Friday, May 11, 2007


I thought at that I would write and show a bit about people of Bali and how they live. These pictures include some of the customs of everyday life as well as details and other pictures continuing to show the art and beauty of this incredible place. This is a hotel that we did not stay at but we almost did, look at this view!

Yah this place was pretty amazing, that's my mom in black having walked down all the stairs.

When we first arrived here my mom pointed out the super sized butterflies. They were beautiful and I was just able to capture in a couple of shots before we had to go. They were flying about and hardly ever landing and so taking pictures of them in this lighting and these fast changes were difficult. I had to constantly change lenses. I would guess the wingspan on this butterfly is about 2 or 3 cm longer than that of a common butterfly you might see and the United States such as a swallowtail or a monarch.

When you get Ubud, or any other tourist place you'll find dozens of hotels. I don't know how they stay in business. I think part of it is because of good laws created for the tourist business and so they need not spend as much money to keep the place running. There are far less to rules, taxes and other things that happen in westernized places. Ya, no you can't file a lawsuit or anything here! So these hotels have a wild west like freedom. Beware. Here is a sign of local shops and hotels one of many road signs found on the thousands of two lane roads in the country of Bali.

This is a rice paddy field and if you look closely you can see some of the deterrence that are used to keep the birds away. Scarecrows are not that common but plastic bags and other flashy objects seem to work for what ever birds might damage the harvest. Honestly I am not entirely sure why all these things are put up and if they are for birds.

Out towards the country where we were, there are many rice paddy fields at various stages of planting.

This guy is riding a bicycle that could be 50 years old. That is very common. Old bicycles are one of the most common means of local transportation. For the people with a bit more money and the visible majority of Balinese citizens and families use motorcycles called "motorbikes" as you'll see in the next few pictures. It is incredible what some of these guys carry on their bikes.

Here we see some Balinese woman in traditional clothing around this area there were many to tourist shops sold these women may have been dressed up for some kind of occasion. I am not sure. Alot of Balinese women dress like this even in everyday life especially if they have some money or a job such as working in a restaurant.

I created a sort of panoramic view here showing the rice fields and the homes and other buildings where the Balinese both work and live. Balinese houses and dwellings are very hard to spot if you don't know what to look for as they almost always look nothing like western dwellings. They do often connect to the rice fields like farms in the United States.

That shack on the left side of this picture may well be this man's home. I don't know but here you can see he is working hard in the rice fields. Unfortunately as it usually is, the poorest people do the most work.

When I first glanced at this picture I thought it was a short man or boy because there was lots of shadows the way she was dressed, and the picture was underexposed. You can tell from the way the picture looks I had to do a great deal of things to bring up the lighting just so that you can see it. I have some more learning to do when it comes to fixing pictures in Photoshop. I was amazed after I was able to see her shirt and face that this really was a woman or girl in a uniform. She is sweeping that dust and cleaning up. An endless and ancient job. This uniform may indicate that she is part of some government organization. I have no idea what kind that might be. Most Balinese women do not dress like this at all. It is clearly a uniform so maybe she's an official worker. That broom she is using is a handmade broom of sticks the kind that has been used for thousands of years. When I look at this picture in full resolution I can see her face very well. I'm sure that she would be a very beautiful girl if she could have a chance to show it. I hope that she is not been exploited or something. I still do not fully understand the social classes between woman and men, rich and pour. I only know that woman have very few rights. That is a problem created by Indonesian law as well as tradition. Here they are Hindu but I do not believe there is any caste system here like there is in some other countries.

Here children play while many very large vehicles and fast vehicles fly by. I did ask my friend and driver Komog, about how many people get killed or injured in a country like this where there are very few enforced rules. He told me that there are a surprisingly low number of accidents due to the fact that slow speeds are common and the attitudes of drivers either on motorbikes, bicycles or cars are often far different from the high paced Westernized driving like you might see in any major in the U.S.A. Most of these people are dedicated to their religious and cultural beliefs and therefore are a lot less stressed and in a hurry as much as we are used to in the United States. Negitive attitude problems seem often learned, something I have seen after haveing been to over a dozen countries. You can often see it and sense that when you are there and it is really interesting how this stress works. I think our over-aware news, violent and drama-hungry TV lives have caused us many problems and added to un-needed pessimism that effects emmotionl states.

Here is the first picture of a very important event and holiday to the Balinese called "Niepe". I'm sorry I'd do not know how to spell the word an I have not been able to find out how. I captured a good number of pictures of these massive and often grotesque creatures that they make every year. This is a really big deal to them and everyone seems to pitch in to make them. These gigantic almost always very ugly and terrifying statues are made for one night and one day. They are supposed to repel or attract the spirits. You see, this holiday is about the many spirits which must be granted passage across all of Bali every year on this holiday. I left Bali the day before this day and night. It is law that nearly all electrical power is completely shut off from a power stations! So there is no power at ANY of the hotel's I have been told. They go to a great deal of trouble for this holiday which they obviously both believe in and enjoy. So everything becomes dark and during that night they make loud noises by banging pots and pans and other things in order to frighten the evil spirits. It is all an attempt to ensure that the evil spirits do not want the island or the people I'd guess. There are some very serious superstitions in Bali. It is law that you cannot leave your hotel as a tourist or not on this day and nught. No one is allowed on the streets. Only my mom has been there for this festival, but I got a chance to photograph these massive statues which you will see many more of in my next set of pictures.

