Klungkung Waterfall at Tukad Unda Dam in Bali, Indonesia
I thought I would write about my waterfall photo and the experience I had. A few people have asked about it. One of the questions I get asked is “did you photoshop it”? The answer to that is no. It was created 100% in camera, in one single exposure, and then made into b&w in Lightroom. A photograph like this really doesn’t need any photoshop. In fact, I wouldn't even know what to photoshop! Another question i'm getting asked is about the location. For anyone who is interested, this is in Tukad Unda, a place called Klungkung, in Bali, Indonesia.
The photo won a Gold award at this year’s Epson/NZIPP Iris Photography Awards and I was absolutely thrilled that it did. Since being there, I have seen quite a few different photographs of this place but not many are slow exposures. It just seemed obvious to me to use a longer exposure. After waddling through knee high flowing water, I balanced myself, tripod, camera and lens on a small slippery rock. I tried to frame the image so that it would give the feeling of a smaller person in a larger waterfall
Back in 2012, my brother got married in Candidasa, a beautiful little East coast village in Bali. At the end of our trip, our driver was taking us back to Kuta Airport for our flight back to NZ, and we got lost and had to take a detour to get back on the main road. Boy was I lucky, because on that detour we drove over a bridge and I just happened to look to my right and see this amazing scene that blew my mind
I didn’t say much at the time as the mood on a detour isn't always a good one, and there was no way we could stop either as we had a plane to catch! We continued to drive and I made a mental note to try find this place on my next visit to Bali. I was trying to take note of the road signs or anything that could help me find out where it was, and all I could remember was a sign on a brick wall that read ‘Tukad Unda - KlungKung’. I made a note of it on my phone and never really thought about it again. Until I was back in Bali for my own wedding last year. We had an amazing time and on the last 3 days I felt that I had to spend at least one of the days seeing and photographing something new. When you’ve travelled to Bali at least 5 times, things start to look the same and while it’s never boring, for a photographer you can get tired of photographing beautiful sunsets. I then remembered the scene at Tukad Unda. I gave the name to my legendary driver (Agung) and he did some enquiring on how to get there. So we set off at 4am the next morning from Ubud, and after a tight squeeze through a tiny little road with our Jeep, we arrived at the waterfall. It was still dark and the familiar sound of Bali chickens was echoing through the street. I didn’t mind being early, as I knew that there was only a small gap with the best light and once that sun came up, photographing reflective water would have been about as fun as using a stranger's toothbrush
As things started to lighten up, the little town came alive. It was a beautiful and calm location, with an oddly exciting buzz as I knew I was about to create something awesome. But there was something interesting about it all as I noticed people arriving with their buckets. I sat on a rock and watched locals washing both their clothes and themselves in the flowing water. Many were brushing their teeth and having their daily clean up. I watched kids play while they peed from off the rocks and into the water. It became clear to me that this was everyday routine for these people, and while I thought it was a bit strange and extraordinary, they obviously knew no different
I was lucky enough to have my driver Agung with me, who made it a bit easier when it came to having a conversation with the locals. I met some fascinating and humorous characters. I left pretty stoked with the photographs I got but I couldn't help but wonder what the local people thought of me - frothing at the mouth with the excitement of trying to create some cool photographs, while I pointed my camera and lens at their normal everyday lives