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At 311 meters, Taal Volcano is one of the smallest, most active volcanos in the world. Due to its proximity to highly populated areas, it was listed 5th in ForeignPolicy.com list of volcanos to watch out for.  According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology, there have been 33 recorded eruptions since 1573.

My wife and son visit my Dad in Tagaytay every month or so.  Because of which I have several photos of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake taken from various points along the Tagaytay Ridge Road.  Each time, all I get is a hazy picture of the volcano (island).  

Below is a picture of my son, Jeo, taken in 2005 while we were at Picnic Grove.  On sunny days, this is the usual image quality. 

Jeo with Taal Volcano in the background

On hazy and cloudy days, the view is like the one below. The volcano island is virtually a dark blue silhouette. ( Taken in 2008 just before going back to Manila.)

Taal Volcano and Lake on a cloudy day

One of the nearest approaches on the ridge is at the back of Dencio’s Bar & Grill.  While on a visit in 2008, (with friends this time), I took this close-up picture using the telephoto lens of my Canon Powershot A410.  Still a little hazy… 

Close-up of one of the craters of Taal Volcano

One time, Father’s Day 2009, we took Dad to lunch at Gerry’s Bar & Grill along the ridge road. After lunch, we droved down a zigzag road to Balai Isabel (near the town of Talisay) on the shores of Taal Lake to get a closer look at the island.  I took several pictures using my Canon Powershot A410.  This is one of the closest I’ve ever been to the volcano.  Even on this sunny day, the details aren’t as clear as I’d hope for. 

Taal Volcano from Balai Isabel on the shores of Taal Lake

January 2010, I was able to get a Pentax K-x DSLR camera.  Last May 8, we visited Dad again. The view from the ridge was unusually clear.  I got excited!  After we picked Dad up from his apartment, we went to Pancake House along the Tagaytay Ridge Road for an afternoon snack. While we were waiting for our food to be served, I took this shot with the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. 

Unusually clear view of Taal Volcano & Lake

I replaced the 18-55mm lens with my old 28-200mm Tokina lens and took several close-up pictures of the volcano. I later used a software called Hugin, to stitch the images into one composite image of the whole (volcano) island. 

A composite image showing the entire volcano island

 I also used Hugin to create a composite image of the nearest crater.  This crater, althought the most inactive of the craters on volcano island, is the most photographed. 

Taal Volcano, a detailed shot of the nearest crater

On the full-sized version, you can see structures on the island, small outriggers (locally called bancas) on the shores of the island, and fish pens strewn on the lake. 

A reduced view to right of the nearest crater show fishpens

 Below is a detailed view of the fishpens and shore structures from the picture above. 

A more detailed view of the fishpens and short structures

 To the left of the nearest crater, I cropped this actual-sized view of a small village on the shore (with bancas and fishpens). 

A small village one the shores of volcano island

Hopefully, in the future, I’ll be able to finally set foot on volcano island to take pictures of the craters.