Now this looks like from the sign a restaurant as they often use chalkboards to advertise meals. And many of the entrances to everything from stores to areas of hotels are done in incredible and beautiful ornate doors with steps like this. However, this might be the entrance to a temple. Upon entrance to a temple you must wear a traditional sarong. And flash photography is also prohibited. There are some other rules as well. I'm not sure what these buildings are because I snapped it as my driver drove by. I did not get a chance to visit a temple on the inside. I was injured while I was down there so I could not do much walking around. I had my driver and friend drive at a slow speed to areas of interest and other things before I left for the Airport. I really wanted to capture Bali not just in its splendor and beauty that you see on the surface but what it is like in a small way to live here. Because this is a G-rated website there are some shots I cannot post but your not missing much. Many of these people are poor. However they are definitely not poor in spirit.

These things are everywhere! These are "Bakso" food carts. This is that closest thing to fast food that the Balinese have outside of major cities. They can be delicious but often if you can handle how hot it is, you still might just get sick. There are definitely no health laws. I have eaten from these many times and have never gotten sick but I've been told that I was lucky for that. Bokso is one of several dishes served by the street vendors. The food is very good but be careful, you might get really sick sometimes called the "Bali-belly". To this day many of these food carts at night are lit with oil lamps or candles there are many things still done in Indonesia and the way that they have been done for decades. The locals usually eat this food and they are more used to it then we are. You can often get a light meal for a couple of pennies equivalent in U.S. dollars.

They can carry allot more then this on there moterbikes.
This may be way off the subject but while I'm talking about rules I cannot write anything about Bali without making this very clear. Indonesia has very extreme laws regarding marijuana and all narcotics. If you do get offered anything in these street vendors are on the beach be sure not to accept. Not only are drugs very bad for you, if they catch you doing them in Bali you will be locked up for the rest of your life and there is no getting out of it. Being an American citizen grants you no immunity to Indonesian law. If you have medication be sure to bring your prescription bottles when you go in your trip to confirm where you god it. All prescribed drugs are completely legal in Bali if prescribed by doctors in the U.S. To my knowledge. There are also serious issues about animal parts as well as endangered species and therefore you should make sure that you declare these items if you're caught attempting to bring them into the United States that penalties are very high. Any questions you have about this can be very easy by declaring the items that you have purchased. Then the customs officials coming into the United States will inspect these items and if they are illegal they will confiscate them and you will not be charged with any crime. Don't mess with this my mom knows people who've gotten in serious trouble for things that seem very very small regarding these issues.

It is unbelievable how many things and in how many ways they do stuff on motorbikes and bicycles. First here is a typical parts repair shop for these all very common generic motorbikes.

And here is a large number of street signs showing all places you can go from any intersection. Be sure to get a better look and probably read these signs by clicking on this picture. Do not for get you need to use your Internet browsers back arrow in order to get back to my website. I don't yet know how to add a button so that you can return to my website more directly.

And here it is the picture you're looking at as shocking as it is is entirely in real. What's even more shocking is that just driving around I spotted family's like this at least a dozen times. Notice how the little kids never have helmets or any other protective gear for that matter. For some reason I do not know only the adults wear helmets. As I'm sure you are shocked by this as am I but we must remember that we are looking at a different culture and a different number of enforced and not enforced laws. Culture. It can create massive gaps in opinions ridiculous, sad and terrible or not. They do not have the money to afford cars and there is no public transportation system. As frightening and as wrong as this is, for them it is all they can afford and all that they can do to get their family around. This is very shocking, and it is sadly very common. In fact I did not see any children with helmets on. What is common for other societies is sometimes outrageous and even terrible to our set of values. I have been to many countries and it witnessed some things like this, and even worse.

These motorbikes are everywhere. As I said there like the family car or SUV. and as you can see in this picture once again there is at least one child without a helmet. I have no idea and did not think to ask involved in taking pictures, why the adults seem to wear helmets religiously and the children of all ages almost always do not have them.

Here's a look at a real Balinese food cart in a non tourist situation and a family, this time none of them wearing helmets driving about looking as if she doesn't know what way to go. In many places, it seems like they cannot afford to put in traffic lights and a single daring police officer attempts to direct traffic in some of the most horrendous four way stops I've ever seen anywhere! The government but mostly the people, are very poor and there is not enough money to even enforce the laws that are in place or take care of many civil problems including traffic lights. I would guess-I don't want to make it sound really bad, I've been to places where there is true extreme poverty and most of Bali is not like that. I've heard the government is very corrupt and hordes lots of money. But it's the no helmet situation for children that is obviously most immediately distressing. I'm not one to like laws and I disagree with many of the small and often ridiculous laws that are being made in the U.S. Chipping away at the constitution that a slow and frightening pace. Most new laws are to protect adults from themselves. But in the case of children who cannot choose for themselves the government should definitely step in to keep children from parents are Guardians who are not responsible in their actions involving children.

OK, here is a guy who has more than a shopping cart load to ride around with! This strange device caught my eye from the road. I don't know what you'd call this contraption. Over in Indonesia a bicycle system can be put into anything from an electrical generator to do a complete store that someone can pedal around! This never ceases to amaze me. Many of these bicycle's are true antiques some of them must be at least 60 years old.

