Indonesia

Photos of Kuta Lombok

You can fly to Kuta lombok from Bali for $20 or take a ferry and moped with two people and two surfboards for $10. Luisa has a busy schedule but we managed a trip for a few days and Kuta Lombok is now starting to change since the opening of the International Airport located 30 minutes away near Praya. There is a shopping centre being built, villa projects, land for sale signs appearing in many places, lots of new restaurants and cheap homestays. However the roads have been and are in the process of being resurfaced and the locals are all still friendly and full of smiles. It is always good to go back and I have not been for 9 months so it was a visit well overdue. However compared to the Traffic and chaos in Bali Kuta Lombo kis still one of the most undeveloped and relaxed places I have ever been to. You do hear stories of muggings and crazy primitive behavior from some of the locals and it is something that I have personally experienced a few years ago. However if you smile they smile back, if you shout they call their friends for support. Aggressive behaviour does seemsa long way off from the relaxed pace of life there, but a warning to those that have never been there before.It is amuslim community the women are covered up so riding around on a moped in a bikini with an expensive camera around your neck might bring some issues to deal with your way. Most of the locals live off the land and have no money and are happy to live as farmers but for the younger ones that have started to watch television and materialistic values have been sinking in the rewards are high if a laptop, camera, or i phone can be taken from an unsuspecting tourist. So be warned. However these are the beaches and views you will see if you come here..

 

Singapore for a week

In Singapore for a week my 6 months in Indonesia have passed and it necessary for me to renew my visa in the Indonesian Embassy here. Just so happens to be one of Asia’s newest and largest skateparks in the city. East Coast Extreme Skatepark.It is floodlight until 10pm and is an absolutely amazing facility to skate free of charge, spotlessly clean and has every type of skateboard obstacle imaginable. Here is still of me skating from a few video clips I shot last night..

 

My knee Meniscus transplant is doing great and feels really good I am super happy about the level of impact I am again able to experience without pain.

Knees getting stronger

Anyone who is considering a knee transplant or a meniscus from a dead donor bank. just to let you know. It has been one year now since my surgery and I am skateboarding concrete bowls every evening for 2-3hours and its getting stronger all the time.

A few pictures of me and my friend Johan Pontell who has just arrived back in Bali to escape the Swedish winter.

Gregor Rankine and the “Highland Fling”..

Have not updated my blog for a while as I have been skateboarding lots (the knee is painful but getting stronger everyday) , surfing and have been moving location around Bali so I have not had a very good internet connection for uploading photos. The next update will be  big chunk and I am moving into a house for the next 6 months close to the Globe Skate bowl. So  hopefully I will be more settled and skateboard more. My return flight back to the Uk was on September 20th however I could not face  the prospect of returning at this stage so I decided to go skateboarding instead of flying back to the Uk, which means I am still here,,, for now.

However here are a few clips and a few photos of Gregor Rankin the person responsible for building the Globe Bowl in Bali..Gregor is in fact a Legendary skater from New Zealand, the top boy back in his day.  He now lives as a family man skating and surfing in Bali.

However a point to note is; He also Invented one of the most complex tricks ever on vert that he named a “Harlem Fling” (not sure why, maybe it is a Scottish thing, I will ask him) As far as I am aware he has never been caught on film doing it that I am aware of. However after he started doing it, Mike McGill squated one out on the flat bottom in the famous skate film “the Search for Animal Chin.” Bucky Lasek has also been known to do one and maybe a few others that I do not know of since then. It is basically an egg plant 540 Flip. Go up the vert ramp backside fly out upside down in a flipping motion grabbing indy and then egg plant / fast plant off from your leading hand. The trick is so difficult it never  became popular. I get to skate with Gregor at least 4 times a week now. He has great lines in the bowl and absolutely rock solid stable style.We have to refer to him as Leg-End as he is too humble to be labelled the Legend he is. While all the other pros of his era were fighting with losing their celebrity status  in the 90′s Gregor held it down being normal and working like the rest of us. He is 48 now and rips. A real inspiration to me and what makes things even radder is he teaches his young daughter and his young Son to skate and they all skate as a family. Gregor has his life on lock down just like a Boss. I will probably make a short film about skateboarding in Bali over the next few months and hopefully we can get some more GR footage..

Portraits from Bali

This is Sophie from Borneo in a peaceful moment somewhere amidst the Chaos in Bali

This is Miss Dayu who always has a big smile for me whenever I see her

The Breezes Towel Art Zoo

I have decided to spend a few nights at the Breezes Hotel in Seminyak again as it has a great gym, pool area and the food and service is 5 star.This time however, when I was presented with my towel’s folded as a hanging monkey and a turtle I asked the boys if they would show me how many creations they were able to come up with from a towel. So what you see below is the Noah’s Ark of the towel folding world..

