Category Archives: Indonesia

Looking Back and Ahead

Another year has come and gone, like it does every year at this time. And at this time, it’s often recommended that people take some time to stop and reflect on what they’ve accomplished over the past year and to consider what plans and goals they might wants to pursue in the coming year. Obviously that first part assume that goals were actually set the previous year. In reality, I think when the end of the year rolls around most of us are kinda caught off guard. We look at the calendar and kinda freak out about how fast the year went by. At the beginning of the year many of us may have good intentions about setting goals, but those good intentions get lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, exemplified by all the February canceled gym memberships.

Into the Light

Into the Light – Nightcliff, Darwin, Australia

I don’t claim to be much better than the average Joe when it comes to setting goals and planning. I wish I were better at it because I do think it’s an important and useful tool in moving forward and achieving longer-term goals. So with that in mind, this post will be a look back over the past year of photographic non-goal-set accomplishments and a look ahead with some objectives for the upcoming year, interspersed with some of my favorite photos from the past year.

This past year saw a number of photographic accomplishments that I was quite happy about. I had my first article and set of photos published in a magazine, the Southeast Asia Backpacker. Although not exactly a high-profile publication, it was still exciting to see my words and images of the Thaipusam Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, printed in an actual magazine. The travel blog FoXnoMad published a tutorial I wrote on why you should consider shooting more black and white. An article on shooting sunsets that I also originally wrote for FoXnoMad was republished on the high-profile website I was interviewed about my experience being a photographer for the PicsArt blog. The website asked me to become a contributor, writing occasional tutorials on HDR photography. I had three articles (here, here, and here) published there before the site decided to go on hiatus. And, although not directly related to photography, I also had a travel story published on the budget travel website

Fishing off the pier - San Nicolas, Philippines

Fishing off the pier – San Nicolas, Philippines

Traveling, I didn’t make it to a huge number of destinations this past year, but I did manage to check off one of my bucket list items which was to go on a week-long photography workshop with one of my favorite photographers, David DuChemin. For this trip, I went with Within the Frame Photographic Adventures and spent a week with David, cultural photographer Jeffrey Chapman, and nine other ‘students’ in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the Day of the Dead festival. For me, one of the great things about this trip was being able to spend time with other photographers talking about the craft and just sharing the experience of photographing together, something I don’t seem to get to do very often.

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Remembrance - Oaxaca, Mexico

Remembrance – Oaxaca, Mexico

For this coming year, I have a number of things I’m looking to accomplish. In a vague, ambiguous sense, my goals are to take more pictures, write more, travel and get outdoors more. More specifically, one of the things I’m looking to do is to change the direction of this blog. Over the past few years, this blog has been somewhat of a mish-mash of various topics but primarily a place for me to post pictures. That’s been fine, and I’ll still post the occasional photo essay and I’ll regularly post images to my Facebook page and to Google+, but my goal now is to transition the blog to something more educational by providing more photography tips and tutorials, some related to getting out and shooting and other geared toward post-processing. While much of this will likely be geared more to the beginner level, I hope that more experienced photographers will find some useful information as well.

Balinese boy at a funeral - Ubud, Indonesia

Balinese boy at a funeral – Ubud, Indonesia

Does the world really need another photographer telling everyone else how it’s done? Probably not, although I hope to avoid falling into the trap of saying This is how it’s done. But everyone has a different voice, different experiences, and a different vision. Hopefully how I see the world and express what I see will resonate with some people. Yet, I don’t even consider myself a Pro, so who am I to be instructing others? Well, I think too much emphasis can be placed on how much money someone makes, how many clients they have, how published they are, how much they’ve read, or how many places they’ve traveled to. Experience does count for something. I have a long way to go to get where I’d like to be on my photographic journey. But we’re all at different places along our path traveling at a different pace, different stages of whatever photographic journey we happen to be on, and there will always be someone ahead of you. That doesn’t devalue where you’re at now. I’d like to think that I have something valuable to share and I hope you’ll continue along this journey with me.

Biking through Divisoria - Manila, Philippines

Biking through Divisoria – Manila, Philippines

Rustic - San Francisco, California

Rustic – San Francisco, California

Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Head Lighthouse - Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Head Lighthouse – Newport, Oregon

Also posted in Darwin, Oregon, Philippines, Photography, San Francisco Tagged |

Portraits of a Balinese Cremation Ceremony

I recently spent a week in Bali, Indonesia, for a quick get-a-way. Travelling with a companion, photography was not the focus of this trip (sorry, bad pun). But the camera came with me most places, of course, and a few good images came home with me.

One of the joys of travelling for me is the surprises that often arise, unexpected events and unplanned cultural experiences, that make a visit to a place more than just a beach holiday. In this case it was stumbling upon a cremation ceremony for a member of a Balinese royal family. Unlike most of Indonesia, which is primarily Muslim, Balinese are predominantly Hindu and the custom is to cremate bodies after passing on to the other side. Still a caste society, the process and ceremony involved with cremation varies according the the caste level you are in. A lowly worker? You can look forward to your body being dumped into the ground and then five years later being dug up again to be burned in a mass cremation with all the other deceased workers.

If you are a member of a royal family, you get a much better send-off, such as the one for an Ubud royal family member who had passed away back in February. The body had been stored for two months until the ceremony could be organized and take place in May. A number of processional floats were constructed by volunteer community members, the primary one being an elaborately decorated bamboo tower close to three storeys tall on which the body was loaded and then carried to the burning grounds. After cremation, the ashes were to be given to the family to be spread in the sea. The procession and burning were public events; however, the water gods were apparently not happy with the fire gods this day and during the procession it began raining…hard, as it is often wont to do in the tropics. These are some portraits of participants and observers I was able to get before the skies opened up.

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Also posted in Black and White, Cultural, Photography, Portrait, Travel Tagged , , , |

Balinese Cock Fight – Final

This is a the final post in the Balinese Cock Fighting series.

Watching the Match

Making a Bet

This is the end result of a match. The loser gets to keep his chicken but he typically cuts off a portion and gives it to the winner.

The End

Also posted in Cultural, Photography, Places Tagged , , , , , , |

Balinese Cock Fight – 3

This is a continuation of the Balinese Cock Fighting series.

Removing the Spur Blade

Cock Fight


Also posted in Cultural, Photography, Places Tagged , , , , , |

Balinese Cock Fight – 2

This is a continuation of the Balinese Cock Fighting series I began yesterday.

Cock Fight

Cock Fight

Tying on Spur Blade

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Also posted in Cultural, Photography, Places Tagged , , , , , |