Here is a apparently a Muslim girl who we drove by at a slow speed so I was able to capture this picture. Behind her is what might be a real temple. Temple architecture as you can see is everywhere here. Although it may look like your hotel was once a temple, according to a man from the U.S. I talked to who married a Balinese woman-- that is almost certainly not the case because it is illegal. Even though some of the Balinese will tell you a "yes" when you ask such questions. That is a bit of a problem down there everybody says " yes" to many questions even though they speak good English. Unlike most of Indonesia Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is a Muslim country. And you can see the attitude very quickly if you go to somewhere like Java or Lombok island. You can clearly see sometimes the difference between their respect for nature, as well as for others, and this slow paced content attitude seen in the Hindu population is incredible. However it must be said that Bali is the tourist hub and therefore both gets more money and prepares more for tourism. It would seem that the respect of the Balinese is caused by the Hindu religion. However I don't like to speculate like that and I have met many fair and good Muslims. I think the problem is like it is in the United States with Christianity where you go and how much you really believe and what fundamental belief you hold in your Religion changes greatly your perspective. I also believe that there is an attitude problem that gets started when westernization becomes more and more influential. Unfortunately this often creates eventual pseudo-atheism and thus the pessimism which leads to personal corruption, crime, alcohol and drug abuse by many people. The rat race attitude and pressures of the big city also seems to create corruption. As personal needs become far more important and thus destructive. I do not blame the Muslim religion as some people would. I do think that the way you will be treated as a tourist is determined by how large a city you are in and how much tourism that city has. I have been to many other places in Indonesia. No matter what religion, in small towns away from most of the westernized activity and ideas you are far better off as a tourist. Big city attitudes and ideas seem to always cause problems. This kind of stuff is for another website.

This is a very common kind of pedestal where offerings are left by the Balinese. There is one of these in every home, hotel, business, just about everywhere. These are creative and amazing offerings made by the women for the Hindu gods. They contain a small amount of food incense flowers and things, sometimes even cigarettes and sodas. If they do not have a carved pedestal like this is, often with a god carved behind it, then they just leave them on the ground in front of the shop or restaurant.

Every day at least twice possibly more, these offerings are left out and made renewed over and over again at great cost. I believe the women are expected to do these and many of them spend a lot of time creating these weveings. It is amazing however how much respect they all have for the insects, spiders, small birds and other animals that have to live with. You might expect this to be a place where you'll have a lot of bothersome insects but that is not normally true unless you go off on to trails.

This is serious jungle I have to warn you, that you should have some serious experience if you want even do the hiking trails. There are serious snakes, monkeys and stinging insects as wekk as other dangers here, lots of them. If you don't know how to do jungles in the tropics be sure you hire guide, or better yet go on a hike with other tourists in a group. The rice paddies are just like the jungles and in order to hike the rice paddies you must hike in some of the jungle and what may be private property. This picture shows offerings placed near this statue which is probably for a god.

And take a look of this! This incredible bronze scene depicts something in the Hindu or Balinese tradition. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what that is but it is an incredible work of art. It is life size and surrounded by this pool, unbelievably colored.

And here is just a lazy old cat. They're usually afraid of people unless they they hang out around restaurants for handouts. Bali has many stray dogs and cats but I saw very few on this trip.

Now I know this looks like solid gold. If anything it's gold plated or painted, it would be worth something approaching millions if it was solid gold. I know that. However one interesting thing that most people think about is the fact that if this piece of art was solid gold it would probably weigh at least 500 pounds. One gold bar like you see in the movies, weighs about 40 pounds. Most people have no idea how heavy pure gold is. It's probably been painted with gold paint and is bronze on the inside but they dare really good job making this god look cool. Even if it was to pure gold people trying to take it would have a really hard time doing anything with it.

Ah, here is a god or figure that is well fed here.

Now to me this resembles of Buddha and there are carvings of Buddhas. You can also buy them in the shops. Now I'm not sure if the Hindu religion connects to the Buddhist religion in one way or another but there are quite a few Buddhas in the Lotus position (not shown here) and many that can be purchased. They certainly have respect for that religion and may tie it in to their own religious beliefs. Much like Catholicism in some countries. Being Catholic but mixing existing traditions, superstitious beliefs in magic, charms and spells, like voodoo in with Catholicism and all of its beliefs.

Now this guy has everything except the kitchen sink on his bike. It looks like that's what he specializes in selling stuff for too.

This is one of those access points to the rice paddies. Once again I advise that you don't leave without a radio and a buddy or at least telling someone which are going to go on a trail. In this area alone I stumbled into the jungle and was attacked by army ants. And nearly fell off a ciff hidden by the jungle. I was stung about 40 times. That's only a rough guess because their stings are not as powerful as bees and wasps so it was hard to tell. That was lucky for me and lucky for me that I knew what to do. Never ever jump in the water or panic where you could run and hurt yourself even worse. Especially here about the water since it is often very contaminated with human and other waste. If you are ever stung or attacked by any insects it is important not to panic but make a brisk walking pace away from that area as quickly as possible if you can get into a vehicle or a place where they are likely not too attack. Some people however have been killed by killer bees as much as a half mile away and have been attacked in their homes. The important thing is to get away from the insects and realize that they will persistently attack you as long as you're in their space. The water is the first place the insects attack because it is also the first place where most animals will go to a escape an attack. Wasps and bees will linger around water for hours waiting for you to surface.

This is your typical tourist watch area. Be careful of the many vehicles and keep your eyes on your camera bag. In this place I was told that there are runners to grab bags that look expensive and run into areas and hide. This kind of crime doesn't happen too often as that price for crime is extremely serious in Bali.

Yes those glass bottles are full of gasoline. These gas stations are everywhere and they provide gas for the endless motorbikes that the locals drive. You can rent one of these things that I'd recommend doing it only if you're suicidal.

The price of so many small engines with little filtration. The pollution can get pretty sick in some areas as they also burn trash.

Yet another incredible work of art. I was always in somewhat of a hurry as a photographer. We only had a certain amount of time to be there and I only had a certain non time to get around. I took a really hard fall when I was taking a picture and a misstep almost took out my camera and seriously sprained my ankle. So for most of the trip after that I couldn't do much walking. Now this is almost certainly gold-painted, and those orchids as well as that gigantic clamshell, are real. I've been Kosre (Im not too sure about spelling here), small islands in the middle of nowhere. That's where these giant clams come from, or at least one place where they do.

