Story by David Metcalf

Bali-based photographer David Metcalf captures the magic and wonder of Indonesia while traveling across Kalimantan, Java and Bali.

THE SAND SEA – BROMO AREA , EAST JAVA – Many photos are taken in the Mount Bromo area of East Java, but they are mostly of the classic sunrise from the viewpoints high above the crater.

I took this photo much closer to the village trying to emphasize the grandeur of the area as a lone horseman starts to make his way along the valley floor, as the sun starts to brighten up the morning.d

ISEN MULANG FESTIVAL, CENTRAL KALIMANTAN – Photography should never be too serious.

When photographing parades and festivals in this country, I try to capture the spirit and the humour of the occasion. These University students loved to play up to the camera with a bit of shock and awe. The expressions of laughter on the faces of the ladies in the crowd behind help give this photo some extra flavour.

BALI SPIRIT FESTIVAL – Event photography is very challenging as you have to work with different, quickly changing light and subjects sometimes moving quickly around the stage.

I was very happy with this photo as the timing of the dancers’ movements synchronised perfectly with the colourful lights that seemed to emerge from his hat. A slower shutter speed gives a sense of movement.

SYMMETRY – These ladies were dancing for the gods at a temple ceremony in the Ubud area of Bali.

I focused on the dancer in the front and used a narrow depth of field so the dancers behind would not be in focus, creating a special effect. May to June is a very busy time for temple ceremonies, or Odalon’s, on the island and a wonderful time to experience Balinese culture.

BALI KIDS – These kids were very excited as they were about to perform the Kecak dance for the first time in their lives, in a small village near Ubud.

The girls seemed unfazed by the crazy boy energy all around them. This photo draws you into all the facial expressions which was the intention.

BATUR – The sky does not always have to be blue and clear for effective landscape photography.

This was a rainy, misty morning at Kintamani – a 40-minute drive from Ubud. I liked the way the clouds were gathering around Batur Volcano. I used a maximum depth of field to get the foreground and main subject in focus.

COLOUR – During certain times of the year, the villages can come alive with vibrant colours on the Island of the Gods.

Just before Galungan these bamboo poles called Penjors were erected in front of every home and they remained for approximately six weeks as a way to welcome the Gods into the villages and streets.These women were returning to their family temples with offerings adding even more colour to this photograph.

BALI MAGIC – A typical morning in the Bali countryside as the mist infiltrates the palm trees and the towering shape of Gunung Agung. The sacred Volcano looms above the landscape

Bali is a photographer’s paradise, especially for landscapes, if one is willing to get up early enough to capture the sun’s first rays.

A MAN AND HIS FOREST – I spend a lot of time in Kalimantan and nothing gives me more satisfaction than hanging out with my Dayak friends in the original forests.

This is always a special time for them also as they connect with the natural environment, the rivers and the trees that contain the spirits of their ancestors. I think this photograph is quite thought-provoking as this Dayak man looks with great admiration into the forests near his home; perhaps wondering how long they will remain this way. Armed with a spear to provide food and a Sape (traditional Dayak guitar) to produce music for the soul and surrounded by the oldest rainforest on the planet, what more does a man need?

AGED WISDOM – I do a lot of indoor portrait photography, using natural light which is both challenging and rewarding.

I think this is an important way to connect with the soul and spirit of the person and this is what I try to communicate through the lens. This old lady from the Dayak Kenyah tribe of North Borneo was happy to be my model – only if she were to receive a copy of the photo.

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