How to shoot 360º in a holy Temple

Armed with our new sarong’s (must-have to enter any temple) we went on another day-trip on Bali. This time to the Holy Water Temple or the Tirta Empul Temple. Finally some beautiful symmetrical temple structures to visit from within :)

Because of our last failed attempt of getting into temples on Bali we decided to do our research more advanced. We read that even in case of a ceremony (which means: pretty much almost all of the time) you can still enter the temple as a non-hindu. Whoeptidoo, success guaranteed!

So, with a fully charged Ricoh Theta S camera, 1.4m Manfrotto selfy-stick, a Manfrotto tripod, girlfriend and daughter I entered the temple. You could clearly hear that there was a ceremony going on already. I just love the sound the drums make when they do that.

Before I start my story of making 360º photo’s, let me start with saying that I’m kind off an agnostic/atheïst. I have to be honest and say that I have difficulties believing in any kind of divine creator. Maybe it has to do with my parents that told me from an early age that when a story is to good to be true, most of the time that is also the case. I find that with all stories that have a divine maker in it. Besides that it only leaves me with more questions than answers.

But I’m getting of path here. What I wanna say is that I respect people that do believe in a creator. I get this save path with answers to a lot of hard questions. Especially when you are raised with one. My opinion is that as long as they don’t harm any others, please believe whatever you want. And having seen (and read about) a lot of religions already, I must say that the Hindu version they have here on Bali, is one of the most peaceful, beautiful, warm, Karma-rich religions I have ever encountered. I wish more people back home would live a little bit more like the people here. Daily life would be more kind and people would be more happy and not worry about the little stuff in live.

Anyhow, back to making the 360º temple shots I was dying to make. Because I’m not a Hindu and clearly some kind of foreign visitor in this temple, I wasn't sure how I could behave here with my 360 camera. Especially because there was a ceremony going on in one part of the temple. Beside that I wasn;t only making photo’s, i was making 360º photo’s. The big difference is that people on this globe are by now used to normal photo and film cameras. This doesn’t go for 360º cams. With this you get a lot more (unwanted) attention and that’s exactly what I don’t want. I just wanna do my thing without having to explain myself every 2 meters.

So you look around, hold back and start slowly. After 10 minutes my stick was fully extended and my shyness was slowly overcome. Still no people panicking over this weird Dutch guy walking around with his funny stick with this funny thing on top. So far, so good.

This (and a lot of locals smiling at me while making photo’s) gave me the courage to take it a step further and poke my stick into more interesting spots. I felt more free. The Balinese, again, made me feel welcome on their territory. I love this place.




Counting all responses I can say that about 80% looked curious at me and kinda proud at the same time. Like,.. look, that guy is really taking an effort of photographing our beautiful temple. 20% was just staring at me wtf I was doing. About 41 times I was asked what ‘that thing’ was. I found out that showing them a 360º picture on my phone was the best non-lingual way of showing what I was doing. It’s good to see that people all around the globe love seeing new things :)

In the end it was an awesome experience and I took some awesome shots. It felt like a small personal victory, because I always feel it a bit extra nervous when there are so many people around me. Especially when you are not sure how to behave and what the rules of behaving are. But as I said, the people here really make you feel welcome without losing their own culture. THey know they are a paradise for tourists, but they also know they shoudn’t loose their own culture and identity. I think so far they found a good balance and I hope they can keep that. 

Of course I have to end with some of the shots I made here. See you soon!

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