Now this is interesting. I don't think I'd ever had the idea of actually pulling out an entire tree stump and carving it into something like this. This is all hardwood as some kind and I don't know where it all comes from, but as much as I admire the art I can't help but think this was wrong and that tree was probably worth far more alive.

Yeah they got this spider upside down, but the huge spiders are seen all over and they often make their way into local artwork.

And for the last picture in this group, this was my room just before I left you can see my view outside on the porch out into the rice paddies and down there was that creek I fell like jumping into after I was attacked by an army ants. They won't bug you unless you leave out a lot of food. There will be more pictures coming up later. And be sure not to miss previous articles that might have been buried by this one. I got a lot more to show you about Bali.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


"Island of gold"
This is SET#1 of several sets I will make of pictures from the Marianas islands down to Bali and a few in between.


An old farm--went bust many moons ago. I took this on the train back from California, Somewhere in southern Oregon. And less then ten days later I was HERE: >


If I recall this is one of the first things you see at the airport when you arrive. I think these are some of the Hindu gods. I'm don't know much about that. But because they are taught to respect nature and people, the religion has made Bali a Paradise all it's own to this day.

SECURITY, CUSTOMS. I tried to capture the rushing moments as we hustle to customs from the airplane. My mom is to the right.

There were so many x-ray and metal detectors used on my cameras that I recommend even if your using 400iso film you might want show it too them rather then let it go through the machines if your going through dozens of X-ray security checks. Radiation damage on film adds up each time you go through. Each time makes more noise in the pictures. The airport signs say 800iso but if you go through different security places 10x on your travels then you could have a serious noise problem. I had to go through 3 metal detectors to get out of Bali alone. And getting back into the USA is nearly as bad. Just in case you don't know, digital cameras and memory cards are of course completely immune to X-ray damage.

I cannot put into words how incredible this trip was for me as a photographer now. This has been a dream of mine for 14 years. Everybody has been waiting to see the Bali shots. Well, here is my first set. They are a trail-mix of memories I decided I'd just add together rather then run them in order for now. I got quite a few 35mm shots of the planes. Some of the pictures here are 35mm and some are digital. I love the chance to use my Nikon EM. Film is cheaper there and I get a professional discount. A CD and negs for a 24 exposure roll is only $4.

This is the first hotel we stayed at. Everything is real, and everything is incredibly artistic. If you did not know it was a hotel, you might think these are temples. Bali is the island of art fused with nature. An incredible combination that almost never fails to please the eye. And the very nice people of Bali have a laid back attitude. It was an incredible gift from my step dad and mom to let me go on this trip.

The entrance to our first hotel. We arrived at night, this is a snapshot at about 1200ISO without a flash. The artwork in nearly all the non-westernized hotels is very fascinating. Mom and I have been staying at the non-western hotels. for many years. It is very safe, and you will miss half the experience if you don't leave Denpasar and stay at a hotel like this. Most hotels have incredible rooms for 1/8th or even less the cost of any "westernized hotel"

Of course, camera's ready to go--I was bummed because it was at night and I knew I could not sleep well. I felt a bit like the Apollo 11 Astronauts. Did you know that they were scheduled to land on the moon and then sleep for several hours without even getting out and looking around! It is true, of course none of them could or did do that! So feeling nearly like I'd gone to another planet or moon myself, I set out at night with my cameras and could not find much. Sleepless in Bali--I just did some computer stuff and waited very excited.

At night Bali goes into another mode. 1000s of outside lights in ornate fixtures and under statues come on all over restaurants, hotels, and some shops. It's worth a walk and generally safe, especially if your outside any big city and not alone. It is very safe if your just a bit street smart to go it on your own. I'd definitely get out of the main city and go to Ubud or another smaller town. We went to Ubud this time.

A presentation to students we happened to walk up on. It is called a "Kejak dance".
where they sometimes walk in hot coals and go into trances in an effort to contact the

I felt absolutely no sense of anti-American sentiment or anything like that here. I felt totally welcome and so did my mom, we were never really worried anything would happen. We avoided the large party crowds in big cities anyway. It is safe to go here and you will be welcomed with honor. I have been to Java and Lombok as well--it's a different story there.

Your going to want to bring every kind of lens you can. Wide angle to at least a 135mm-300mm long lens for birds and people at a distance. I know about all the new digitally stabilized cameras and lenses. That adds nearly $500 to each lens and does not do much good for cameras with built in sensors either. Photographers have been without image stabilization for nearly 150 years. My mono pod works fine for me. To heck with spending that much money! I do hear Olympus has made a good new digital SLR which has that rare feature--a built in image stabilizer, but I would get another lens rather then buy a new camera with that feature. Cannon has a set of lenses that do that and I believe Nikon does as well. It's not worth the price to me anyway. Even though I have to keep cameras more steady then just about anyone. Very close macros require all kinds of moves with your hands and your camera to get the right angle and shot, often pain from this long process can cause you to get a shaky hand--and often low light. It is a pain problem from trying to get the depth of field just right or a moment at the right time in a certain place where you must hold the camera very steady and don't have room or time for a tripod. Most people have no idea the lengths and pain photographers go to to get the shot they want!

Nephila maculatl sp. (family Nephila) This picture incredibly is LIFE SIZED! unless your
useinga very old computer (more then 8 yeras) then you should be seeing this spider at it's real size. This 1:1 view was an accident but it worked out nearly perfect!

