Tag Archives: bali

South Carolinas, Cuba and Coloumbia …

I’ve had a break from photography which is making me all the more excited about my upcoming opportunities. I’m heading to South Carolina for a holiday break but have decided a photo project is required to keep me going. Lying in the sun and shopping doesn’t do it for me anymore (although a little shopping won’t go amiss!) so I’m going to find a way to photograph holidaymakers in Myrtle Beach. Being Scottish is a great icebreaker as it puts people at ease … “Ah just lurve your accent” is a common response and I’m hoping I’ll have enthusiastic subjects!

My first visit to an American style resort many years ago was an eye-opener when I discovered “Resort Wear” was recomemend (by my colleagues), a whole new concept to me.  I stayed true to myself and really stuck in my (scruffy) shorts and teeshirts …  So this has got to be my theme: “A Retort to Resort”, “Loving Leisurewear” or maybe “Let’s Dig ’em Out Again” (as I do).

But what’s really thrilling me is SOUTH AMERICA is coming up!!!!!! A month of travelling with my camera in June and July. Planning the trip is making my mouth water as I firm up details that include time in Cuba and Colombia; visiting Havana and Trinidad with travel photographer Ralph Valesco, independent travelling in Colombia and then (fingers crossed) another Momenta Non-Proft Workshop in Medellin. I’ll try to blog in Spanish at some point – not quite yet though!

Meantime I’m continuing to process neglected images from previous trips. Good to keep my hand in …

Ubud, Bali, May 2014

Market Wall, Bali

Project South Africa 2013

Monkey Temple, Kathmandu


Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos

Shell Village, Laos

Shell Village, Laos

Passengers, Tatipani, Nepal

Passengers, Tatipani, Nepal

Pashupati Funeral Pyre, Kathmandu

Pashupati Funeral Pyre, Kathmandu

Vang Vieng, Laos

Vang Vieng, Laos

Vang Vieng, Laos

Vang Vieng, Laos

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Jatiluwih rice terraces

The stunning rice terraces of Bali, exemplified by those in Jatiluwih are wonderous sights. Every hue of green is visible as you look at the undulating layers of the fields. I travelled to Jatiluwih twice, once in the sunshine and the second time at dawn on an overcast day. The colour palettes were so different with the changing light. It was just before the harvest when the terraces are incredibly lush. As we travelled around Bali we came across rice harvesting in different areas and went down into the fields to watch the workers. It’s an incredibly labour intensive job and hard, physical work. We also spotted this honeymoon couple who were beautifully co-ordinated as they took self portraits throughout the terraces.Bali, May 2014

The ecologically sustainable subak system is the traditional method of farming and irrigation, deeply embedded in the Balinese culture. This co-operative water management system is presided over by priests in the water temples and emsures co-operation between villages. UNESCO has recognised the importance of this system of farming to the common heritage of humanity and subak and the rice fields have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. more information about UNESCO’s choice is here: www.whc.unesco.org

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Uluwatu Fire Dance

Uluwata Temple on the south coast of Bali hosts daily performances of the Kekac (Fire) Dance. Mainly for tourists, the dance is a story-telling performance based on traditional tales and involves melodrama, humour and fantastic costumes. The Monkey King was particularly athletic and exciting to watch as he leapt around madly. We were extremely privileged to have “back-stage” access to watch the performers preparing and resting between scenes. I had expected them to be in a room to get ready, instead they were camped out in the concrete areas underneath the stands, sitting on the ground and balancing mirrors anywhere they could. It was fascinating to have that kind of access although it did mean I missed most of the performance – including unfortunately the pyrotecnics! Shooting at extremely high ISO settings was a challenge as the images are very noisy but not using flash captures a completely different side to the night and is considerably less intrusive for the very patient performers.

Despite the performances being a daily event, the actors attacked their roles with such energy, humour and spectacle that it seemed really fresh. Next time I’m in Bali I’m planning to attend and watch the entire show.

For the complete photostory please follow this link: Kekac Dance

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Bathing at Pura Tirta Empul – Bali

Pura Tirta Empul water temple, is near the village of Tampak Siring in Bali; its sacred spring attracting worshippers who bathe there for healing and spiritual merit. It is believed that the god Indra created the spring after his forces had been poisoned and created a “fountain of immortality” to bring them back to life. The Balinese have been bathing here for more than a thousand years.

The main rectangular pool is made from carved stone with spring water cascading from twelve fountains. It’s filled with koi and the remains of offerings float on the surface. After making the offering at the temple, the bathers immerse themselves and pray. Some collect holy water to take home to their own temples. It’s a beautiful to watch and to listen to the cries of shock and laughter from children as young as 18 months.

Visitors are required to wear sarongs and may hire them at the entrance, we had our own sarongs and of course our cameras. The bathers were open and relaxed about being photographed, some of the families also had cameras. We could have (and should have, in the interests of really good images) have gone into the water. I realise that truly immersing myself in a scene, whatever it takes, is the way to really connect with the people you are photographing. Next time!!

More images from my Bali trip are being loaded to my galleries each week.

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Source of information: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/indonesia/bali-pura-tirta-empul

Bali beckons …

I’m fortunate to be involved in a second Momenta Workshop in May, this time in the beautiful setting of Bali. A whistlestop visit to see old friends in Singapore and three days on my own in Ubud before the workshop will allow my jetlag to recede and perhaps (!) I’ll get used to the humidity.

Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali and the setting for “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts, based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m going to watch it again before I go and remind myself of Ubud’s beauty but am hoping people don’t think I’m just another middle-aged woman hot on the trail of Bali healers to sort out my spiritual needs! Not that I’m knocking soul searching and following a path of personal fulfillment (I’ve certainly done enough exploring myself) but don’t we all like to feel unique, not one of the pack?

From Ubud I’ll visit Unesco World Heritage rice fields in the early morning, drive to Petulu to watch the herons roosting at dusk and explore many of the stunning temples that are everywhere in the towns and countryside.  I’ll explore the town and get to know people as they go about their daily business. I’ll learn more about the culture and challenges Bali faces, the impact of mass tourism for example. Pollution is choking the rivers and destroying the beaches, pressure on the water and electricity supply cause hardship and the rice fields are disappearing as farmers sell their land.  The search for paradise has resulted in paradise being spoiled … and I’m only too aware I’m another visitor adding to the burden. But I hope to document this in a meaningful way and will share the good and the bad with you on my return.

Then to Jimbaran in the south; the workshop will be a ten day delight, learning from a small group of passionate, experienced photographers. We’ll share photographic adventures, critique and advise each other, eat delicious Balinese food and learn much more about the island and its people. I can’t wait!

In the absence of images from Bali … (do watch this space) … I’m sharing some from previous trips to Asia.

Vang Vieng_Nam Song River_14

Vang Vieng, Laos


Statues at Shwedagon Pagoda, Tachileik, Myanmar

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New Year Procession, Luang Prabang, Laos


Young worshipper, Tachileik, Myanmar


Dancer in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Phou Khoun Market, Laos

Angkor Wat_Bayon_004

Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat

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Market in Luang Prabang, Laos