Tag Archives: Indonesia

Monkey Business

A monkey reaches for the camera at the Alas Kedaton Temple in Bali, Indonesia. (6540)

A friend recently shot me a message asking for some tips on how to take “amazing” photos. Another time we can debate the definition of “amazing photos,” but here’s what I told her:

I think the biggest misconception is your picture is only as good as you like it.

As an example, while I was traveling through the Middle East, a woman staying on the same boat showed me her favorite picture from all of Egypt. It was a blurry picture of her sister dancing. And her sister was half-missing from the image. But it was her favorite picture, and that’s what’s important. Never mind the pyramids of Giza, the sphinx, Luxor or any of that, it was her sister dancing. Point being: Any picture is only as good as long as you like it. A few of my favorite shots barely move the meter for other people, and then some shots I totally blow off as crap seem to get the biggest responses. I haven’t figured out “the masses” yet, but I plan on working on them as soon as I figure out “what women want.”

That being said, I have picked up a few photographically-based things which may help on your journey:

Shoot with the sun over your shoulder. A camera, like the human eye, usually grabs on to the brightest thing it sees and exposes for that. If you shoot into the sun your camera will freak out over the giant ball of light and may underexpose what you actually want to take a picture of. If the sun is behind you everything will be bathed in light.

Try to stick with the rule of thirds. Somewhere, a group of people much smarter than you and I realized the eye thinks things shot with the rule of thirds is sexier. Divide the screen of your camera into three equal parts and frame the shot accordingly. If you don’t have an easy “three” things to frame up in the shot, keep the subject to the left and right thirds or “use” two of the three.

The early-morning and late-afternoon sunlight are your friend. It’s called “Golden Hour” because the sun is lower in the sky and everything it touches has a sexy, golden look to it.

Before you go, check out other pictures of where you’re going on Flickr, Instagram, Google Images, etc.; not to the point of “stealing” other people’s shots, but at least having an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. Before Ireland I was able to find enough pictures of the Cliffs of Moher to discern which direction the famous shoreline faced, and from that what time of day to visit. (Fun fact: to not shoot into the sun I knew to visit in the afternoon.)

Finally, break all of the above tips as often as possible, as rules were meant to be broken. Some of the best pictures you’ve seen are crazy silhouettes taken directly into the sun, pictures that put the subject in the center of the shot, and pictures taken while the sun is blasting the most light it can onto something.

Those are probably the most basic things I can try to give you tips on. Most is based off of what I’ve read and been told along the way. What I really do know and can tell you about photography is bring at least one more memory card than you think you need, keep your batteries charged and send home a couple of postcards. Everyone loves postcards.

(6540) 1010.

Posted in Travel Also tagged |

Beautiful Beach Seating

As my wife and I travel, we seem to “Go! Go! Go!” to explore and experience all we can. As a result, by accident, we found a new tradition in our travels that we’ve really come to love: Finishing at a beach.

Ending our three-week trip through Asia, we finished with the adventure with a three-night stay in Bali. It was beautiful temperatures and we got a nice, toasty sunburn before heading home.

After spending two weeks in India, Nepal and Bhutan, my wife and I stopped for a few nights in the United Arab Emirates. It was fantastic to spend a full day at the beach making every effort to avoid another sunburn for the trip home. (It didn’t work; I still got burned.)

As we plan our next two-week adventure for later this year, we’re exploring beaches in South America that we can wrap up our trip at.

Hopefully this time I really do avoid sunburn!

1010. (6437)

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Sunset at Jimbaran Bay

Aside from my wife, my friend Mitch is my best friend. At my wedding last year, he was my best man, and this weekend, I had the honor of being his best man.

Mitch has always complained that he doesn’t have a blog post devoted to him. With as many things as I write about, surely I could find time to write about him.

So that being said, today’s blog entry is about Mitch Nakhshin.

He and I met back in college. We met through a mutual friend, but we didn’t actually start hanging out until after graduation. One of the things that struck me early on with Mitch was his ability to whip up a good time. He does know how to bring the party.

For example, one night I was having a few people over to play poker and Mitch showed up early with a case of beer. As we waited for others to arrive, one by one the texts and phone calls came in from my people not being able to make it. It ended up being only Mitch and I, so he called a few friends and we went back to his apartment. I don’t think I’ve seen that many guys come together on such short notice, without the promise of women. We all played cards late into the evening, and I learned early on that Mitch wasn’t just any other guy.

As time would march on, Mitch and I would both get crazy jobs with weird hours. It wasn’t unusual for us to do things like road trip to the Makers Mark distillery in Kentucky for a few days, or more simply, grab lunch on a random weekday. Many of those lunches would end up lasting late into the evening. Each time, however, Mitch and I would make new friends or, at least, walk away with some great stories.

Along the way I met my wife. Her and I hit it off great from the beginning, but she knew that I’d leave on a cold winter’s night if Mitch called. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t. Somewhere in here, on the rare occasion that I’d walk into the bar with somebody other than Mitch, there was a resounding “Hey! … where’s Mitch!?” Even if I was going to the pub with my parents, people wanted to know where Mitch was and how he was doing.

That’s the kind of guy Mitch is. His quality of character is extraordinary.

So I had some concerns about Mitch finding a girlfriend. It wasn’t that I thought he’d be single the rest of his life, but I was more concerned about him finding the right girl.

Along comes Danielle.