This is the second largest orb web building spider in the world here. Often called the Golden Orb spider Sometimes the banana spider. SHE IS HARMLESS! A gentle giant she can only move very slowly due to her bulk. Some of the hotels leave them around since they are harmless. Considered yourself lucky if you meet one. They get larger then a man's hand. This one is removing a flower that fell in her web. She knows what it is with her palps that act as a sort of taste and smell for her. The males are reddish in color and literally 10X or more smaller then her and sometimes are just red in color. He will live with her and on her body, actually sharing food with her. Another species that does not practice cannibalism. He will crawl on her body living with her for his entire life. If she were put on the ground it would take her over a half hour to just walk go 15-20ft or so. Don't have nightmares, she is very slow and the bite is not serious. Hotels often let them be in full view as they do take care of allot of insects and are truly harmless. They won't leave there webs. Nor will they bite even if you walked through there web. Her size and movement is limited due to her passive breathing system. This is the same reason why insects and spiders are limited in size. 300 million years ago however, there were dragon flies with 3ft wingspans and countless other giant insects due to a much higher oxygen content in the air. This was long before any humans, mammals, dinosaurs--or land animals of any kind except for insects. They became the first animals on land first and some say because they could out-survive us as a species and out weigh us if put all together they are truly still and always have been the masters of the world! Am I boring you? Ok--back to the photos!
IF you ever have the rare pleasure of meeting one of these giant spiders in person--DO NOT CAPTURE! When she gets this large she cannot build a full web again. Thus she would die if you took her down. As seen here--I had the lenses and angles to get these shots without doing anything. I am very glad that I can photographically do nearly all my shots now without capturing and interfering with the insects and spiders.

A candlelight dinner at a restaurant in Bali. You must sit on your knees or cross legged to use this table. Many people here are used to that position.

Look at how lush this is. I could spend decades here taking pictures and not run out of ideas.

My main room. The one I stayed in the longest after mom went home. She was nice to let me stay longer then her. It was incredible and you would never guess what a room like this would cost. There was no TV. Bali has a pretty loose power system. The line voltage on those bulky outlets averages around 200VAC. You definitely need a plug adaptor. The idea is to escape all that here! Often there is a Free FULL breakfast!

Things like this are EVERYWHERE. A fusion of art and really awesome plants. I still can't get over it. I plan to definitely go back as soon as I can. I want to cover snakes and the rice paddy wildlife walks--there is a lot more.

This was my 2nd room of 3 I stayed at total on the 10 day trip. And it costs less then most ok US hotel rooms. Were talking less then $200 US. I'd have to ask my mom exactly how much it was, but this room secluded with an incredible views of the rice paddies and so much more would go for 1000s at the states, that is for sure. And you can trust these small hotel retreats. Don't waste money and experences staying in a westernized chains where prices are. You'll miss out on half the experience and spend 10X more money. Most of the small local hotels have air-con rooms for slightly more money.

With the view and the area I felt as if I was on a Safari in the 1920s. It was incredible. In set#2 I will make a point to show you the incredible river valley view I had. My mom is sitting there next to me, she had a bungalow on the other end and we communicated with 2 way UHF radios.

I want you to know here, I don't usually ever smoke or use any tobacco of any kind. I can handle about 2 cigars a year. Very special occasion here. I did the same thing a year ago with dad while were camping. When I got out of the hospital I quit smoking and all tobacco. I made up my mind and found out how to quit. Forced to go without nicotine for a month I seemed to get over part of the addiction and the rest is all in your head. I was over a pack a day smoker for 10yrs--and I quit completely three years ago. However, like my dad-- I still can enjoy on a very rare occasion a good cigar. No cigarettes or chew or anything. I don't need to ever smoke again and since I got back from Bali about 2 months ago I have not used any tobacco.

In nearly every small hotel and many restaurants there are ponds, gardens, flowers--and on them insects and like butterflies and dragon flies that will sometimes even land on you. They have incredibly not ever learned to fear human kind much. Genetically, that's what happened over the years. But since the Hindu people value all life so much---even the insects have not come to fear humankind very much. This is a long genetic situation. It is very hard to find animals (even insects) where survival of the fittest has not made them very afraid of humans.
Dragonflies and damsel flies are very hard to take pictures of in most places. You either have to be very slow and go to great pains to creep up an inch an hour or you need to get a really powerful macro rig. I now have a rig for it--but I did not need to even change to it to shoot the dragonfly and damsel flies. They just are not afraid. The Hindu people value life and killing insects for any reason is something they go out of there way to avoid.

Another garden view. A chorus of frogs runs all night. And those huge Geckos like the one big one I caught make that sound they whole entire family was well known for. Ggggeccckoooo GGKekkoo"--it varies. Sometimes they seem to be saying other things. Of course this is a mating call that coincidentally sounds like words. They don't listen and talk like birds. They are not very smart lizards-but they are very hard to catch because they can run up anything and very fast. They have tiny hairs so small that they make use of a natural atomic connection that bonds basically anything if it gets close enough. Called the "nuclear force" or "weak nuclear force" it holds them to virtually anything. Contrary to popular belief it has nothing to do with suction cups. Air is not what holds them up so well. They can hold onto glass and nearly anything else because the hairs on there hands are so small that they break into the molecular structure of the object they are on and get close very close to the molecules. Close enough to make use of another force that acts like magnetism or gravity. I think they are the only animals to use this force for something. I learn allot from digital cable.

Click here for a higher then normal res. picture. This is the Gecko that gave gecko's there name. You can see how large he is, my hands are pretty big. Be sure to click on this picture to get a bigger then normal shot. DON'T FORGET to come back using your Internet Explorer back arrow button on the top left hand side of your computer screen or this window.

At night Bali comes alive with lights. Outside of the big cities, it is genarelly safe especially in smaller cities,

They changed these flowers neverly every day. A complex number of them carefully aranged.
They try so much to surve you and go out of there way. Part of that is because of how they were raised and there religion. Pay them well because they don't make much.

