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    Indonesian Travel Journal: Watching the World Go By

    Seminyak, Bali, at sunset

    I've always enjoyed taking pictures and since moving to Indonesia, I've transitioned from an old, manual 35mm to a pocket digital camera, which makes my hobby even easier. I've been very busy snapping pictures every place I've gone, from volcanoes to jungles to beaches and everywhere in between. It's exciting to be able to see so many new and, to my eye, exotic scenes. With a digital camera, it's a breeze to take fifty shots of the same sunset, hoping that one of them will be representative of what I actually saw at that place and at that time. I spend a good deal of time changing the settings and the angles, searching for that one exceptional shot. And I've started to realize that by trying to capture the moment, I often risk missing it.

    This first occurred to me in May when I went on my first ever jungle trek. When we encountered a mother orangutan and her baby, I snapped happily away, until I realized I wasn't actually looking directly at them. It was then that I stopped, put my camera away, and watched the baby climb up and down a skinny tree trunk, looking for a way over to the next tree, where his mother waited patiently, keeping one eye on her offspring's progress and one eye on the tourists below. It was such an awesome sight that it brought tears to my eyes.  

    Since then, I can't say that I've stopped obsessively trying for that one perfect photograph. But I have remembered, whenever I've seen something awe inspiring, to put the camera away for at least a few minutes, to take some deep breaths, and to truly look at the scene before me. It's served me well. For the photographs of my memory are more than simple images; they encompass all of my senses. When I close my eyes, all of my senses remember what it felt like to stand in the middle of a dark, dense, and wet jungle or to gaze out at the sun setting over crashing waves and a long, sandy beach, or to stand in the dark, wet cold on top of a mountain, waiting for a sunrise that wouldn't come through the rain. The pictures I have to share with friends. The memories are my own prized possessions.


    Since I have them to share, here are some shots of my most recent trip--to the lovely island of Bali:





    Thanks for posting those gorgeous photos, Orlando. I noticed the phenomenon you mentioned when I was the official videographer of my family. I finally realized, after looking at footage that I was SEEING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME even though I had dutifully gotten it on film.

    You are wise to just be present to what is around you, but I am glad that you snap enough for the rest of us to vicariously enjoy your wonderful experiences.

    What CVille said! And what quinn said! So glad you're taking the time to stop and smell the sunset.

    Never, ever miss the experience, Orlando (I used to make that mistake, too) but thank you for taking and sharing these wonderful pics. What is that spectacular place in the top photo? What kind of monkey is that oh so charming visitor? Is it a Vervet? Do you remember what settings you used for that spectacular sunset shot?  Thanks again.  

    Just beautiful!!

    And I love your minkey too!!!



    Do you have a leeesanse for your minkey?

    This really has been a wonderful series, Orlando.

    Thanks for the nice comments, everyone!

    The photo at the top of the post and the photo at the bottom were both taken at Seminyak, Bali, on the west coast, obviously!

    The second photo is the Hindu temple Tanah Lot.

    The next two are of rice patties, the first on the west coast and the second in the interior of the island.

    The rocky beach is in Candidasa, on the east coast. 

    The money is one of hundreds of long-tailed macaques that live in the Monkey Forest of Ubud. Also of the Macaca fame, although curiously enough I did not see a resemblance to twenty-something Democratic campaign workers.

    The flower is a water lily from an enormous koi pond in front of another Hindu temple in Ubud. Also, just outside the Ubud Starbucks. 

    The pictures are beautiful, Orlando. I'm particularly drawn to the shots of the sea and what an interesting flower.  Does is smell as sweet as it looks?

    But one caveat:  I've been scanning old slides from the 60s and photos both older and more recent than the slides.  I have found that the ones that mean the most are the ones with people in them.  Be sure to get a lot of pictures that include the people you know and love.

    I can't comment on the smell of the flower since I couldn't get close enough to smell it. But the yellow part looked just like a cupcake sitting in the middle of the petals. Also, thanks for the advice and don't worry! I also take plenty of pictures of people! 

    When I first saw the picture of the flower I thought the yellow part in the middle looked like a banana slice, myself.  Orlando, your photography just keeps getting better and better.  Thanks for sharing Bali with us.


    Gorgeous.  Lucky you!

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