17 November 2013
Tirtagangga’s water palace
In the middle of never-ending rice paddies in north-eastern Bali stands a palace on water, a palace built by the last heir to the Karangasem throne (the regency of eastern Bali, before it was conquered by the Dutch), the palace of his dreams. Discreetly located in a curve of the road (so discreetly I initially missed it, as my scooter was roaring past it, anticipating the upcoming hill), the palace is merely sixty five years old. What is left to see are the numerous ponds and pools, embellished with moss-filled, cobweb-overtaken, time-damaged statues, acting as reminders of the sumptuous days of the Balinese rajas.
At first, it may seem a little difficult to embrace all the statues, fountains (including that multi-tier pagoda-like fountain standing right in the middle) and stones despite the relatively small grounds of the water palace, at least from a photography standpoint. That’s why I usually spend so much time wherever I go, getting initially acquainted with a new location and reading again my guide books, then figuring out what interesting or original photos I could take (for instance the one with the bull statue looking towards the pond, giving an impression of the photo observer observing a statue itself looking at something else) – to the point that I would sometimes forget to take the mandatory postcard-type pictures.
Carrying a 1.5 kilogram tele lens also provides a good excuse to make yet another round of the same site, since I would usually start with a wide angle lens before switching to that other, much heavier lens (after all, would I say to myself, I have to use it, now that I carried it all the way!). That’s when I don’t get tired of taking those sharp shorts of statues with blurred elements in the background. Do you like them too?
As you can notice, the storm was looming. While I dreaded what would then possibly follow (I had already experienced – and would again experience – some severe monsoon-type rain while riding the scooter), the dark multiple-shade clouds also made for dramatic backgrounds, adding a final touch of uniqueness to some of my pictures.
I habitually finish my posts with something funny or to smile about. This time, it will be the picture of the statue seen at the entrance of the site that will hopefully make you exercise those facial muscles.