I don't know why all these women were standing out here. Or why this one woman was so white with a native face. Could she be an albino human? Don't take your compact camera. Bring your SLR. Not only will you want to change lenses but having a large professional camera causes people to look at you, pose for you--and other things that make picture possible. They often assume I'm working for a magazine, especially with my Canon because it's larger then a typical SLR. It's square with the controls on both sides for poster shooting and other stuff.

This is the beginning of a yearly festival when all power is shut down on the entire island for one night and you are not even allowed to leave your hotel. It is called "Neipe". I don't know how to spell it. They make huge terrible looking status. The full story I will put in another post with more info. Here a man is dancing probably part of working up to this night of noise. They let the bad spirits pass. I had to leave the day before as the airport is shut down on that day as well. More on that later.
This is our first hotel still in the big city. My room is off to the left on this path. All kinds of plants and flowers around leading into the restaurant and reception desk. Full of hard-wood carving that might go for tens of thousands of dollars in the USA.
Ponds like this are made all over. Fish and frogs are added. Everything just grows like life itself is a force. The Hindu believe in this, and try very carefully to respect all life.

This is the best view of my last room. Off to my right (I have to find this picture) the river and jungle turns into rice paddies. This room was incredible. A huge bathroom with showers, a large ornate bathtub, and everything is provided. Once again work is constant and 100s of flowers are changed with the laundry. I was not very afraid of theft. It's not common in Bali, especially out here. I'd take my serious cameras with me--but I felt reasonably ok leaving even my laptop in my room slightly hidden.

This little jumper was the first spider I found. I had my high-powered macro setup on so I could get nice shots of her from a distance. Before she ended up where I could not take anymore seriously high depth of field shots--she posed several times for me. Jumping spiders are the only spiders that look back at you. You can see there at least thinking--and sometimes even a bit curious. She's less then 1cm long legs and all. My new lens goes to new levels shooting at F30-F35 giving me very high depth of field. F22 usually does it but getting to f30 is makes for really nice text-book quality shots.

This picture is the first one I took of a small beetle with my new macro rig. It's less then 10mm long. About 8 or so. Smaller then three letters together in this sentence. Shot above f30--the color and depth comes out very well, but you need a directed flash--even in full sunlight the picture would not be light enough to take without my Sunpack flash. If you don't have a macro ring or flash try making reflectors laminated with packaging tape or putting your camera in "B" (bulb) mode so that it's shutter opens as long as you are pushing the button. You can then push the test/fire button on your flash while holding open your shutter. I did not need that to take this picture as my flash was bright enough.

Another angle, she is looking down in front of her.
This is the original shot.
This guy was only about 10mm long. I have some serious macro gear now and part of it is still a homemade system of mine. A lens "recipie" I am very proud of.

I turned up the levels a bit for this, it's the same picture.

This is known as a "kejak" dance. A bunch of guys with tattoos become possessed with spirits or something to that effect, and they seem to control the crowd with hypnotic chanting and dancing, sometimes over hot coals or fires. These people were participating as part of a school project from Java and I just happened to show up there when we were eating dinner.

They get all worked up into these trances. I saw a bottle of what looked like moonshine being passed around. It could have been watter but these guys get really serious in some of there trances.

The students perform part of the dance with the dancers. We were not sure why they were there doing this but apparently the students from Java were on a long field trip. The guys without shirts on are perform this dance which often induces walking on hot coals. We walked into this and did not have to pay anything. You can pay to go to one but be careful--the one I went to with my dad the guy was so nuts he kicked burning coconuts at the crowd! Some people yelled and actually left!

Orchids grow naturally over there. It seems there are some growing in places from every tree and blooming all the time. In the hotels they are started and take off like crazy. I did not need to leave my hotel to spend the whole trip finding new pictures. Bring a set of good lenses! From wide-angle to at least a 300mm long lens for birds and other things. There is a huge movement in very expensive lenses with image stylization. They are impressive, but photographers have done without them for over 150 years. A monopod and a good balanced SLR is enough for me. Image stabilization would be nice in a compact super zoom camera. There I can see it to be useful. Something to think about--keep the loads off your SLR. Now that compacts can shoot up to 8+mp. There's not always a reason to use your very expensive SLR. Be careful about the strong coffiee in Bali, I'm not even sure if the best image stabilizers will compensate for that!

These are all REAL and fresh! despite the fact that they don't look it even when you pick them up. Fruit so strange that I felt as if I was in a Star Trek episode. One, called Snakefriut, replicates snake skin so well that when removed could fool an experienced person. Incredible that nature made such a thing. "Snakefruit" was only one of several strange kinds of fruits ready to eat every day--along with replacement of over 100 individual flowers in all places. The service here approaches that of the most expensive hotels I can think of.

This is a major junction in Ubud. It leads to the monkey forest and other places. It is a soccer field and from here you can go to trails through the rain forest as well as other places.

I will add here again about hand-held radios. You may want to bring a pair of those 16mile expensive ones. Because you probably won't be able to setup a full new cellphone in Bali for your stay--you might ask to barrow a VHF FM walkie talkie if you go on a hike, especially if your going to be alone. Due to dangers from snakes to falls it is best to go with a buddy system. There are walk clubs to join and all. You should know some basic first aid and be ready for difficult places if you go it alone--most of all have a means of calling for help if you are injured on on a trail. I fell a couple of times from an injury myself. You have to be very careful. I would consider this a relatively serious jungle. Well, on a scale from 1-4 4 being the most dangerous naturally, I'd give this one a 2. You got some dangers you got to worry about.

