
Q: Why do you think this photo won?
A: I think the photo won because thousands of people really appreciate photography and sympathize with news photographers since we're the ones who relate events and many times arrive at a news scene before anyone else. The photo is really a work of art produced by nature, all I did was capture the colors and transfer them via my camera and my love for my job.
I'd like to dedicate this award to the citizens of Chaiten, who have suffered so much; my family and community; and to all news photographers around the world who risk their lives for a picture. My thanks to all who voted for the photo, and to my family.
WEB-ONLY VIDEO: Watch to learn more about the top five photos of 2008
VIDEO: See the winning photo revealed on TODAY