Friday, December 5, 2008

the many faces of Rinjani, part 1

Life should not be spent looking back at the what-ifs and what-might-have-beens. I admit though that there are occasions when I cannot help but reminisce at all the places I’ve visited through the looking glass of photography and I could only let out a sigh. I could not kick my shin any harder than when thinking of the time that I lived in Lombok.

sunrise at Trawangan
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 2.50s, f/20, 18mm, ISO 100, +1/3EV
From Gili Trawangan in the west, the Rinjani volcano doesn’t stand out in a solitary grandeur as it is flanked by a compound mountain range.

In short periods between 1993 to 1995, I was a constant albeit transient resident of this island east of Bali. For more than a week at a time I lived in Selong, a real nothing-is-happening town in Lombok Timor (East Lombok). There was practically little to do there except work, eat and sleep. On weekends, we sometimes went to the island’s nothing-much-too-is-happening capital of Mataram, or perhaps strayed to its then only leisure destination, Senggigi. If I were lucky, I could orbit back to the much livelier Bali, or even Surabaya and often, I planned my darn best to find some important chore to do so. But really, most of my time would in the stupor-inducing Selong, or another silent town called Tanjung Luar and the desolate but gorgeous beaches of Serewe, Sumerang or Kaliantan.

Rinjani silhouette
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 2.50s, f/5.6, 54mm, ISO 100
Its western face is also interrupted by the caldera of Segara Anak.

Imagine what I would have done had I taken up photography. Oops, digital photography was still in its incipient stage in the early 90s so the only choice would have been film. Thinking about it, I can assure myself now that no, film photography was not a viable hobby for I definitely could not afford an SLR camera (I only had an instamatic), suffer the development costs of film, nor wait for the long lag between clicking the shutter and seeing the prints. My impatience is not tailor-fit for the delayed gratification of film photography.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 8.00s, f/16, 55mm, ISO 100, +1EV
Rinjani takes a more pronounced conical silhouette when viewed from the east.

Still, what if I had the chance to engage in photography? What if I had the luxury of wielding a manual camera as I do now? Then number one in my list of what I would have been shooting in Lombok is Gunung Rinjani.

Rising 3,726 metres from sea level, Rinjani is the tallest peak in Indonesia save for Gunung Kerinci in Sumatra. Rinjani looms large and Lombok lives under its shadow and on occasion, its fury for the volcano is quite active.

Rinjani sunsetaside from
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 4.00s, f/18, 55mm, ISO 100, +1/3EV
Rinjani rises more dramatic especially from the flatter hills of Sumbawa.

The mountain-climbing bug has never bitten me but definitely, had I have the disposal of a good camera, I would have explored its foothills, checked out the Sasak villages in the lowlands and perhaps dared further upwards as far as the car could take.

So today, I find myself playing catch-up. In recent months, I was fortunate to have gone back to Lombok and further east, to the island of Sumbawa. Let me share then my photographic takes of this sublime peak. Being tardy has some rewards.

Rinjani sunrise
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 10.00s, f/10, 18mm, ISO 100
During sunrise at Gili Trawangan in the northwest of Lombok, the beauty of Rinjani can be ethereal.

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