This black bumble bee was nearly an inch and a half long. Twice as large as the ones you might see in your garden at home. I think it is some kind of carpenter bee. It's huge and this was a difficult shot!

"Nature fuses with art"
This kind of thing happens everywhere in Bali. It is awesome to see. There is so much artwork of all kinds that even old junk becomes a new kind of art when it's overgrown with plants and flowers. Unspoiled pockets of rain forest still exist, and the people get along incredibly well with the dangerous creatures in the rice paddies. Even the Cobras. There are so many of them you are almost sure to see one if you walk for a while on a trail. But you won't see them for long. They run as quickly as possible making a fast speed into the bushes. They don't rear up unless they have nowhere to go so often people don't even know they are among Cobras.

Your chances of getting bit are very small as long as you don't try to catch one. It may look easy on TV, but it takes a serious ammount of skill to capture a live posoness snake. Each year--100s of young people are brought to the hospital because they think it's easy to catch dangerous snakes. Some of them even die. DO NOT try those things you might see on TV. It took me years to learn how to handle poisoness snakes and I had to be taought how. When they say don't try this at home--This is one you should really listen to. It takes far more skill and knowledge then it looks to keep a snake from biteing you like you see on those TV shows. Those guys have to think like a chess game with the snake, and know how they generally will react by reading them. This takes lots of practice and time to learn how to do well. If you just imitate them--you'll get bit. And in Bali, the Cobras are even more dangerous then rattlesnakes. I have had serious training and experience handling live poisonousness snakes and taking care of them. Please Supervised levels of training are needed. It is illegal in many states to keep rattlesnakes for pets and that often ends in disaster. Don't try to impress anyone or do anything stupid on the trails. Handleing deadly snakes is stupid, especially when medical help is nearly hopelessly far away.

I did not get to places where the best rice paddy views are on this trip. Here is one shot I caought while we were driveing to Ubud where we stayed for the next few days. Where the treelines are crisscrossed by patches of rain forest there are hikeing trails. That's where the snakes are. There are also green thin snakes you can sometimes spot. They are nearly more dangerous because they are slow. The vine snakes here have a triangle shaped head and long thin green body to blend into foleage. I could not find one on this trip. I was told again they are deadly as well. There are many snakes in Bali and other places that look like safe species but they are NOT.

Art is everywhere in Bali. I took this in very low light so I had to do alot to it in the "digital darkroom". It is a hardwood carving that I can't even begin to think of how they did it. Incredible craftmenship and often at an amazingly low price. What will be probubly more expencive is how to get something like this back to your home in the US or wherever. One thing, remember, these people live truely poor. If you at all can, you should reward them whenever you can. Just handing them a bit of money might make them happy but don't pat yourself on the back because they act extremely pleased with a 50% tip. They will act the same at 10%. I usually cave in to store prices because I know they need it.

Another fusion of art and life. Things like this are everywhere in Bali. This is what Bali is about!

Ironically it's not the big spiders or other visible threats you have to worry about. Animals, falls, and most of all FALLS INTO SEPTIC WATER is a serious problem! DO NOT TOUCH any creek water around. Septic systems run on the streets in many areas and poor into rivers and streams. The watter can kill you because of how contaminated it is. Do not hike where you could fall into a stream. Be very careful of snakes and other things could leave you in an instantl----Ok, I am writing a whole tour-guide here!
If anyone wants to know more about it you can e-mail me and if I have the time I will try to answer any questions if you are going on a trip. Please buy one of my pictures if you do. Thankz.

There is no tax that is noticeable in Bali and no fixed prices. Many places you can cut a bargon with. Barting, bargoning, tradeing, and forgine money are all welcome and legal to use. If something costs 100,000 Rp. (Rupia) You can ask "I give you 75,000". For example. Although since they are so poor I usually do not try to do this. There is very much a wild-west like freedome there about certain things which are covered in red-tape in the USA. We are banning pocket knives and video cameras, rados that pick up frequencies. What is next? I won't get any more political but one thing I love about Bali is as long as your not basically "doing wrong" and you be careful you can do many things without worry.

This was a snapshot of the same resterant that night. These incredible places are all so elaberately decorated it's hard to beleave it's even possible. How do they grow all this stuff?!
There are NO FAKE plants or flowers here. Every day they arange buquets of flowers for your room. Fresh ones. Elaberate ones. This is something you would expect in a 4 star hotel. The only place in Bali you might find fake plants is at the western hotels. Out here in a small but growing town called Ubud, things are far different. You might not have a TV, but you will have a view far better then anything you would want to watch!

The Balines women are shy sometimes but very nice and very beutful! My mom was with me when we were by the beach so I did not get a chance to go use my long lens to---oh, ya--this is a G-rated website :) I tried but due to an injury I did not get very many people shots. I have some more I will publish soon in what I call "Bali Set#2". There is so much cool stuff! Keep checking my site in the next month or so I should have alot more pictures.

I found the woman in the middle of this picture a bit odd. She looked like she was a human albino or something. I did some color correction. Many times I got stares that were good from people because of my pro-camera. All these women and children were waiting for something, it's my guess it was a market. Our friend and guide down there, Komong, drove me arround slowly so that I could take pictures.

And this is a huntsman spider of some kind. Now these do move fast. I was lucky enough to get a few shots of htis one before she ran off.

AWESOME! Look at this! A species I've never seen before anywhere! It's is a silver-chrome Argiope! I'm not sure of the name and I've never seen this species even in books. This is TRUE COLOR. It was increidible chrome color. A few more shots made her a nice addition to my digital bug collection. This picture was taken about 5-8ft away from me. I did not need to even touch her to get a very high-res description of the species front and back down to serious details. These days there is little need in my opion for creating large insect collections that fall to peaces all to often. And spiders that loose all there colors over time. Let them live and create a "digital bug collection" even if you have to capture the subject and release. Today's digital cameras are powerful enough with a good macro setup to get details which can identify a spider beiond all doubt 99% of the time if you get the proper angles. Why kill what you love so much when you can now do it with the power of today's technology and minimize your interference with nature?

