Our group of five set up camp a safe distance from where the eruptions would be taking place, and the volcano was spitting out large amounts of ash, smoke, and gas regularly from the time we arrived. (Here‘s a farther-away version of what we saw from the camp-site.) Not satisfied to observe from a “safe distance,” we asked our guide whether we could climb up next to the crater and wait for an eruption. He gave us his blessing– after some pleading on our part– and he led us on a climb up to the crater.
The video I shot, seen above, captures pretty well the chaos and absurdity (though not the noxious smell of sulfur) of standing thirty feet from a volcano as it erupts. Be sure to stick around until the 0:55 mark for some fun with static electricity– turn the sound up on your computer for the full effect.
For another view (with even more cursing!), check out this great Youtube vid.