Padang Padang 2012. Rip Curl Contest of Barrel Surfing

Here are some shots from the reef at Padang Padang that I took as we walked around to find a location to take some photos of Luisa doing her yoga poses with the wave in the background. At approximately an hour before sunset time the wave which is on the west coast of Bali is heavily backlit by the sunset giving these wonderful green caves. It is an absolute exposure nightmare for photography. The bright light completely overexposes the sea and puts the surfer in the dark  however the raw files on the Canon 5Dmk2 allow for enough colour correction and exposure compensation to be able to lift all the detail in post processing. This is due to the full frame sensor. These were taken hand held with a 70-200mm lens and a 2x extender. Not the best setup for land shots of surfing as the extender softens all the edges. These are also pretty cropped too but still capture the awe of Padang Padang’s hefty barrel over shallow sharp reef.

Beautiful Balinese Smiles and Upacara

A few more smiley faces, there is no shortage of ceremony in Bali and it seems that the community spirit keeps everyone feeling involved and happy regardless of their role and position in the community..

 

Chez Gado Gado Restaurant

This is one of the most beautiful places to eat in Bali. Located in Seminyak overlooking the beach, the atmosphere is great and the food and drinks are wonderful. I was Invited by my good friend Alison to come and take some photos in exchange for some free food. whilst she was working doing a restaurant review. Absolutely wonderful.

Indonesian coins, a photography lesson.. Macro photography

This photograph is dedicated to my my friend Handa, we were speaking about photography yesterday and I was explaining how with the correct understanding of light, reflection and perspective you can discover unlock and present the beauty of any given subject. This is a photograph of three Indonesian coins worth approximately 15 cents or 10 Uk pence. They literally have no monetary value except to pay to park a motorbike for an hour on the side of the road. However with the right combination of technique and appreciation for the detail and beauty that they do have, It is possible to present them in a way that looks as though they belong in a Jewellery catalog or the Royal Mint…

GWK Bali’s Cultural Centre

Bali Traditional Dance, Costumes, Sculpture and Architecture in Bali’s Cultural Centre GWK located in Ungasan in the Bukit Peninsula

Bali Gardens..

The light here is amazing, and I can not resist taking little snapshots of all the natural beauty that exists in the corners of the chaos known as Kuta Bali..Such contrast here, concrete buildings and tourism everywhere and the roads jam packed with traffic. However there are so many places where pockets of natural beauty arise like a phoenix from the dust of the building sites everywhere and this is what you can see when you look closely.

Globe Bowl.. Bali

I have been skateboarding for two weeks now and my knee is healing and recovering well. My friends Tony, Fernando and Paul from the Uk are all trying to improve their bowl riding skills. Concrete scares most people but the rewards are there if you persevere. The difference in Bali between being a beginner surfer and skateboarder is skateboarders are happy to teach you and share the bowl. In the sea you have absolutely no chance of anyone sharing a wave with you here. Fernando is aiming to go as high as the tiles one day,.The little one is Gregor Rankine’s Little boy Robbie, walking in the the old boys footsteps…

 

Johnny Dee!!

This is Johnny I met him at the Globe Bowl 2 years ago and bumped into him again this week, He has lived here four approx 4 years. This is Johnny surfing Uluwatu on a big swell, photo courtesy Johnny. These are some photos of Johnny skating the bowl,..We are trying to get him to step up his game on a skateboard with the same confidence he has in the sea. But the truth is for a young man uninjured with such big shiny muscles, combined with his “charge it” attitude in the sea. Truth is he skates like a “pussy” bailing his airs and only just scratching the pool coping with his trucks in a little 5ft deep concrete bowl. Hopefully over the next few months we can get him to start skating more like his torso suggests!!!

The Breezes, Seminyak Bali

For a personal treat to myself I spent some time staying in a wonderful hotel in Seminyak Bali. It is called the Breezes as it aptly picks up the gentle sea breeze from Seminyak beach at the end of the road. It is located in Jalan Camplung Tanduk in the more upmarket end of Bali called Seminyak. Although still very close to Kuta, Seminyak offers a level of luxury I can not usually afford. However for a short stay the hot water in the rooms, endless lengths of swimming pools combined with up to date gym facilities and great food made a well needed change from my soggy mattress at Mekar Jaya Bungalows. The dining here is great and the pool bar and submerged seating in the pool area are so very different from the style of living I experience in the UK. The hotel has beautiful detailing through out the buildings and the tropical gardens made it a very relaxing time for me. The staff at the Breezes as you can see are so genuinely friendly and helpful it is obvious to see that the management have a great idea of how to treat people and this definitely seems to radiate in the essence of my short stay here. I will most definitely be coming back again for another short stay before I leave Bali.

Photography lesson 1.

The light in Bali allows for such magnificent colours in my photography, I just couldn’t resist sharing a few shots with my friends back in the UK as I hear it has rained most of the summer. Many people said to me why are you going to Bali in the UK Summer? the answer is you are guaranteed one here and in the UK from my experience summer usually doesn’t happen.The irony  here though is,  that now in Bali at 26 degrees celsius air and sea it is actually winter here as I type this.

