Welcome to our Bali and Java photo Tour
We traveled to Javanese and Balinese villages to discover and research their authentic people and rituals. To help you appreciate and tell the story as it is, we are accompanied by award winning local photographers and cultural experts. Private portrait and ritual sessions are arranged with mentoring, giving you quality time to improve your skills and capture your vision without being distracted by tourists or under pressure for time.
- Bali: multiple locations
- Java: Jogjakarta, Solo, Bromo Tengger Semeru national park
Photography level: all levels
- It’s a journey tailored for photographers, that lets you focus on what you love and allows for genuine, respectful cultural immersion. We will coach with an emphasis on storytelling and portraiture.
14 days itinerary (including arrival and depature days)
Bali, Jogjakarta, Solo, Bromo
The main itinerary is easy to follow for all levels of skills and fitness. We will bring you closer to the authentic beauty and culture of Balinese and Javanese people, offer many opportunities for portraiture with natural or artificial light, coach your composition and approach to the story.
Day 1 & 2
Day 1: Arrival in Denpasar, Bali’s international airport. Pickup and transport to our resort for orientation and dinner. You will meet our local cultural expert and cultural guide, and Sony/Leica ambassador and renown expert Sandy Wijaya, who will accompany us during all this journey.
Day 2: We drive north to a secluded village to meet and take portrait of a legendary Legong dancer in this part of Bali. After lunch, continuation of our portrait shoot, focusing on ANCIENT LEGONG dance meaning, and movements. The dance is considered one of the island’s most revered classical pieces, known for its physically demanding postures and fast-paced movements which require a significant level of flexibility among its generally young female performers. Choreographed to a set pattern with the finest detail, the dance has been well-preserved through generations. We will have an early dinner then proceed to a remote village to witness a private Puppet Sacred Dance, a trance ceremony. Unique to this village and only witnessed by Nat Geo in 1931 and 1959, undiscovered since. Dance is often used to save villagers from diseases. Late finish and return to hotel.
After breakfast we will visit Wayan Dirga, prominent sacred Balinese mask artisan in Ubud, a lontar writer and philosopher. Environmental portrait shooting and his daily life around his house/workshop. Later in the afternoon we will assist a Fire Horse dance: Sanghyang or Hyang is an important type of spirit entity in ancient mythology When this spirit or unseen force is invited to enter the dancer’s body, the Balinese call it Sanghyang Dance. Then, when the spirit of “jaran” or horse enters the dancer’s body and performs a horse-like behavior, people call it Sanghyang Jaran Dance (Tari Sanghyang Jaran). Note that we will bring lighting equipment and provide all guidance to such photography, as this event takes place after sunset.
We transit to another area of Bali and check into a heavenly seaside resort, settle and enjoy lunch overlooking the ocean. In the afternoon, we visit a traditional village, weaving lady set, Daha. Tenganan Village is the Oldest Balinese Traditional Village located in Karangasem Regency, east part of Bali. This village is much referred by the cultural literature science of Tenganan Pegringsingan, which is very famous on the island. It has s very unique local community life pattern which is one example of Bali Aga Village culture (Hindu Prehistoric) and different from other countryside in the center Bali. We have exclusive access to meet artisans, artists, and performers. Return to the resort for dinner.
You will learn portraiture, specially using natural light, create beautiful rim-light, bouncing light,…
We return to our traditional village for more portraiture and cultural discoveries. After lunch, transit to Rejang villages, and witness Rejang dances. Rejang itself means “offering”, which is basically offering themselves to the gods. There were even some cases that the dancers lose themselves in the ceremony. Where they have a transcendental experience and reach a higher state of consciousness. Local people believe that Rejang has an important role in a ceremony. The dancers are said to be the heavenly maidens. They come to earth to welcome the gods to bestow protection and prosperity on earth. This dance is usually taught from generation to generation so that the tradition doesn’t stop.
