It’s that time of the year again..2016 is ending very soon. Photographically, as a freelance-hobbyist photographer, this year has been one of my favourite year as a photographer. The reason is 2016 is the year that I managed to tick-off the top two places on my bucket list – Iceland and Lofoten Islands, Norway.
But before we get to that, lets start from the beginning of the year. In March, I traveled to Mount Bromo National Park in East Java of Indonesia with few of my comrades. None of us been there before so we was pretty excited to see the famous sea of clouds in the park.
24/4 – Thursday morning : Our flight delayed for over an hour so we arrived in Surabaya airport around 1am. We met Pak Irsam, our local guide for this trip. It was then a long 4-5 hours drive from Surabaya city to Bromo Tengger Semeru National park. Our eyes couldn’t take it anymore so everyone fell asleep except for Pak Irsam himself because he got to drive.
Cemoro Lawang is a very small hamlet north-east of Mount Bromo (East Java), Indonesia with the altitude of 2,217 meters above sea level.This hamlet is a part of Ngadisari Village, Sukapura in the Probolinggo Regency.
Frame-grab from my timelapse sequence. Absolutely magnificent view when the stormy clouds came into the scene.
Our next location is the crater of Mt. Bromo. To be honest, I didn’t expect a horse ride which was arranged by Pak Irsam. It’s around 1 km distance from the car park up to the crater so a horse ride definitely ease the journey. Photo below is a courtesy from Pak Zahar’s camera. 🙂
Anyway, I thought the horse ride would take us all the way up to the crater, but I was wrong. The ride stops at the stairways then we had to climb it ourself and it was a pretty steep climb. Had to stop few times to catch some breath!
Here’s the stairways and abam Jemang at one of the many pit-stop we had to make before reaching the peak.
The crater of Mt. Bromo and its constantly belches white sulfurous smoke.
A quick selfie with Jemang and Azmi. Too bad Pak Zahar didn’t make it to the top because he could not stand the heavy sulfur smoke.
24/3 – Thursday morning : Our second day starts as early as 2.00am. Our next location is Penanjakan 1, which happens to be the most famous viewpoint in the national park. It’s located approximately about 1 hour drive but its not your ordinary drive. It was a really bumpy drive even on a 4×4 vehicle. Not recommended for those who suffers back-pain etc. We reached Penanjakan 1 around 3.00am and the parking area is already looks like a night market. The place is filled with lots of tourist!
So after got dropped by our driver, we then hike up to the viewpoint which located around 500 meters from the parking area. Pak Irsam showed us where to set our tripod and luckily the front seat is not yet taken. We then setup all our gears and waited patiently for the sunrise. It gets pretty cold sometimes but thanks to down jacket and a neck-warmer, I’m all covered.
Here’s a photo taken around 3.30am. As you can see, the light trails down in the caldera is from all the 4×4 vehicle, transporting tourist from Ngadisari village to Penanjakan 1. Better be early to grab the front seat!
After few hours waiting and shivering in the cold weather, the sun is about to rise. Here’s a panorama of the blue hour taken with Sony A7RM2 + FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens. Click on the photo to view in large.
When I saw the blue hour, I thought to myself, this could be a pretty amazing sunrise and as the sun progressed higher, the mesmerizing colours starts to appear. We, landscape photographers express this moment as “the magic hour”. Check out behind the scenes photo below taken with Sony A5100.
As you can see, the sun rose slightly to left of Mt. Bromo. But the strong colours did reflects all the way to the volcano hence the final result below. I present to you….”When Earth Meets Sky” a panoramic image generated from 8 vertical shots taken with Sony A7RM2 + FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens. I just had to take panos because I wanted to capture everything for this shot. Final resolution for this pano is 12,600px wide!
My other camera, Sony A7SM2 was running on timelapse mode and managed to capture the beautiful sunrise display changing rapidly. We waited for quite sometimes and I when I was about to pack all my gears, I saw this view of “The Great Mountain” of Mahameru standing tall behind Mt. Bromo.
Our next destination is to the Savannah Field. The place is actually a field of grass surrounded by the hills and is also one of the attraction when visiting the national park. But we encounter some problem when we are on our way to the location. It rained the night before so the track road gets a bit wet and muddy. Our 4×4 driver gets a bit clever and thought he could get through the muddy road. But in the end, he got us all stucked!
We had to abandoned our 4×4 and wait for another truck to pass by to get help. Turns out there were few other trucks that got stucked too.
After that, we continue our journey to Savannah Field. Its just a short drive to reach there. But we did not go all the way in as Pak Irsam took us to one of the best viewpoint (I guess) available in the park. It looks a little bit like the famous Dolomites in Italy. Except there is no huge mountains in the background. But I guess I can call this as Asia’s Dolomites…
And of course, a compulsory group shot. Credit goes to our guide, Pak Irsam. 🙂
After spending a few hours in the field, we head back to our hotel, Cemara Indah for breakfast and rest. The best thing about our hotel is, the view itself is facing Mt. Bromo. We had our sunset shooting just from the hotel lookout point. Here’s my camera running on timelapse mode.
Jemang and Pak Zahar admiring our hotel view. Azmi is out of the frame as he was standing slightly to the left of this photo. I guess he gets the best composition, or same.
This session wrapped our short visit to Mt. Bromo. The next day before checking out, we went out in the morning for quick shoot in Ngadisari Village. But, nothing much to share so I just skipped that. 🙂
Thank Sony Malaysia for the opportunity to shoot with the new FE 24-70 f/2.8 G-Master lens on this trip. The new lens has successfully kept my ultra wide angle in the bag most of the time. 🙂
I hope everyone enjoy this post and hopefully it will inspire you to get out and shoot. Feel free to share and spread the love for landscape photography!
Until my next post, assalamualaikum wr wbt. 🙂
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