For Cat Lovers

My very first pet as an adult (on my own) was an adopted barn cat from Norfolk, England. Her name was Ally. Named after Ally Sheedy. That was back in 1985 when I lived in the UK. Since then, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for felines.

Kitty cats greet me at a warung in Surabaya - Bali Street Photographer August 2019
A friendly feline greets me at a warung in Surabaya – Bali Street Photographer in East Java August 2019

Connecting with kitty cats in Bali is a bit of a challenge. Cats aren’t as common as dogs on the island. Basically, the dogs rule the streets in Bali.

But, when we are in Surabaya visiting family, I get my cat fix. On the island of Java, cats rule the streets. Street dogs in Java are rare–the opposite of Bali.

Kitty cats waiting for scraps at a warung in Surabaya - Bali Street Photographer August 2019
Kitty cats waiting for scraps at a warung (street food stall) in Surabaya – Bali Street Photographer in East Java August 2019
This little kitty cats really wanted to meet me and sniff my bicycle on the backstreets of Surabaya - Bali Street Photographer August 2019
This little kitty really wanted (chased after me on my bicycle) to meet me and sniff my bicycle on the backstreets of Surabaya – Bali Street Photographer in East Java August 2019
Kitty cats with a woman at a warung in Surabaya - Bali Street Photographer August 2019
A kitty cat with a cat loving shop keeper at a warung in Surabaya – Bali Street Photographer in East Java August 2019

This post is dedicated to all the cat lovers who follow Thanks for following and for your support to the hard working people rescuing/rehoming Bali’s street cats at Villa Kitty.

This post is also motivated by the recent inspiring cat stories from Kathryn Presner. Please visit her site and have a read.

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Culture Photography

Bali Street People

Street Life

Life is in your face on the streets of Indonesia. Bali is no exception.

Toy Bicycle Vendor Outside Naughty Nuri's - Bali Street Photographer
Toy Bicycle Vendor Outside Naughty Nuri’s – Bali Street Photographer

Beggars, vendors, street food sellers, & taxi drivers are a big part of every day Bali. This is why street photography here is never a dull moment.

Street People Ubud Bali - Bali Street Photographer
Street People Ubud Bali – Bali Street Photographer
Kaki lima - Ubud Bali - 35 mm film - Bali Street Photographer
Kaki lima (five legs) food vendor on Jalan Raya Ubud on 35mm film.

Books, Books, & More Books

Imagine climbing into that favourite cozy little cubby when you were a child–surrounded by your favourite books. Books that inspire you to dream and wonder in awe and imagination.

Then Ganesha Bookstore in Ubud, Bali is a must visit for you while you are in town.

Learn more and check out the new photos on the What to do in Ubud page.


The Bemo – Bali’s Shared Public Bus

The Philippines as its Jeepney. Thailand has its Songthaew. Jakarta has its Angkot. Bali has its Bemo.

Taking a Bemo ride an adventure in itself. Photographing a Bemo can lead to interesting and unique compositions. Here’s a small collection of examples.

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Activities Sightseeing

Ini Bali // This is Bali

Having a jalan-jalan through the pasar during the oleh-oleh time. Pasar Ubud has three distinct phases.

  1. Pagi-Pagi or early morning time. This is where authentic everyday Bali is at it’s best.
  2. Transition Time where the traditional market gives way to souvenir stalls. This is the best time to see the most things carried on one head. Read more about Transition Time here.
  3. Oleh-Oleh or the vibrant souvenir phase where tourist reign and can easily outnumber the locals.

I recommend experiencing all three while in Ubud.

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Street Scenes From Galungan/Kuningan 2019

Random photographs of my wanderings around Ubud during Bali’s most holiest time of the year.

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New Look for Bali Street Photographer .com!

Break out the Universal Donuts! It’s Party time! was originally launched in July 2017. Gosh how time flies. I’m happy to announce two major design changes that should make finding info on the site easier!

New Grid Layout for the News Blog Page on Bali Street Photographer

1. Grid View for the News/Blog Page

If you viewed the news blog on a large display before this update, you’d have seen one long slab of sequential posts. This page now displays feature images and text snippets in a three column grid. Making it easier to browse multiple teasers at a glance. And, it’s what all the hip kids are doing.

A big shout out to Chris Knowles and his article on WPMU DEV where I learned how to implement the new grid using custom CSS. This grid is exactly what the News page needed like forever.

What to do in Ubud - New Dedicated Page on Bali Street Photographer

2. Dedicated What to do in Ubud Page

Ah, I finally made some time (3-days!) to break-up the original monolithic Favourite Ubud Hangouts post. This is one of the most viewed posts on the site. It needed some up-to-date TLC badly. It still needs some fresh photos. I’m working on it lol.

Each section now has it’s own dedicated page. And, I’m about 50% done giving each hangout its own page too. Keeping up with websites and keeping up with the ever changing Ubud scene will always be (fun) works in progress.

Special thanks to Kathryn Presner at Automattic for motivating me to finally make this change. And, much love to the folks at AudioTheme who make the Ovation theme that powers this site–rock on guys!

Let me know what you think about the changes. Leave me a comment.

Share & enjoy!

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Photography Sightseeing

Guest Photographer Paul from Australia

I’m pleased to announce a new addition to the Bali Street Photographer galleries. Please have a look at Paul Eveleigh’s wonderful photograph contributions.

