The island of Java, in Indonesia has been documented to have the most fertile soil in the world. The volcanic soil here grows rice like crazy. Where there’s abundant food people have time to do more than just look for dinner & culture thrives.  

Many Javanese have long been freed up to delve deeply into the arts.  Batik, filigree silver making, ornate wood carving—some of the world’s best of these can be found in Java.  And then, there’s wayang kulit shadow puppet theatre!

When the Dutch colonized Java in modern-day Indonesia they struggled with the equatorial heat.  They eventually figured out that the high volcanoes of Java provided cool temperatures—if you could get there.  So they built roads into the highlands & then developed hill stations where they could retreat.

For some time we've been telling you about an amazing photo tour opportunity that's coming up--and sharing images from the stunning locations & people we'll see on this journey. We're pleased to tell you that this trip is now open for registration.  

NW Bali is a mostly undiscovered treasure.  Where the southern third of Bali is sinking under the weight of Australian tourists & all the bars & souvenir shops catering to them, NW Bali has only recently emerged on the tourist radar.

A few months ago my wife & I had opportunity to visit world-famous Mount Ijen crater in East Java, Indonesia.  This volcano has been featured on many documentaries & special TV broadcasts.  This is the place where famous French volcanologists Katia & Maurice Krafft dared to float on a highly acidic sulfur crater lake in a rubber raft. 

The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park is like the Grand Canyon of Indonesia-in East Java. 

In pre-history there was an enormous volcano here. At some point it erupted leaving a massive crater 14 kilometers across.   In the middle of this ancient mega-crater are three newer volcanic craters—Mounts Bromo—still very active,  Batok & Kursi.  These triplet craters are surrounded by sea of sand that’s covered most mornings by a mysterious feeling blanket of fog. 

Every significant town in Java has a bird market.  This is because just about every self-respecting Javanese, Sundanese or Madurese man (the three major ethnic groups of Java) owns at least one pet bird—unless he’s destitute. 

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!