My wife and Danielle knew each other from grad school, and after a few times of seeing each other at various sporting events, backyard BBQs or whatever else, something clicked inside the two of them and they started dating. Again, in the back of my mind, I just wanted to make sure Mitch found the right girl. A girl who understands he falls asleep within a second of hitting the bed and then you can’t move him. A girl who understands that hockey holds a very special place in Mitch’s heart. A girl who understands that  he is terrified of other people’s bare feet. A girl who could keep up with him.

So one night, on a Saturday early in their relationship, a bunch of us go out to get some drinks, and we end up getting hammered. Mitch. Danielle. Myself. My wife. The bartenders. Whoever else. (Our cab driver probably got drunk just from our breath.) The next morning I woke up in severe pain. My wife and I both hurt so badly. I called Mitch to see how he was doing.

I could barely hear him it was so loud in the background.

Turns out, he and Danielle were sharing a bucket of beers at a bar watching the Patriots game (Danielle is from New England). I wasn’t sure I had a pulse, and here he was, with Danielle, right back at it.

When I hung up, my wife asked how Mitch was. I turned to her and said, “He’ll be just fine.” It was then I realized Mitch found a girl who could not only keep up, but probably give him a run for his money.

Mitch’s now-wife is a saint. He’s a quirky little fellow, but he’s also a lot of fun. Mitch and Danielle make a fantastic match and support and love each other in so many ways. I love them both and am I’m truly, truly happy for them.

Here’s to a long lifetime of love and happiness, hockey, and buckets of beer together.

Cheers, Mitch. You finally got a blog post about you.

(6337) 1009.

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Monkey on the Lookout

In Bali, Indonesia is a forest called Alas Kedaton, and within that forest is the small Alas Kedaton Temple. Monkeys live and play within the forest and have taken advantage of the quiet atmosphere surrounding the temple. Fairly docile yet extremely playful, monkeys will wander around the forest and play with the tourists who make their way here. Some will run and jump on their human counterparts and some will look curiously at their own reflections in camera lenses.

(6461) 1010.

Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Early Morning Balinese Pride

This guy was really, really proud of what he’d just accomplished.

Waking up early to watch the fishermen head out to sea in Bali, Indonesia, Alisha and I strolled down the beach as the sun rose in the sky.  Most of the boats had left before we woke up, but there were always a few coming and going as we made our way down to the fish market.

Most of these types of fishing boats sometimes use three, four or five men pushing them off of the beach and into the ocean.  The large pieces of wood jutting out to the side are great to keep the small boats from turning over while at sea, but add a lot of extra weight getting them on and off the beach.

As we approached this particular boat, the pilot and his buddy began to shove off into the ocean from ten or fifteen meters up on the beach.  As the water got deeper, the pink-striped guy jumped in, while the other one finished pushing.

With a final burst of energy, he got his friend out into the ocean and on his way.  Knowing us two tourists were strolling by as this unfolded, the gentleman paused and posed for the camera as if to say “Most boats use five guys; I can do it myself.”

October 2010. (6361)

Posted in Travel Also tagged |

Preparing for Launch

Early one morning in Bali, Indonesia, a group of fisherman are prepping their boat to launch it out to sea.

October 2010. (6354)

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Fishing Boats Coming and Going

Thirty years ago, the village of Jimburan in Bali was nothing more of tiny fishing village with a morning market. Most of the time, it was just the local restaurants buying food for the night’s specials, but somewhere along the way things exploded.

Jimburan is now loaded with posh 5-star resorts and famous grilled seafood restaurants, and through all of it, the local fisherman still call this place home.

Each morning they all go out and then later come in with hordes of fish to sell at the market. The surrounding beach was great to people watch. Fisherman were practicing their livelihood, while their wife and children were down the beach collecting shells.

In the above picture locals just sent a boat out to sea, with dozens of boats anchored in the background.  (I have pictures in the Asia Gallery of how the boats are pushed out and carried in.)

It was one of my favorite mornings in Bali, as we just wandered and watched the locals do their thing.

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Monkey See, Monkey Curious

This is one of my favorite images from Bali.

While in Indonesia, Alisha and I went to a nearby temple on the edge of a forest.  Because the temple was so close to a heavily wooded area and not used very much by the locals, the temple had become over-run by monkeys.  For the most part, the monkeys are friendly and curious.

Alisha took some pictures of the monkeys and showed them themselves on her camera’s display.  Eventually, we realized the monkeys were more interested in their reflection on the glass then their actual picture.

Watching the monkeys interact with each other made me really realize how close we are to each other and how small our world really is.

October 2010. (6551)

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Bali Sunset

This was an interesting sunset to watch because the bright colors of the sky were heavily muted by the large, ominous clouds.  I recall it was slightly chilly on this night, too.

Regardless of the temperature, it was here Alisha and I noticed all of the boats fishing on the horizon, and hatched our plan to get up at sunrise and watch them push out to sea.  We were staying right on the beach, and a few hundred yards from us is where the fishermen kept their boats on shore.

Walking along the shoreline that morning became one of my favorite parts of Bali, because everyone was out with the entire family collecting shells, fishing for dinner (and perhaps something extra to sell at the market), or just playing in the sand.

October 2010. (6322)

Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Lines in the Sand

Walking the beach one morning in Bali, Indonesia, Alisha and I noticed the sand had some crazy fun patterns in it.

(6429) 1010.

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