I do know there are some places and times where survayes are needed and specimemens must be collected for studies and identification or simply because it is the easy way. Sometimes you still understand that it's sometimes need more then a set of detailed pictures if you think you found a new species or need to study biology and many other functions. There is still something like an estimated 10,000 species of spiders not yet named and known to science. I just think that sometimes shortcuts are taken (such as animal testing products and drugs--killing or maming lab animals) to get quick results. This is simply wrong.

The dragon flies were so used to people not harming them they litteraly can and do land on you every now and then. Over generations of not being killed or harmed by the people in Bali it makes it possible for me to not need to put on macro lenses to catch pictures like this! Incredibly, butterflies will sometimes land on you and are not afraid. And flickrs, known for years to be very shy will let you get right up close! I was shocked at how these creatures really are not very afraid of humans. Clearly the difference because of the range of species here is a genetic thing that has happened over generations of the Balinize people treating even insects with great respect. One very rare place, where some of the wildlife still does not fear man. Places like that with other animals are extremely rare but there are still a few. Nearly all animals have learned to be afraid of people includeing the insects because people swat them.

Damwsel flies. They are everywhere with all the little pools and gardens most of the hotels keep up.

Isn't this awesome! I've never seen a Damselfly this long! Amazing stuff here. I shot all these just at my hotel in less then an hour.

I was attacked by these guys--stung probubly 100x. IT was bad but I recovered quickly. They are one of the more nasty bugs. The large Golden orb spiders are gental giants that can't move more then a very slow crawl. I don't understand why people are so afraid. A recent study indicates that young children do have a true reaction to s-shaped things moveing past them and snakes. Fear. The same test done with spiders showed none. We learn our fear of spiders, and most things called "spider bites" are actually insect bites or skin problems. More often then not insect bites and stings that your not even aware of. The kissing bug, is a relitively known example.

Everyone should know, insects, (especially bees and wasps) will not stop and many will not give up for over an hour trying to sting you if you jump in the watter. NEVER do that. If you are attacked by swarming bees or wasps the best thing to do is get in a car and drive fast or run away as quickly as possible. Going into a house can be a death sentence as they will may find a way inside. No matter how many biteing ants or bees on you run carefully and don't panic. Never lay down or jump in a creek. A watter hose, peper-spray, and even bug spray is useless.

GET OUT OF THERE. Thinking othwerize is how people get killed. Unless you have scuba gear on you will be in serious trobble thinking you can outwit bees or wasps by jumping into water. A Method that had killed people before because killer bees remain for hours stinging you every time you come up for air. RUN--as carefuly as possible. Keep calm and don't fall. Before you go into a dangerous jungle environment you might want to think about the dangers and imagine yourself in some of the situations you could get into and how you might react. This is good training for the real thing. And on this trip alone--I got the real thing happen to me. I was covered in stinging army ants in seconds. Think about what you would do--plan an escape route while you are in jungle or dangerous areas--and be very aware. Know where you are and what you can do if you did get swarmed. There should be an Epi-pen or Epinepherine injector with any trip incase someone has an alergic reaction to an otherwize slight normal sting. My dad nearly died after tripping on a log with a huge wasp nest in it. He was swarmed and stung 100s of times. Now he is dangerously alergic to the stings of many wasps. Be aware of what can happen. When I was attacked by army ants stinging me on this trip--I thought of a pre-planned idea in my head about what I can do. Even though did not expect the attack--I was aware of what to do when insects do attack. Staying calm, saving myself and my expencive camera gear! Most stinging insects will not follow you very far. Be as ready as you can before you go into a dangerous tropical jungle or place where such attacks are possible.

She's ready to lay her eggs. I am not sure, I think they live about 2 years but I forgot.

Argiopes on Guam. This is a male and female. Once again, the male is small so she's not likely to eat him. He will mate with her for some time--until being kicked out of the web or whatever and die. Nature is usually pretty cruel to males. Some male spiders don't even live long enough to eat. There is one species where the male commits suicide--litteraly--by forceing the female to bite him (not shown here). Incredible how many animals have so many ways of doing things to insure the future of there offspring. Such morbid things are by no means limited to spiders--there are countless species from lions in Africa to sharks in Hawaii that have morbid and strange reproductive habits.

I did this shot IN FIELD! An Argeope. Her tiny eyes are hard to see. She's face down here. The palps which can be used to tell males from females are those two things ponted down at the center of this picture. They are sensory organs in females and males letting them "taste" things. Her mouth is under on the other side. This is her cephilothorax. Her head and one part of her body is fused. Her abdomen is bright yellow and not visable in this shot.

An another Pacific Argeope seen now from the bottom or venteral side. She breathes through slits on her abdomen (the top body part here in this picture) And she is holding a small beatle in her mouth eating it. Most people dont' know this but spiders don't just suck the life out of insects through fangs like a vampire. They actually have a mouth under there fangs which is connected to a stomich that continuues to operate constantly called a "sucking stomich". That is connected via her mouth. Digestive enzimes make the meal possible delevered mostly in the bite. I took both these pictures back and front--without even bothering her in her web. If you have a good macro rig it is possible to get neraly every detail. I could have made these shots perfect for anatomy but chose to make them more abstract.

There be many more adventures in the Pacific----above is a sneek preview of another adventure I went on just before I went to Bali. Keep watching to find out what happened.