I especially love the composition work in these three lovely images.

See the rest on Paul’s dedicated gallery.

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Strangers Are Friends We Haven’t Met Yet

Photographing People

Photographing people is a hot topic for street photography. This particular subject comes up a lot. Today, I’m sharing with you how I approach photographing people on the street.

“Strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet.” ~Peter Swanson

Tip #1 Commit This Quote to Memory

This endearing quote is my mantra. First tip, make this mantra yours too. Repeat these words silently in your head often. The message in these words will set the tone when you are out on the street.

Tip #2 Set a Clear & Pure Intention to Make Art

In my humble opinion (IMHO), street photography is about mindset. It’s because of this philosophy, I wrote the Bali Street Photographer Manifesto.

Mission Statement for Bali Street Photographer

  • To see rather than look.
  • To create rather than take.
  • To explore rather than visit.
  • To connect rather than separate.

More mantras to practice 😉

The mindset makes the difference. Taking photographs and making photographs are two different things. Photography is an art. Making photographs is making art.

The vibe you give off behind the lens will be noticed. If your intention is ego-based (e.g. getting likes on IG), it will show. Your facial features will be more intense—maybe even aggressive looking. Your movements will be rough and noticed.

If you have little-to-no expectations, have an open attitude, or treat everything as a gift, then your face and body language will be more relaxed. You’ll blend-in easier. You’ll give off a more genuine and welcoming vibe.

Woman through a bemo window - Pasar Ubud Bali Street Photography Tours
“Looking for Saul” in Ubud, Bali.

Artistic Inspiration

Tip #3 Understand the Different STYLES

  1. 3+ Metres Away. If people are more than three metres away, they are basically in the open. If you have a wide angle lens (best for street photography), they’ll be in the frame. Do you need to ask permission first? Generally, no.
  2. 2 Metres or Less. Unless you are in a crowd or someone walks right in front of your camera while clicking, always ask permission to click when you are two metres or less away. I try not to make a big deal when asking—maybe make eye contact, point at your camera, and smile. Why? Because street photography is about capturing daily life. Once people pose for the photo with the gratuitous high sign (or thumbs up), game over. The candid moment is gone.
  3. Be Lost in the Crowd / Be a Tourist. Be a tourist. Get lost in the crowd. When you have these two things going for you, most people expect you to make photographs. If they even notice you at all. In crowded places, people will be walking into your frame at all distances. It’s not practical to ask everyone for permission. Unless, of course, you come into a face-to-face one-on-one situation. If this is the case, ask.
  4. Click and Smile. I’m talking about a genuine smile, of course. I actually don’t prescribe you smile all the time. But, if you enjoy photography, then a natural smile is inevitable.
  5. Body Language. If you see someone in front of your lens shy-away, frown, or give you the stop sign, don’t click the shutter. Maybe even say you’re sorry (with a smile) in their native language.
  6. Make New Friends (Saving the Best for Last). Be curious. Be authentically interested in what people do. No matter how mundane. I love chatting with the ladies at the market who make the banten (offerings) from scratch every day. Some of the vendors that I make the time to speak with, have been doing what they do starting at 4 am every morning for 20 years. This might seem like the most banal thing for them or for most photographers. For me, it’s exciting and new every time. Now, these “former strangers” are friends. And, opportunities to photograph them come often. It’s fun all around.

Caveat: please abide by your local rules and regulations. Above all, be polite.

Chasing harsh light - Pasar Ubud Bali Street Photography Tours
Moments before I made this street portrait, this woman and I were talking about the food she was selling. I asked her permission to make a photo. I said I like the light on her face. She said no problem.

Tip #4 Don’t Take Things Personally, Yet Be Empathetic

Be empathetic. Say you are on your lunch break after a crazy hectic morning at the office. You are sitting at your quiet place (in public), enjoying your sandwich. You feel this morning’s stress start to melt away. Then, along comes a 80 mm lens aimed right at you from 2-3 meters away—click. Arrgggh.

Don’t take things personally. If someone says no or waves you off, it’s not about you. Respect their space. It’s ok. As with life in general, don’t let rejections discourage you.

Parting Exercise

Count the number of times in the article you see these words or phrases.

  1. Take a picture/photo.
  2. Shoot the camera/person.
  3. User.
  4. Canon.
  5. Nikon.
  6. FujiFilm.
  7. iPhone.
  8. Samsung.
Photographing People - Balinese Bapak on 35mm film
I asked this kind gentleman if could make a portrait of him. He adjusted his posture a bit, then nodded ok.

All photos were made with a 23mm or 55mm lens. No zooms or excessive cropping done.

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Baby Dog – Latest Addition to the I Love Bali Dogs Gallery

Born to be Wild

We call him Baby Dog. Baby Dog is a Bali Street Dog who refuses to be taken in. Meaning he loves his freedom so much that he will probably never be “domesticated”.

We’re Owned by Him 😉

We’ve been watching over him ever since his mother passed last year. We called her Mommy Dog. Baby Dog now lives in our front yard because of a new construction project at his original home. We’re happy he chose to be closer to us. We love him. And, he’s grown fond of us.

See his photo and more images of Bali’s beloved street dogs in the I Love Bali Dogs photo gallery.

Bali dog on Galungan Day May 2018 - Bali Street Photographer
“Mommy Dog” – Bali Street Dog on Galungan Day May 2018.

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