The Beauty of Photography

Yogyakarta, Indonesia 

5am, and it was like waking up to a soft, golden dream.

It was pitch dark at first, and we stumbled along, trying to stay awake while climbing up the Borobudur Temple in the dark. We finally reached the base and there was already a crowd, all armed with their cameras and gear. Careful not to kick any perfectly framed tripods, I walked around the concrete floor, and absorbed the serenity of a cold Yogyakarta morning.


Soon, it was 5:30am, and the world started waking up from its coma.

As the sun began to rise, the majestic Mount Merapi came into view. It was strikingly tall but fuzzy and dazed — akin to a lazy giant slowly awakening from a deep slumber. Last active in 2014, this Mountain of Fire was merely a scenic attraction on a typical day in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


And soon, it was 6am, the golden hour for any dreamy, sunlit travel photograph. It was my first time exploring photography in such a surreal time of the day, and I managed to capture some unforgettable moments.


The crowds were pretty crazy, so it means A LOT when your frame is clear of any Tom, Dick and Harry that may accidentally be walking into your photo. As you can see from here, there was a lot of people around the stupas, all trying to get their perfect shots.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

After a few photos, I began walking around the Temple to check out the entire place, which consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with about 2,000 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. Located in the heart of the Borobudur Temple, a main dome stands tall and is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside a perforated stupa.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

We had the luxury of time, and so all of us eventually waited the crowd out to get some really amazing shots. My photographer friends went wild, and were like a little kid’s first time at a candy store. It was an amusing sight, seeing so many of them excited and running around to find their perfect frames.

And… I guess I had the last laugh. When I looked at their Instagram pages, I was completely blown away by the sheer beauty of each shot. This was the first time I’m with people so skilled, passionate and so so photogenic.

After today, I realised my favourite part of travel was seeing how someone else views the world through their very own lens. Each individual has their own style, and each of their shots tell a different story about the Borobudur Temple. Some feature its old, ancient roots, while others add a modern twist to this classy World Heritage Site.

Indeed, there will never be a true definition of beauty in the world of photography, and there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ shot.

Whether it’s through the newest Canon, the most expensive Nikon, or just an iPhone complemented with VSCO, the world is limitless, and it’s up to us to truly see Mother Nature’s many wonders.


Like what you see? Follow these talented photographers/models on Instagram!

  • Ingga Suwandana @debucung
  • Satya Winnie @satyawinnie
  • Rijal Kamaluddin Husaeni @rijalkamaluddin
  • Trice Nagusara @tricenagusara
  • Seph Cham @sephcham
  • Haley Daso @haleydaso

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