Bali and Java culture and landscape photography tour, 16-22 January 2023
January 2023 is a month of celebrations in Bali! The Kuningan celebration starts marking the most beautiful holiday in Bali. All villages will be nicely dressed with penjor – long bamboo poles with traditional decorations. In villages one can observe processions with offerings, live Rejang dances. We will use this opportunity traveling with local experienced guides to show us the hidden culture of Bali in smaller and less known traditional villages. It is a perfect trip for those who wants to practice in multiple genres of photography: portrait, street, landscape and travel. I am sure you will bring back home not just warm memories of sacred Bali Island – island of Gods – but a whole portfolio worth a book about Balinese culture and landscape. During this intense one-week workshop we will have multiple stages with people dressed in rich traditional costumes, stages with Barong and Rejang dancers just for our group in perfectly situated locations of old temples, banyan trees and waterfalls. Besides that, you can practice street photography, Balinese people are very friendly to photographers who respect and value their heritage. We will not miss a single sunrise in Bali as well because in June they are majestic: rice terraces overviewing Mount Agung, traditional boats in endless warm ocean. Seven days we will be busy from sunrise to sunset with a little time left for post processing and critique sessions.
Enjoy luxury accommodation in one of the best hotels in Ubud area. After this intense workshop you may consider staying few days at the ocean resort enjoying sea sand and sun. It makes this trip perfect for couples and all levels of photographers – even your partners/ kids will enjoy performances, culture experience you can get during this workshop.
Day 1, January 16
Arrival to Bali (no quarantine needed, visa on arrival is back for many countries). Qatar airways, Singapore airlines is the best choice, but you may arrive on any flight, we will organize a transfer for you to our luxury resort in Sidemen area, located in quiet tropical paradise, rural and cultural heart of Bali.
We start the day with first rays of light on Mount Agung exploring rice terraces of traditional Sidemen Village. We invite local people beautifully dressed to add a live atmosphere to already remarkable landscape, chasing Rays of Light. So you will have a choice to photograph landscape with people for the scale and a spice of tradition or close up/portraits with Mount Agung on the background.
Traveling through narrow streets of Bali on our spacious comfortable minibuses we stop to photograph penjor decorations.
Penjor is a symbol of Gunung Agung, mighty volcano mountain in eastern Bali. It is the home of the Gods and the Ancestors. It is believed to represent the spiritual Hindu Mount Mahameru, which symbolised the whole universe. So the very top of penjor pole represents Mount Agung, and the stem are all the rivers flowing down to the ocean, and feeding the earth. But it is just one of the possible meanings of penjor. In another interpretation penjor represents mighty dragon deities called Nagas. Dragons symbolise of the earthly needs of humankind or water, prosperity and safety. The sacred meaning of the penjor is in the of every Balinese person, that’s why every home in traditional villages trying to put the most beautifully decorated penjor outside in the street making it look like straight from fairy tale.
In the afternoon we visit another village for stage photoshoot at Live Rejang dance ceremony. We continue to a village where we enjoy live rejang dance! This Balinese dance is a part of tradition and religious ceremony for the local people. Young woman dressed in great costumes with headdresses will appear in the inner courtyard of the ancient temple. Rejang is also one of the holiest sacrificial dances to entertain the visiting gods and spirits, it translates as “offering”. Balinese believe that the spirit of ngayah (spirit of cooperation) will guide them to perform the dance harmoniously, so dancers don’t train before performance! Rejang dance is accompanied by Balinese traditional musical instruments – Gong Kebyar and Gamelan Selonding. These instruments will add the charm and magical atmosphere of Rejang dance. We have a lot of opportunities to photograph dance in action and then staged performance just for our group.
Today’s “sunrise in the office” will be at one of my most favorite landscape spots – rice terraces very close to Mount Agung. Easily accessible viewpoint surrounded by flowers offering variety of foregrounds. In the afternoon we will visit one of the hidden waterfalls and arrange locals in traditional outfit in the tropical paradise.
In the afternoon we visit local ceremonies and photograph traditional Balinese culture.