We have exclusive access to a local family and witness the Rejang preparation of a dancer. Portraiture and environmental portrait shooting in the villagers’ house. Rejang dance was created in the 8th-14th century AD This dance is usually performed in temples, or in sanggah (sanctuary) during the ceremony, as a sense of dedication to the ancestors. This dance is performed by women during the ceremony of worship with the position of marching, circling, and also holding hands. After lunch, we will witness Rejang dances in other locations. It is said that the Rejang dancers in Karangasem Village are symbolic to the nymph in the myth of Dewata Nawasanga, a story of a great fight between Gods and giants over holy water of immortality. The stunningly beautiful nymphs were definitely took the side the Gods, giving great support in charming the giants so the Gods finally win the holy water.
Today we take a short fly to Jogjakarta, Java island (under 2 hours). After settling and lunch, we visit old ladies making Batik, old man building puppets. The existence of Yogyakarta batik is closely related to the history of the establishment of the Islamic Mataram kingdom by Panembahan Senopati. After moving the royal center from Demak to Mataram, Panembahan Senopati often meditated along the coastal of Java Island, among others in Parangkusuma to Dlepih Parang Gupito, tracing a thousand mountainous cliffs that looked like “pereng” or cliff march.
We leave quite early to enjoy sunrise in Borobudur, then return for Breakfast, and rest. This famous Buddhist temple, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, is located in central Java. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms, and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,500 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. The monument was restored with UNESCO’s help in the 1970s. After lunch we will tour around the city for casual street photo.
With good weather conditions, this sunset will allow you to take images with statues on the foreground, trees and mist in the mid-ground, and volcanoes in the background.
Short drive to Solo and check in, lunch. On afternoon, we visit the umbrella makers. Ancient ornamental umbrellas from Central Java have long been famous since 12th Century. We will visit the last two umbrella artisans in this village. You will learn how to compose, arrange a scene to tell a story, play with light and lines, curves and angles.
Day 10 - August 17th
A short drive to a larger Batik-making village, witnessing their craft and various photo opportunities. After lunch, we visit a gong factory, where you’ll see how locals build the largest gongs with just basic tools and fire. Afterwards, we visit Wayang Kratas (shadow puppet) maker. Brambang. A grandfather who is currently 91 years old. Even in his old age, he is still a paper puppet craftsman. Besides leather, paper is the raw material for making wayang He persists in preserving culture with his spirit that is at the end of his life.
Early departure for the Bromo national park, and checking into a resort just outside the caldera. After lunch, environmental portrait and portraiture of distinctive faces of Tengerese People. We have access to original, unspoiled Tenger villages, maybe get in their homes, and take portraits at low light.
Leave early morning by 3.00 AM to the crater. Witness the mists shrouding the crater and the surrounding area. We will enjoy Tenger horsemen running, posing, and showcasing their skills. The Tenger people are descendants of loyalists of the Majapahit Empire who resisted Islamization for centuries and were driven further into the mountains after the mass arrival in the area of Moslem Madurese in the 19th century. The Tenger initially numbered 600,000 but over the past decades, many have been assimilated into the dominant immigrant Moslem population.
What makes this journey distinctive?
- Designed in close collaboration with local cultural experts and professional photographers
- Prime access to rituals, to families, to places otherwise non accessible to foreign tourists, all with the proper permissions, avoiding cultural “dont’s”
- Guidance from photographers to help make your images stand out, more dynamic yet realistic
- Minimizing the time in minivans or airplanes, by designing an itinerary that maximizes time on the ground, exploring and learning
- Priced according to the quality of the accommodations and dining venues, as we’ve chosen the best places to stay and eat, and the closest to the action
- Main itinerary is accessible to all and brings lots of culture and beauty, in addition to as much artistic and technical guidance as you can get
- Weather or other circumstances can hinder our experience, so we built alternate locations or activities to avoid wasting time
- Main itinerary dates and pricing on Jim Cline’s page
- Limited to 10 people, all levels of passion, fitness or expertise
- Includes all meals, all transportation (airport pickup and drop-off, air fare, ferry boat, minivans), model and ritual tips, all entrances (Bromo national park, Borobudur)
- Excludes extras, international travel
- Contact us for more details