This was taken from the rim of Taal’s crater during our first ever photoshoot as a group. We remember seeing a group of people who were on horseback who were actually INSIDE, at the bottom of the crater! They were barely dots down there, since we were so far up, yet they were unmistakenly people inside the belly of Tall. I distinctly remember us four, vowing to put that on our to-do list.
Well, that day came late last year, as our final photo shoot for the year 2008, very fitting since we started and ended our first year as photo buddies in the same place, Taal.
We started our descent from the other side of the island, and we were on horseback since the trek would be quite difficult to do on foot. The path was steep and perilous since the incline was pretty deep in many spots. We just hung on to dear life as the horse clambered and stomped and whinnied their way down, burdened by four photographers and their cumbersome gear. As we went down, the view of the crater changed accordingly.
As we went down, the crater loomed larger and larger…
Finally we reached the very bottom of the crater and we excitedly unloaded our gear and explored the belly of this awesome slumbering giant.
The water was sulfuric and the shoreswhere the water met the land foamed at the edges. We were told that we could swim on this side, but we were warned to stay away from the other side (which was too far anyway), because the water there is supposedly much hotter and therefore unswimmable. There was a group who was there ahead, taking a dip in the lake water that allegedly heals skin disorders because of the high sulfur content.
The rocks were reddish in hue and the air reeked of sulfuric stench, since the vents spewed boiling steam and churned clouds of sulfur constantly. It smelled of rotten eggs in places.
Vegetation was scarce and the crater was littered by dead trees and mangled stumps. And the only plentiful plant was this thorny tree that was abundant which earlier stabbed us repeatedly as we went down and our legs scraped against them.
As a travel destination it was tops, but as a photo subject, there wasn’t much really to take pictures of. It looked pretty barren and desolate as a subject. But the highlight of my trip was experimenting with my first ever panoramic shots! Since the lake was huge and we were at the very base of it, it was quite impossible to take a whole picture of it from down there. But with the aid of photo-stitching in CS3, I was able to produce three panoramic photographs of the Taal crater. Each photograph consisted of about 16-20 individual photos each, stitched together by CS3.
The third photo is a 360 degree shot of the whole crater. Basically, I stood in one spot, then took multiple pictures as I turned in place, until I got back to position one. So if you were to paste both ends of the photo together, you’d get a 3-D view of how it looks like down there. The whole concept blew me away. It was so much fun! And surprisingly easy. Just feed CS3 the photos and it’ll do all the work for you.