I’m finally finding the time to write about my trip to Bali, where my wife and I finished 2011 in style by spending just under a week enjoying the island.  We stayed in Seminyak, an area in the south and home to some great restaurants, spas, and resorts.  We arrived late in the evening and spent our first day lounging at the pool to figure out what where we wanted to go, but after that passed we were soon out and about taking pictures of the beautiful island.

We knew that we wanted to see several temples, and on our second day we hired a driver who took us up north to the large temple of Pura Besakih, sometimes known as the Mother Temple.  We paid a small entry fee and had a guide take us around, as there are certain areas of the temple that you’re not allowed to enter.

I started out trying to get some general shots of the overall temple structure as we approached, and it’s large.  The entire temple structure consists of over 18 temples and there are areas that were initially constructed as early as the 11th century.  The mountain in the background is known as Mt. Agung and creates an imposing backdrop for the image.  Here’s an image from part way up the temple looking out; quite a view!

When I take pictures at temples like these I like to try and get some detail shots as well.  While the overall structure is incredible, there’s a lot of opportunity to get some great images of the statues and idols that are all around the temple.  I took the photo below with a very traditional composition; the statue to the right is looking right at you while the white statue in the back left is slightly blurred out (due to the aperture setting).

The picture above is similar but with a slightly different look; the statue in the back is in focus and the blur is on the statue towards the front (which is also facing to the right, looking out of the frame).  There are so many different compositional options in a temple like this – it’s honestly a photographer’s playground.  I like to spend a lot of time walking around and trying different options until I get some images I’m happy with.

Further inside the temple I took some additional pictures of the temple towers; in the first one I liked the pattern that the squares created on the ground.  In the second one I framed one of the temple towers amongst some of the other temples.

The clouds on the day were a bit overcast and quickly changing.  I took many of the photos knowing that I would convert them to HDR pictures in post processing.  I particularly like some of these images below as we got closer to the main temple area and the stairs that form the center piece of the temple complex.

While on the stairs I took a picture of the view looking down as well.

And at the bottom of the stairs I took this picture of some of the statues and idols.

We spent a few hours at the temple.  If you’re not taking pictures it’s probably something you could do in an hour, but both my wife and I really enjoy taking our time and doing our best to capture the feeling and lock in the memory of being there.  When we were finished we jumped back in the car and went off to Monkey Temple near the town of Ubud, and then eventually ended up at Tanah Lot temple on the southern coast, but I’ll write about that journey in another post.