 

Uluwatu

Looks like this at sunset…

Portraits of Bali, random acts of smilenness

I do not like to take my camera to the beach the sand frightens me way more than ever getting smashed by an oversize wave. Sand seems to get everywhere and camera equipment is no exception. Well I was emailed a link to some portraits that a photographer Lee Turner from Bali Dream Weddings magazine took on his travels and it inspired me to take take my camera out with me on my bicycle to Kuta Beach yesterday.

Bali is all about Kuta Beach for so many people here. It faces perfectly west and has a sunset of sorts nearly every evening at 6am. It is full of characters from all the corners of the world. So I took my 50mm lens down the beach the first portrait on the way was when I stopped and  spoke to the blind beggar who is always sat on the side of the road. He was actually really happy when I asked if I could take his photo and then repositioned himself and sat straight for the shot. Everybody accelerates past him every day, being blind would possibly be the worst thing for me as a photographer. Today stopping for that moment with him realigned my attitudes to what I should be thankful for. Yes sure I gave him some money but wouldn’t you rather give someone back their eyesight. Well I guess that is where we differ from Jesus, who can do that bit.

The other shots are from the people I see daily at the beach, the surf instructors, the woman selling bracelets, the men selling Coca Cola and Bintang beer. The big smiles are from the man selling his paintings on his shoulder. The young girls come down to do promotional work for Sky garden Nightclub. They like to pose with the heads tilted sideways and a fish pout. Standard issue photo pose here amongst young local girls. The couple laughing and smiling are great, this woman has made me food and coffee daily whenever I am in Bali for a few years total now. Her husband has a crooked eyed and he is teaching me to play a local instrument called gamelan, like a bamboo xylophone. In return I am helping him with some physical exercises to get his belly down.

The Woman with the fruit bowl on her head is one of the most beautiful people you could randomly meet on the beach. A collection of hats given to her by travellers on their holidays are her trademark. Her smile radiates a natural beauty and kindness unrivalled by many. Today with my camera she mentioned she often sees the students take a photo jumping and didn’t know how to get one herself. So I said “jump” and she said “how high?” and take a look at that smile! Then not to forget Nyoman with the cigarette he has worked at Mekar Jaya hotel as long as far longer than the 4 year span over which I have stayed there. Then there are the women from Sumatra who work at Smiles Warung  Jl Patimura. Kina in the Yellow and her mother and sisters feed me most evenings. So what you see below is what you would see too if you spent a few hours in Kuta. People want you to give them money here but when you pay someone attention what you really end up paying for is a smile… and that is priceless.

Ali, Fernando, Tony, Rune, Erin

These are my friends in Bali, Ali is from Australia and spent time all over running a resort living in Fiji and then living in the UK in Brighton, she is a writer and works and lives in Bali, Alison writes for food and villa magazines and can organize free meals in the most amazing places, thanks again Alison. Rune with the shaved head and his girlfriend Erin, Rune is a skater and surfer from Norway, he works in Norway and travels to Bali regularly. He surfs hard and rips a concrete bowl apart at mach speeds. His girlfriend Erin surfs well and is now learning to skate, she is originally from the jungle in Jawa and has stories that will make your hair stand on end and give you goosebumps listening,..Erin speaks English far better than the average Indonesian and is educated in so many ways that only the life she has lived could teach a person.

Fernando is the handsome man with big smile and the model looks, he is from Brazil and is living the steps towards of his imagination in Bali, now surfing every day, he has been here since I last visited and has now agreed to work towards the wingsuit flying dream with me. Tony with the dreds is a skateboarder and very talented involved in film sound engineering from Majorca now surfing and staying in Bali between projects..Tony is one of the funniest people on the planet absolutely hilarious, he presently has a small surf infection (think pimple) on one of his legs  and he is taking antibiotics for it. However he would like far more sympathy than we are able to give him looking at how small it is, but he assures us it is very painful.

Anyway during the banter over the course of the evening, the topics of relationships, love and meeting women in Bali was discussed and this little gem of wisdom arose from amongst the boys and I will never forget it,..”  “On a night out partying and drinking the women that you meet and are not interested at 10pm, become the ones that you will be chasing at midnight and then paying for at 2am” Well In Bali there has never been a truer word said…The girls walk around wearing t shirts stating “no money no honey” Anyway we all know better, (at least for now)  Anyway If I had a ship this would be my crew…

Skateboarding Sanur Bowl Bali, Julien Bergougnoux, Rune Lagaide

Skateboarding Sanur Bowl Bali, Julien Bergougnoux, Rune Lagaide. This is Julien, he has lived in Bali 14 years. Originally from France he now skates and surfs each day in the warmth of a tropical climate. Julien rips this bowl hard. He knows it  better than anyone as he built it in his back yard under the palm trees. Julian is 37 and is a real inspiration, Surfers are pretty selfish people on the whole and surfing in a crowd you will understand what I mean, Skateboarders who surf are different, Julien is generous and kind enough to let anyone skate or ride his bowl..Julien with some frontside transfers and Rune with some frontside nosebones in the deep end.

This is Julien in his bowl

Paddy fields and palm trees and mountains on the horizon

Just some of the views when you decide to ride a bicycle or moped off the beaten track