Yasur is Vanuatu 's most visited volcano. And most tour packages featuring Tanna includes a trip up to Mt. Yasur . Tour guides are employed on Yasur to prevent visitors from putting themselves in danger. Even though the access rules are clearly defined, your guide may let you go closer than allowed. The safe distance is beautiful but some tourists are seeking an adrenalin rush. Yasur activity levels should be well known by the tour operators in Port Vila. Precautions must be taken when visiting Mt. Yasur .
There are five levels of volcanic activity:
Level 0 : Low activity, access to the crater allowed.
Level 1 : Normal activity, access to the crater allowed.
Level 2 : Moderate to high activity, lava bombs may land beyond the crater rim, access to the crater is closed.
Level 3 : Severe activity with loud explosions, lava bombs ejected up to hundreds of metres outside the crater and large plumes of smoke and ash, access to the summit zone is closed.
Level 4 : Major eruption affecting large areas around the volcano and possibly other parts of Tanna and even neighbouring islands, all access closed.
Yasur is probably best at dusk when there's enough light to illuminate the crater rim. This gives dimension and context to your photos, the red lava bombs will be visible and the clouds of ash look great. At night time the volcano starts to look more like a fireworks display and it's trickier to set your focus. Take spare batteries because your camera will spend a lot of time on standby, waiting for the next eruption.
The best way to shoot is with a tripod and a remote shutter release. This will leave you free to watch fireworks and not spend all evening peering through the viewfinder or blinding yourself with the LCD screen. Set the camera on bulb exposure, open the shutter, wait for an eruption and then close it.