As a surf photographer, we often travel through amazingly rich agricultural landscapes. This is especially so in Indonesia.
It was about 5:30pm, we were on a road trip from Southern Bali to the North. After 2 hours of riding we crossed paths with this rice field. The sun had begun descending towards the horizon, silhouetting the trees
The sunlight shining its way through the branches, highlighted by the smoke of burning harvest remanence.
By 6pm, the bright orange and red colours had melted away into the night sky. The water throughout the rice field stilled, at rest from the farmers stirring footsteps earlier that day.
It was a moment of both appreciation and respect for the traditional balinese rice farmer.
The empty rice field reminiscent of perhaps simpler times when we once all existed in cohesion with the land.
Dependant on nothing but the seasons and familiar faces.
5:30am, I woke to the sound of waves, crashing heavily on the shore. This was rare, as we lived nearly 10 minutes inland from the nearest beach.
The surf forecasts showed 12ft and only a few surfers were towing into the surf break named Uluwatu. I decided to get all of my surf photography equipment and head for a Cliff that overlooked Bingin, in South Bali. The waves were some of the biggest I’d ever seen in the area.
Luckily one surfer had paddled out, giving a sense of scale. You can see him on the face of the wave if you look closely. The waves were coming in so quickly, standing tall on the shallow reefs of the balinese Bukit surf breaks. The larger set waves vibrated through the sea into the ground. You could feel it standing on the shore. Instilling fear in even the most skilled surfers bearing witness that day.
Wind and swell direction both immaculate. The unique perspective and angle of the cliff allowed me to photograph this same swell line break simultaneously in both Bingin and Dreamland Beach. A rare occurrence at this size.
“For Bingin, It was Big. Really Big. – Dodge Haruman (Local)”
Far north, nestled amongst the mountains and agricultural lands of Bali is Danau Batur.
A freshwater lake that provides sustenance to surrounding towns and villages. This photograph captures a weathered blue fibreglass canoe, belonging to a fisherman of the Pure Kawitan Dalem Dasar temple.
Each day, the local fisherman has departed and returned to this same spot amongst the reeds of the lake’s edge for over a decade.
Without a fridge or freezer, he only catches enough fish to sustain his family and/or trade for other consumables like rice or vegetables.
An Exemplary survival model of simpler times, where we once co-existed with the circle of life on a more sustainable level.
In today’s modern society, I couldn’t walk past this canoe without capturing the beautiful simplicity of this man’s life. A constant reminder to appreciate what we have and only take what we really need in this world.
The Island of the Gods, a surf photographer’s dream.
The Island of the Gods is a land where the focus from its people is on balance, strong karmic belief and giving thanks. The surfing mecca provides waves almost year round.
The view from the cliffs is often highlighted by luminescent aqua colours as seen in this image.
Surfing is best in Bali through the dry season (April – September) on the West coast. However, wet season still produces great surfing in various locations when the trade winds swing during October – November.
Wet season transfers the islands surfers and surf photographers attention to the East coast.
On the West coast waves peel down the reef as far as the eye can see. Sunlight for Surf photography is best on the west coast breaks from morning to midday as the sun rises behind you.
Consistency and perfect waves of these surf breaks during the dry season compliments the name ‘Island of the Gods’ perfectly in addition to its rich Cultural attributes.
Thousands of Hindu temples and constant ceremonies of prayer and offerings led Bali to be named ‘Island of the gods’. Statues of various gods are constructed throughout the island at main road intersections. The most prominent gods of Bali are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
The most internationally recognised god is ‘Bhoma’, often depicted on clothing and wooden ornaments.
Balinese prayer occurs sometimes up to 4 or 5 times a day in an effort to praise the gods with offerings of biscuits, rice, flowers and sometimes small notes or coins of rupiah.
All temples in Bali must be completely exposed to the rain, they cannot be touched by rain that has run off another building or house. When rain touches anything man made on its descent from the heavens it is considered impure.
Scattered along the beaches and lands of this image are hundreds of temples, created by communities with very little wealth. The core morals and message of it all being to give thanks, care for others like you would yourself. A beautiful message for the rest of the world.
As a surf photographer with immense appreciation for this Island. I hope you enjoy this image as much as I enjoyed capturing it.
The beauty of a nighttime moonlit wave has always been depicted by Indonesian painters down the streets and Lanes of poppies 1 and poppies 2 in Kuta, Indonesia.
It is from these Indonesian artists concepts that I drew inspiration. As a surf photographer, the idea of bringing a wave to life in what seems to be the middle of the night has always been a distant goal. Until now.
Surf Photography is constantly evolving, thanks to the capabilities of editing software and camera hardware these days in 2019. The quality of the sensors and detail retention when enlarging for print is mesmerizing.
This photo is of Padang Padang in Bali, Indonesia.
The wave is often highlighted during the day by green, aqua and golden refractions from the sun. Making it a perfect subject for editing and modifying and finally achieving similar results to the artists painting waves of the night on the streets of Kuta some 30 years ago.
This particular wave is not the most desirable as far as surfing goes but definitely still shows the beautiful events that continue to happen in this world whilst we are sleeping.
Swimming out at Padang for shots is always a breeze, however it is the return to shore which is usually hindered by the rushing currents of the channel out to sea. Especially on an outgoing tide. Most surf photographers either come in either via Thomas beach or by swimming across the reef if the tide is low enough.
Padang is such a powerful location. The waves break consistently along the sharp and jagged reef. Rolling to a stop at the bottom of these beautiful silhouetted cliffs. Eventually, receding to break once more another day.
This inside wave, breaking amongst the foam of previous, larger waves. In the dark, unbeknown to those that sleep.
One of the many ‘Midnight insides’ that broke that evening.
Copyright by Troy Lyndon Massey 2019. All rights reserved.
Copyright by Troy Lyndon Massey 2019. All rights reserved.