Initial thoughts on Indonesia | HDR Photo Essay

Initial thoughts on Indonesia in Photos

Initial thoughts on Indonesia through HDR photos
Initial thoughts on Indonesia through HDR photos

Rachel’s look of horror said it all. The taxi driver barely noticed the girl as she stood outside of our window with her head pressed against the glass, slowly putting her hand to her mouth in an eating gesture. She couldn’t have been more than 8. Her torn clothing and gaunt face suggested she’d experienced more than an 8 year old should. She continued to wander in and out of the 4x4s, BMWs, Mercedes, and whatever else the privileged classes drive in Indonesia. No one gave her money, as far as I could see. I glanced around and noticed she wasn’t the only one out there. 7 or 8 others were wading through the traffic in search of generosity.

Photo Essay: Visual tour of Indonesia

Prambanan temple sunset Indonesia

This seething city, Jakarta, breaks hearts at first. The rich walk by in expensive attire, slightly overweight, while the poor slump hopelessly on the same path. Indonesia isn’t a 3rd world country. But the gap between the rich and middle classes seems to be insurmountable. In our new home, Yogyakarta, the difference isn’t as immediately apparent. The poor still exist, of course, but in smaller numbers it seems.

Make shift homes in Indonesia.

Towards us, the ‘rich Bules’, Indonesians in general have been extremely welcoming. They are considerate in our attempts at speaking Indonesian. So many of them beam a smile at us as soon as they realise we’re friendly. Many are at the ready to help, even without financial reward – a noble thing considering how little so many have. The country is as green as I’ve ever experienced. The roads, a veritable death trap, pulsate from morning till night. Becak drivers, taxis, scooters, cars, lorries, vans, and bikes all jostle for their position in the lane, while we stand on the sidewalk figuring out how on earth we’re going to get across.

Train station in Jakarta, Indonesia

I like the vibrancy of this city. Everywhere we go it’s full of life and activity. Even the volcanoes refuse to relax for long.

Friendly school kids in Indonesia.

Buddhist and Hindu temples surround Yogya from all angles. Our recent visit to Candi Prambanan was simply breath-taking.

Funny becak driver in Indonesia.

We’ve got 5 months left in Indonesia – learning the language is our main objective. While we also hope to learn to cross the road during that time, we’d love to make a life, and friends in this remarkably confusing and beautiful country. Top Travel Bloggers Jimmy McIntyre and his wife are full time travel writers. Jimmy has proficiency in 4 languages: Spanish, French, Indonesian, and Italian. He is also an avid user of HDR photography. You can read about their journey at Strange Lands Travel Blog and join their Facebook page.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Pingback: Exploring Wadi Rum, Sleeping in a Bedouin Tent and Riding a Camel in Jordan - Travel Destinations
  2. Pingback: A tour of our neighborhood in Chiang Mai, Thailand travel video
  3. Pingback: How to move from travel blogging to travel journalism | Matador … | journalism blog
  4. says: Turtle

    There’s a lot of mixed opinion about HDR in the comments here. I guess the thing is to know when to use it – not become too reliant on it.
    To my eye, it works really well with the graffiti, the train and the canal scene.
    Personally I’m not normally a huge fan of it when people are in the picture.
    Still, Jimmy’s shots are all fantastic!

  5. says: Jason

    Some great HDR work their Samuel. Particularly like the shot of the young school children. You dont see allot of HDR travel photography of groups of people like this. Something a little different. Great Capture….

  6. Pingback: Cyber-Travel Friday (1st Edition)
  7. says: Margyle

    These pictures are unreal! The temple pictures look like the entrance to hell… is it wrong that I still want to go inside? lol
    Years ago we had an exchange student from Indonesia stay with us and all the other exchange students were from wealthier families, but he was not and always felt a little out of place, even in Canada and living in the same conditions as all the others. I still remember how happy he was when he called home for the first time in 6 months. It was a learning experience for us as well!

  8. says: Dr.M

    Yes I think the train one is one of the best out of the bunch. But the best part of the post was the story telling, I really enjoyed it. I hope I will be able to go and take some pics myself of those places and find a dramatic sky like the one you had 😉 Considered that I will spend at least 3-4 months in Indonesia during my RWT I should have the chance.

  9. says: Bama

    Hey! A post about Indonesia! Those HDR pictures of Prambanan temples are amazing. I never imagined it would look so good in HDR (I like how the relief carvings become more visible in HDR photo). The story about Jakarta is so true. Unlike other place in Indonesia, it’s where the rich and the poor live side by side in such a stark contrast. However many people found more lovely things about the city when they dig deeper to find the city’s soul.

  10. says: Arti

    Your first two shots are just, AWESOME! Loved them, how you shot them. Can you tell me too.
    And looking forward to your tales.
    Have a wonderful day Samuel.

  11. says: @wftristan

    Some Lovely shots here – personally I would rather see Normal photographs (but thats only my personal taste) Having said that – One of the guy stood in front of the Graffiti is fantastic.


  12. says: Heather

    Photos were great – nice views of Prambanan! Having lived in Yogya myself (and heading back there in September), I can say that your hotos have captured it well.

    One thing you may want to be aware of is that you can feel free to give money to the people on the street (I always give at least 1000 RP), but never from a taxi cab – it’s illegal (and probably why your cab driver didn’t really notice the girl).

    Also, when crossing the street – cross one section first, then stand in the middle of the road waiting for an opening to cross the other half. If a motorbike is coming, but is at least 50 yards away, then don’t worry, just walk calmly across – they won’t hit you. Cars and buses you should watch out for, but traffic laws in Indonesia favor the smaller vehicle, meaning pedestrians always win. Traffic fees are huge, and since you’re bule, they will be absolutely sure to avoid you. Strange logic, but it works!

    If you’re in Yogya, I recommend Nasi Bakar, a great little lesehan down on Jalan Kaliurang. There’s also a great warung up around km 5 or so (just after Ring Road Utara) that serves AMAZING tempeh penyet. And if you’re in the mood for air conditioning, free wifi, and semi-western food, you should head to Parsley. And if you’re anywhere near Jalan Pancasila, there’s a place called Coklat nearby that has (you guessed it) a bunch of chocolate-related dishes. Just in case you’re looking for good food places!

  13. says: Glen Webber - NZ birding pictures.

    Wow Sam!

    Thats some of the best HDR work I’ve seen in ages.
    Just awesome. Like’d.


  14. says: Laurence

    HDR is one of those techniques that can be over or mis-used. Certainly not the case with these photos – really quite amazing stuff! The first one in particular is incredible.

  15. says: Jimmy

    Thanks to all who commented. HDR is not for everyone, but it’s a real passion of mine. Combining that with living in Indonesia, means I never put my camera down.

  16. says: Abby

    What a beautiful essay, Jimmy! Your love and loyalty to Indonesia comes through, even as it is of your first impression. I love your photos, what energy.

  17. says: Bodlagz

    I remember visiting Jakarta some years ago, I had a local guide who took me on a train ride and then to a tower, can’t remember what it was called but the views from the top are incredible.