Get Out on the Road!

When I get over to the island of Bali, more often than not, I like to get out on the road as much as possible and away from the mania that is the tourist strip of Kuta/Legian. Of course it’s great to chill-out by the pool in your hotel or whatever accommodation you choose, drinking a few Bintang’s and in general, meeting people and relaxing. This is some people’s choice of a relaxing holiday and I have known some folk that never leave their hotel. Those people I feel sorry for because although, after returning home, tell their friends “Oh we went to Bali for our holidays”, they in fact didn’t. Sure they landed at Denpasar Airport, received the complimentary shuttle bus to their hotel, booked-in and cemented themselves on the premises, but, that is not seeing or holidaying in Bali. You have to get out of the tourist drag and into the countryside to ‘feel’, ‘see’ and ’listen’ to the beauty that is Bali. A majority of tourists embark on guided tours, organised by their hotel or by private charter.

The best way, in my opinion of course, is to hire a car or bemo or maybe even a motorbike. Doing road trips this way gives you the advantage of stopping when you want, going where you want, doing what you want and eating where you want instead of being tied to the regimentation of a guided tour. What I find the most interesting when on a road trip are the things you see on the side of the road. I enjoy taking photos from the moving vehicle and you will be surprised at some of the great photos you get by doing this. If you have a digital camera then set it on fast speed, and click to your heart’s content. One tip though, just make sure the windscreen is clean! Here is what I normally do:

1. Keep a close eye on what is ahead of you.

2. Set the subject in the view of your camera and ‘lock-in to it.

3. As you approach the subject and you feel happy with what you see, then take the photo.

4. Never wait until the last second to snap the photo. I have missed so many great opportunities just by hanging on to the final second.

Bali is a photographer’s place of delight. The colours, the people and the culture is awesome. If you are in a temple and taking photos, then be respectful of any ceremonies taking place and never get in the way of any of the ceremonial participants. Many times I have seen tourists virtually shove their camera in the face of a priest (pedanda) or walked in front of Balinese folk praying. This is a big no-no. When you are out in the country then it is always a good idea to ask people’s permission before taking their photo. In the main, most Balinese will be obliging. Then there are those delightful discoveries along the road that make the day enjoyable.