Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Road to Bromo, part 3

continued from the Road to Bromo

Bromo sunrise

The Bromo sunset experience was fabulous. While fog hang around from late afternoon through sunset, the air cleared up by twilight. We left as happy campers knowing that we were lucky. People go to Bromo almost solely for the sunrise experience which even locals admit to be a lot more colorful than any sunset. True word of mouth. We were alone that afternoon. Totally. And that made our sunset viewing divine.

After a quick dinner, we retired early as we had to get up before 5AM. Unfortunately, to my consternation, there was some misunderstanding with the driver, so we were picked up rather late. We only made it to the viewing deck of Mt Penanjakan a few minutes before the 5:31AM sunrise.

I was shocked! There were least a couple of hundred people crowding the small viewing deck. There was hardly a space for us to squeeze in. The rows of prime spaces in the bleachers were already filled with scores of photographers, most of them armed with the fanciest of tripods and longest or widest of lenses.

Unfortunately for everybody, the valley below was blanketed with thick fog. I asked around, and that magical 15-30 minute window before the Bromo sunrise famed for the shift of colors did not happen. It was a major disappointment for most. I guess we did not miss a thing despite our tardiness. Luckily, there were fleeting moments of clear skies. One just had to be quick to capture the elusive scenes in such a short window of time, such as this one taken exactly during sunrise.

Bromo sunrise
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 20s, f/16, 18mm, ISO 100
the Tengger massif exactly on sunrise at 5:31AM, the Bromo National Park, Probolinggo-Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia

After sunrise, the fog was weaving in and out of the valley. The visitors already got shifty. Some groups started to leave and luckily, I was able to grab a choiced spot which suddenly became free. Just about the same time, the air cleared up. Although any grand changing of colors already had come to pass, the caldera and the myriad of volcanoes were now in full display. Seeing the majesty of Bromo steadily belching white sulfurous smoke and Semuru blowing puffs of black gases against the blue sky was worth the aggravation.

Bromo morning
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/320s, f/5, 40mm, ISO 100, +1/3EV
the Tengger massif shot, shot some 30 minutes after sunrise, the Bromo National Park, Probolinggo-Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia

By about 6AM, the sun was up and we decided to call it a day. There is still the trek at the foot of Bromo so we asked the driver to take us to the valley. I would have loved to climb all the way to the top of Bromo but we just did not have the time. We had to get to Surabaya by noontime.

The journey from Mt. Penanjakan back to the Tengger massif flats was rough. Traffic was heavy in the narrow road and visibility was difficult. However, right there in our jeep, we were treated with surreal sceneries. The fog, for starters, was like a white cloud rolling at the foot of the Mt. Penanjakan where we just came from.

fog at Penanjakan
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/250s, f/8, 35mm, ISO 100, +1/3EV
a fog blanket at the foot of Mt Penanjakan, the Bromo National Park, Probolinggo-Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia

the Sea of sand

In thirty minutes time, we arrived at our pit stop, in the middle of the caldera. There were already at least twenty cars parked by the road. Joining the throngs of visitors who are ahead of us, we began crossing the lautan pasir, literally the” sea of sand”. Trudging on the fine gray volcanic sand was enjoyable exercise. I’ve never walked over lava plain before. It felt like I was on a beach of fine gray sand only that there were no ocean. The sun was glaring but as the elevation was about a thousand meters above sea level, the temperature was mild, bordering on cold.

lautan pasir
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/160s, f/16, 55mm, ISO 400, -1.00 EV
the rows of 4x4 transports parking by the road of the Bromo National Park, Probolinggo-Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia

horseman of Tengger
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/160s, f/22, 18mm, ISO 400, 1/3EV
a Tengger horseman with Mt Batok at the background, at the sea of sand, the Bromo National Park, Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia

The first stop we made was at the Hindu temple nestled between Mt Bromo and Mt Batok, only about 10 minutes hike from the road where we parked. The temple was empty. Tourists were skipping it. As my Balinese friends said some prayers inside, I had plenty of time to take shots around the temple. Historically, the Bromo highlands became the haven of Javanese Hindus who were escaping from the wave of Moslem conquest in the 15th century so the towns around the caldera are still predominantly Hindu. I hear that every year, there is an annual grand ceremony where Tengger Hindus offer their agricultural offerings under a full moon. That would have been something to witness! Someday, I hope.

temple of Tengger
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/640s, f/16, 18mm, ISO 400, -2/3EV
the Hindu temple set against Mt Batok, at the sea of sand, Bromo National Park, Probolinggo-Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia

horseman by the temple
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/4000s, f/4.5, 85mm, ISO 200
a silhoutte of the entrance of the Hindu temple at the Tengger massif, the Bromo National Park, Probolinggo-Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia

to be concluded in the fourth and final part of the Road to Bromo.

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theBluesman said...

the pics are really breathtaking, thanks for sharing bro...

Farl said...

thanks for the compliment!