Technically there is nothing special or extraordinary in the shot. The subject itself is what is superb. Gunung Agung here in Bali, Indonesia started rumbling a few months back. Seismic activity was rising day by day, and many Indonesian people had to evacuate from their home villages and seek temporary shelter in make-shift refugee camps. Few months past with rumblings from inside the mountain, making the earth tremble many times a day in the nearby villages and then suddenly it started to die down. Many villagers made their way home but some still needed to stay as their villages where too close and had to continue their lives in the camps.
The tremors died down a lot and for weeks many though that it was over. Then a week ago on Tuesday, Agung erupted out a bunch of steam mixed with some ash. Over the weekend the eruption grew stronger and large amounts of ash was released into the atmosphere.
That night I drove to Sanur to check out if it was visible. You could see a tiny glimmer of red in the distance. I continued towards Keramas but by the time I got there, the weather had set in and capturing the giant was out of question. As I was driving home around 2 am, I decided to do a little mission the following night.
I started my mission by driving to Ubud for a long dinner with a friend, and around 11pm I started my journey towards Kintamani. The road from Ubud towards the higher grounds seemed deserted, and I hardly saw anybody on my way up. For a while I drove around the surrounding area of Kintamani but couldn’t get a good view of Agung, mainly because of the clouds. I punched in the coordinates for Rendang in my phone and started the drive there. I had hardly accelerated on the right road when I got stopped by the police. Apparently, the road was closed due to the close proximity of the volcano. For a few hours, I sat with the police, who were very happy to practice their English and laugh at my Indonesian. After a beer and multiple cups of coffee, the beer apparently was their gateway to friendship, I said my farewells and hopped on my bike again.
The officers had told me that the South road to Rendang might be open and as I crisscrossed my way down from Kintamani and then up again towards Rendang I found out that the road was closed also from the South side. I warmed myself up for a while and had a chat with the police officers, who thought I was a tiny bit crazy driving around on a cold night. I continued to push on. This time I drove to Keramas to see if the view was available and after a short stop I started with the maze of roads towards Sidemen valley.
As the sun was rising I stopped on the side of the road. Hoping for red colours that I had seen in other people’s photos I settled my tripod in to the dirt. The spot wasn’t the best but I didn’t want to lose the sunrise as it tends to happen very quickly here. There were no colours but the mountain looked stunning. To witness the power of nature makes us humans seem very small.
The sun was already up when I packed my gear and drove deeper into the valley and finally found the spot where the photo was taken. Like I said at the start. Technically or framing wise the photograph isn’t that special. Anybody could take a photo like this one. But for me it was an overnight adventure that was filled with street dogs running after me, chatting with the police and driving around spooky roads in the area of Kintamani.
For sure I will return for more frames. Especially to Sidemen valley. It is a beautiful area even without the view of the volcano. The morning mist there over the rice fields would make any photographer happy, but I might have to wait for a while as of yesterday the area is being shut down. My plan is to try to find a good spot at Kintamani for a astrophotography-shot before heading into the north coast near Amed for a sunrise one.