I had been very lucky this year. Despite holding full time employment (as a member of the public service no less!), I had been able to go on several overseas trips this year. This time round, Bali, Indonesia was to be my destination for the next 5 days. As is my wont, I brought my OMD with the pancake 14-42mm kit zoom for general purpose shots with a MSC 45mm 1.8 prime to serve as my low light companion.
After a rather uneventful flight (no window seat shots as I was seated in the middle row, unfortunately), I was greeted by an utterly chaotic scene that was the Bali immigration checkpoint at Denpasar. I was later informed that I had arrived during the island’s peak season. Photo ops were far and few between due to the need to juggle my luggage and to look for my driver. That same night however, the driver brought me to an excellent restaurant (the name escapes me) where I had a sumptuous carbonara that was prepared to luscious perfection (disclaimer, I was rather hungry at that point in time so my judgement may have been impaired).My prime lens was activated first, with the candle lit conditions straining the light gathering abilities of the lens and the in body stabilisation to the limit. Nevertheless, I managed to snap a series of shots at about 1/30 to 1/60 shutter speeds with the lens wide open at ISO 1600-3200.
On the second day, my OMD had to take a backseat to my day’s activities, since the body, while water resistant, would not survive a day out surfing. I lamented the lack of photo ops in the day but was able to call on my trusty camera at night once more when my companions were fooling around to document the moments. It was at times like these when a dedicated camera and the know how works wonders over a phone camera, which in the dim light would only have offered blurry photos (without flash).
On the third day, I was determined not to let my camera’s existence go to waste and brought the OMD and zoom lens for my white water rafting trip (albeit mostly in a waterproof bag). The camera came in handy during the brief stops at picturesque locations where we could document the moment of the trip. Wet hands and the spray from the waterfalls did not deter me from taking photos with the OMD as I trusted in the weather sealing of the body (take note the lens is not weather sealed and I was taking a greater risk there). The white water rafting location did not disappoint, and I certainly was rewarded in taking the leap of faith and bringing the camera along with me as I had plenty of scenic backdrops with which to pose my willing subjects.
The penultimate day came with a vengeance. It started at an unholy time of 1am as we had to undertake a 3 hour drive to Mount Batur from Seminyak, Bali. When we arrived at the base of the mountain at 4am, we looked at our guides with bleary eyes as they handed out headlamps and walking sticks (carbon fibre, no less). We trudged up the mountain paths in the dark, the path ahead illuminated only by the headlamps. Sadly, my fitness levels were no longer what they once were (I must say I am now twice the man I once was, and I don’t mean my courage), and the journey up was sorely testing my limits. Nevertheless, I was able to reach the summit with my group and we huddled together in the face of strong, cold mountain winds as we awaited sunrise. Seizing the opportunity to take some environmental group portraiture, I was able to do some light painting while exposing for the stars.
The sunrise struck the summit with its searing beauty. The entire mountain and its surroundings, for that short hour, was bathed in golden light. I made the most of the hour, running about spotting and getting keepers for the trip. Certainly, the lacklustre trip (in terms of my photography) thus far was more than made up for during this one hour.
The rest of the day passed quickly with shopping, and another uneventful flight followed. Til my next trip, Japan!