Sunrise in Kintamani at lake Batur. Pinggan Jati temple is nicely located at Lake Batur offering a great sunrise setting. Of course we will arrange a beautiful cultural scene at the temple just for guests of our workshop.
In the afternoon we will have something very special – Barong dance at the ancient Goa Garba Temple. We will use light stands, fog, rich and beautiful costumes – all in private setting of our group.
Sunrise will start from a staged photo session at Tamblingan Lake. It is the lake in the North of Bali, often misty at sunrise. There’s a small temple at the shore often half flooded. With traditional boats in the lake we will get wonderful photographs from this misty morning. Just after sunrise we visit my most favorite waterfall in Bali and arrange Legong dance performance just at the waterfall!
In the afternoon we visit one of the biggest Ancient Trees in Bali for a very special mask / Baris dance photoshoot.
Sunrise location for today is Pulagan – wonderful rice terraces with the view to Mount Agung. Around Pulagan we will shoot the most beautiful Penjor streets in Bali! You can spot many rural scenes staying here for a while.
After sunrise and nice breakfast we pack and depart on the afternoon flight to Java! We visit Java for a wonderful Bromo volcano. Just an hour of short flight Denpasar to Surabaya and a couple of hours driving to our hotel located at the Bromo crater rim! We take our chances to do night photography in Bromo too!
Day 7, 22 January
The ultimate attraction and the reason why photographers travel from far and wide to Mount Bromo is its spectacular sunrise. From a vantage point the sun rises magnificently and hot majestic Mount Bromo with first rays, while the surrounding mountain ranges create an almost surreal atmosphere. It takes about a little over an hour to drive to this vantage point. No hiking involved – we drive to the most spectacular viewpoint. The sun rises at about 5.30am
After sunrise we will photograph horses with local riders in the dust rays at the Sea of Sands. In the afternoon we will have post processing workshops, instructions on night photography. We go rest early because we will wake up in the night to photograph stars at Mount Bromo!
At 2,392 meters high, Mount Bromo is not amongst the tallest of Indonesia’s mountains but its stunning beauty lies in its incredible setting. Located some 4 hours drive from Surabaya, the capital city of East Java, Mount Bromo is part of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park that covers a huge area of 800 sq km.
Standing majestically inside the huge caldera of the once ancient Mount Tengger, Mount Bromo is surrounded by a vast stretching sea of volcanic sand that radiated a certain mystical beauty. Mount Bromo and the Tengger area is also the home of the Tengger sub-ethnic group who still preserve their age-old traditions and way of life. Here, you can observe the unique indigenous culture and traditions of the ‘Tenggerese’ including their rituals and ceremonies.
After the breakfast and rest at hotel we will head to the Surabaya airport to fly back home.
You can book your outbound flight after 4 p.m. departing from Surabaya (via Jakarta or Denpasar, or via Singapore). 4:25 pm flight to Bali is also ok!
Total price: Please fill in the booking form below for details
Single supplement: 750 USD
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Where do we stay:
We stay at Luxury resorts in Sidemen and Ubud – quiet cultural capital of Bali with 30 min to 1:30h drive to our locations. Traveling with spacious vans latest models – only all window seats.
- Accommodation double/twin rooms sharing (singles available upon request with single supplement),
- all meals (three per day) and non-alchohol drinks,
- all transportation during the tour, including ferry to Nusa Penida
- photography tuition,
- entrance fees and all local taxes.
Not included in the price:
– Airfare to Bali
– Local flight Bali to Surabaya, Java (around 100 USD)
– Visas (if applicable)
– Single supplement
What to bring
– DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
– A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40. Best lens for use in wide-angle scenes or architecture photography
– A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
– A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm. Be sure to have additional tripod mount to this lens.
– Set of filters for seascape photography: ND 3, 6, 10 stop and CPL filters
Landscape and travel photographer based in Bali, Indonesia. Partner with Iceland photo tours, instagram @Danielkordan with 1.8 Million followers, Nikon and Gitzo ambassador.
Travel and Landscape photographer, local guide from Bali.