On our way home from Besakih temple we had lunch at a really cool place called the Lotus Temple in Ubud.  The weather was just starting to turn and you could see the storm clouds approaching behind the temple.  I took the picture above after lunch; I love the bright colors of the temple against the ominous background of the clouds.

After lunch we drove down to Monkey Temple, sometimes known as the Sacred Monkey Forest.  It was a bit crazy – there are macaques everywhere, and they’re not afraid of humans so it creates a bit of a chaotic situation.  You have people walking around taking pictures, then suddenly there’s a fit of chaos as a monkey grabs the sunglasses off a woman’s head or jumps on top of a child who’s holding a banana.  People give a nervous chuckle but in reality most people are pretty much terrified the whole time they walk through the area.

I did take a few pictures of course, I’m particularly fond of the three below.  The first I like because it looks like the monkey is staring at the statue in the foreground, almost like it’s protecting it’s young from the frightening monster.  The second picture of the young one holding the fruit just gives that sense that every child is thinking but maybe not quite capable of saying.  “This is mine and you can’t have any.”

And finally the last one I like because….well he looks like me.  And you, to be honest (and not meaning any offense).  It’s really amazing to watch a primate and think about the way evolution works, and how it came to be, over millions of years, that I was there taking pictures of them while they were staring at me wondering if they could eat my camera.

The temple itself isn’t much to speak of – the main draw is definitely the monkeys and they sell some bananas, etc. that you can purchase to feed them.  Quite a few people do this, including this guy who made a new friend.

There are some idols and statues worth taking pictures of, and the environment is dark, humid and definitely has that Indiana Jones feel to it.

After we left the temple our driver was more than willing to bounce around, and I wanted to get some pictures of the farmers in their rice paddies.  This is another iconic thing that Bali is known for and I had seen images in Flickr that blew me away.  Unfortunately we didn’t really get to the interesting areas where the rice terraces are really profound, but that didn’t stop us from getting some good pictures of local life, and an appreciation for the staple food that a lot of Asia relies on.

In the latter part of the day we made the drive down to Tanah Lot.  This was THE place I wanted to go while in Bali, so I was ready to go (and ready to drive my wife crazy in the process).  Tanah Lot is one of the more famous temples in Bali – it’s in the southern part of the island and is absolutely beautiful.  The temple is on an island that is just off the beach, and when combined with the sunset can make for an absolutely beautiful scene.  As we walked down I was paranoid about making the sunset (we were there in plenty of time).  I first took this picture, from the right hand side as you’re walking to the water.  It captures the temple and the water very well.

From where this picture was taken if you were to look to the right there’s a short peninsula/overlook that goes out probably 50 meters.  It may be a better vantage point if you’re planning to get that “Postcard shot” but you need to get there early.  When I was there the place was mobbed and I knew this was my one chance, so I stuck with my position.  Below you can see a picture of what the setup looked like.  I was mainly using my 17-40 wide angle lens with an ND filter so I could get a longer exposure time (which I find also helps to enhance the light around sunset).

Finally for the winning shot.  As I was there taking a gazillion pictures waiting for the light to really change, Adriana finally said – we should go over to the other side – the view will be better, there’s a place to sit down, the sun’s not in a good place yet, etc.  My wife is usually right about these sorts of things and I figured after 150 shots of the above I was ready to go.

Well it was the right decision.  If you’re coming down to the temple and go to the left of the temple (while facing the water) there’s a series of markets which leads into a few restaurants / cafes that sit over a cliff where you get an incredible view of the temple.  This was where I knew I was going to get the shot I had really been after.  I used my 17-40 again with the filter and took a series of photos until I settled on this one.

If you’d like to view large click here.  I love the colors in this shot, made possible with the filter that allowed this picture to be exposed for a total of 10 seconds (at f/22 – remember that thing called aperture?  Setting the camera to f/22 with an ND filter let me take a long exposure, even with the receding sunlight).

The drive out of Tanah Lot after sunset is pretty rough – we went back home and prepped for a few days of pool-side relaxation and an awesome New Years Eve party at Ku De Ta.

We’re getting near to the end of our tour of Bali.  I’ll wrap this post up and when I get the chance will close out with my final images of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and who knows, maybe even a video!