One of the satisfactions about being a photographer traveling across Java is that you never know what great photogenic surprises you’re going to come across, but you know you will, & you'll occasionally be shouting to your driver, “Stop! Stop!  Stop! Pull over!”

This happened when we were careening across the rice paddies on the scenic route from Jogjakarta to East Java.  On that route you can't help but loving the unique beauty of the Trenggalek region.

Any visitor to Jogjakarta knows that must see attractions in the region are Borobudur & Prambanan Temples.  But sadly most visitors never know that they should visit Prambanan’s neighbor—Rato Boko’s Palace ruins.

Jogjakarta, in Central Java, Indonesia, may be the world capital of batik textiles, but that’s not the only handicraft that Jogja holds in its cards.  The Javanese are masters of fine detail in all their handcrafts.  So, any visit to Jogja is not complete without a visit to its SE suburb, Kota Gede where Indonesia’s best silversmiths show off their magic.

The Javanese in Indonesia make the world's most intricate wax-masked batik.  Most batik comes from the Javanese artists around Jogjakarta. Some is still done the traditional way—hand-drawn with wax pens by Javanese women batik artists. 

Javanese hand-drawn (batik tulis—pronounced BA-teek TOO-lis) has been around for hundreds of years, especially around Jogjakarta, Indonesia.  Reportedly in the 1920s someone found a way to streamline this labor-intensive process of wax masking cotton cloth with intricate designs & patterns.

Batik is an almost world-wide phenomena, so everyone thinks they know what it is.  To most people it’s nothing more than highfalutin tie-dyed fabric.  That’s why it’s so hard to get people to appreciate the breathtaking amount of work that goes into Javanese batik.

A cycle ride through the Java countryside brings us to a traditional market where all the Javanese villagers around Borobudur do their shopping.  

The Muslim halal meat seller works with her basic tools—a simple butcher’s knife & a well-used scale. 

The Indonesian Javanese villages in the vicinity of Borobudur Buddhist shrine make for fascinating photographs.  If you choose to tour with us next year, you’ll be able to try your hand at shooting the striking village scenes of this culture yourself.

On a bike ride back from shooting the sunrise over Borobudur’s plain we come to a village tofu (tahu in Indonesian) cottage industry.  This is true village life.  Though the owner of this little factory is wealthy, we find bare-bones facilities & skinny village workers.

Everyone goes to Borobudur—the largest ancient Buddhist shrine in the world—and to the hotels & shops immediately around it.  But within a couple kilometers of the shrine, if you head in the right directions, you’ll soon get into Javanese village settings almost untouched by outsiders. 

Stay tuned!  You could be photographing these same scenes when you sign up for a soon-to-be-announced workshop to be held next year.  We won't only be visiting Borobudur shrine; we will also focus on the Javanese villagers in her rice farming vicinity.

Keep watching this blog & you will have an opportunity to go on a cultural photo tour where you can set up your tripod in the same place where mine was when I took these images.  Wait & see if the sunrise you witenss is more spectacular, or your skills better, so that you produce better images than mine!