I write extensively throughout this blog about Bali. It would be easy to say – This is Bali, but there are so many sides to the “Island of Gods“. If you prefer Bali is also “Paradise Island”. How your refer to Bali all depends on why you visit. If you travel to Bali with an open mind and open heart, it is quite possible to have a travel experience you never expected and even an experience of a lifetime. In other words, you can have everything Bali has to offer.
Bali is beaches, beach resorts and the vast Indian Ocean that can sometimes be unforgiving. Bali is sacred temples, some of which date back seven hundred years. Bali is some sort of ceremony every day of the week. Bali is the jungle and the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. Bali is creativity and the Balinese’s openness to share. Bali is motorbikes zooming past you in rapid fire. Bali is lush green rice terraces and palm trees.
Bali is spicy food. Bali is the great sense of humor of the Balinese. Bali is friendly and welcoming. Bali is rich in tradition. Bali is Balinese Hinduism. Bali is winding roads through lush green tropical plants and foliage. Bali is peaceful and quiet. Bali is yoga and meditation. Bali is art. Bali is woodcarving and basket weaving. Bali is spiritual offerings to the gods.
Bali is anything you want it to be quite honestly. I think what you experience in Bali is entirely up to you.
The first time I visited I went on a whim. I had just traveled to Bhutan and Bangkok and thought “What the heck? I’m close enough I might as well go to Bali.” I stayed in Ubud and didn’t venture much further than a fabulous resort. I did meet Ketut Leyir in person and saw a rice field, but that was it. I left Bali wondering what all the fuss was about as it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. The truth is, however, I didn’t take the time to know Bali.
For some odd reason I was drawn back to Bali during another trip to Asia. I can’t tell you why I thought I had to go. I just did. Instead of staying in Ubud, I stayed in Nusa Dua at the Conrad. I love the Conrad, by the way.
There must have been an invisible hand guiding me during this trip as I was led to a full moon ceremony in a small village. It was in this village when I met Gede. And in an instant, both my world changed and so did Gede’s. It is because of Gede that my love for Bali began. He is my touchstone to Bali. Gede is my teacher of everything Bali and Balinese Hinduism. I owe a debt of gratitude to Gede. That was five years ago and our friendship turned to brotherhood.
My best suggestion to you as you consider if Bali is the right destination for you is go. Make the long trek to Bali. Travel with no expectations. Travel with an open mind and an open heart. And once you are in Bali, let her take you in her arms and take care of you. Let Bali and the Balinese teach you. Your peace and happiness are already inside of you. Allow Bali to bring those elements of life out of you.
Bali is a treasure trove of travel photography moments. Consider the following iPhone travel photography tips for your next journey.
22 Travel Photography Tips And Tricks
1. Do Your Research
While planning your trip, make a note of destinations that are beautiful. Find out if they are easy to get to and what sort of transportation you’ll need. Will you need a permit for the area? Figure out the logistics ahead of time so you don’t run into problems after you’re already there.
2. Get Inspiration From Others
The best way to learn is through others. Look at other photographer’s blogs and social media to see if they’ve been to the location you’re visiting. As you look at photos, create a bucket list of places you’d like to photograph while exploring. And make note of the composition and angles to capture.
3. Practice At Home
You don’t need to travel far to practice your travel photography skills. Look up local attractions and go visit them with your camera. Learn how the light works in natural settings compared to more industrial ones.
4. Travel Light
You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) bring every camera accessory you have with you on your journey. Not only will they be heavy to lug around, but there’s a danger of losing or forgetting pieces behind. Bring only the key items such as the camera, a charger and memory cards.
5. Charge Your Equipment The Night Before
Make sure everything is charged and ready to go before you set out for the day. Bring along 2-3 extra charged batteries for your camera and external flash.
6. Learn A Few Words In The Native Language
If you’re going to a foreign country where the language is not your own, try learning a few phrases. Things like “hello”, “thank you” and “Can I take your photo?” will go a long way and might lead to a better photograph.
7. Listen To The Locals
Ask the locals where the best places to shoot are. Ask about their favorite photo spot and they’ll likely be excited to share the wonders of their home. Be sure to be respectful of their space and leave them alone if they’re not interested in talking with you.
8. Follow Basic Photo Rules
If you’re a beginner photographer, take some time to learn the basics. When taking photos, keep in mind guidelines like the rule of thirds and your depth of field. Learning photography terms will help you take better quality photos.
9. Get Candid Shots
Not all your shots should be posed and planned out. Try a variety of angles, capturing candids. Take photos of everything, the one you least expect may be the one that ends up the best.
10. Give Yourself Time
When shooting, make sure you give yourself plenty of time at the location. A time crunch will lead to blurry and rushed photos. Leave yourself enough time to set up, learn what setting your camera should be on and find the right light. This may mean starting your days earlier than normal.
11. Embrace Golden Hour
Lighting is everything. Make sure you know the different sunrise and sunset times of the location you’re at. Even places only a few hours away can differ. It may also be helpful to know what direction the landmark is facing that you’re trying to photograph so you can plan to be there when it’s in full light.
12. Get A New Angle
If you’re visiting a place that’s been photographed thousands of times, try a new angle. Find hidden details that aren’t always noticed like paintings on the ceiling. Shoot through an alleyway that frames the photo or move around and try to find a new vision.
13. Stay In The Moment
Don’t overthink the shot. Stay in the moment and go with the flow. Don’t be afraid to switch around your schedule to get a good photo.
14. Take Notes
Bring a small notebook with you as you travel and when you take photos to make sure you’re noting the place and your camera settings. This will help you later on as you go back to see what worked and what didn’t.
15. Be Wary Of The Weather
Look at the weather forecast if you’re shooting outdoors. Remember, just because it’s raining or snowing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Sometimes a foggy backdrop can reflect the light and make for an even better photo.
16. Bring Secure Bags With Locks
You’ve probably invested a lot in your camera and accessories, so make sure they are kept safe. Bring a camera bag with you that has a lot of padding and can be locked.
17. Backup Your Photos
Every time you return to home base, whether that be a hotel or friend’s home, make sure you backup your photos. This will free up space on your camera and will keep your images safe.
18. Always Bring A Camera When You Can
Bring your camera with you wherever you go. The perfect shot could be where you least expect it. This will also let you document your whole trip, not just parts.
19. Be Respectful Of Your Environment
You may be visiting this place but to others, it’s home. Be respectful of the people and animals you meet along your journey.
20. Get Lost
Get out of your comfort zone and a venture off the beaten path. Try finding something unique to photograph. Get a little lost.
21. Share Your Work
Once you’ve returned from your trip, make sure your photos don’t just sit on the memory card or computer. Share them by creating a photo board on your wall or styling a travel photo book.
22. Print Everything Ahead Of Time.
Before you start your travels, don’t forget to print your boarding passes, itinerary and other documents just in case your phone isn’t working properly. By printing everything ahead of time, you do not have to wait in any lines, worry about the digital kiosks in the airport or lack of wifi connection
Travel photography is a fun way to document your trips. It allows you to take your stories home and share them with friends and family. Try creating a collage with a photo collage app and sharing your experiences on social media.