SEATTLE -- Thirty-one years ago, William Dilley was camping with friends eight miles north of Mt. St. Helens.
The next morning, they had a front row seat to the historic eruption -- and snapped some of the most memorable images of the sight anyone has seen.
Dilley spoke with KING 5's Allen Schauffler about the historic day he'd rather forget.
Dilley said the day still haunts him. As he and friend Gary Rosenquist snapped the classic images as they watched death flow their direction, one ridge over another.
"All of a sudden it got real quiet . . . no birds no bees . . . nothing. And it was just eerie quiet."
"It came to the third ridge, it came to the third ridge, and it went straight up to the left of us, about 500 yards, the pyroclastic flow went by."
He hasn't seen some of the photos for 25 years. There's the last frame Rosenquist shot. Another they made a poster out of for a few bucks. They add up to horror film for Dilley.
"These pictures were invaluable," he said, "not only for people to view and ooh and awe at, but the scientists learned an awful lot."
Sometimes, Dilley wishes he had been among the 50 plus who died.
"After this story is over, people eat their dinner, put their kids to bed, his show is over," he said, "I take it with me . . . people say ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and i think I'll be dust by the time I forget watching these ashes."