Mengwi, Bali, Indonesia


A group of performers prepare for Ogoh-Ogoh / Ngrupuk ceremony in a village near the resort, by smoking from electronic cigarettes. The nicoting burst helps them staying awake for carrying the floats, playing and dancing all night long. Ngrupuk is a traditional Balinese Hindu festival, where villagers do a parade with mythical demon / monster figures made of bamboo and paper – Ogohs – often taken from Mahabarata, but pictured with a local twist. The main purpose of the making of Ogoh-ogoh is the purification of the natural environment of any spiritual pollutants emitted from the activities of living beings (especially humans). Ogohs are built on each village. After being paraded on a convoy around the town, finally it is burnt to ashes in a cemetery as a symbol of self-purification. This procession is accompanied by orchestral music performed by the youth.


It’s really easy to set up. The trick is where to stand to capture the moment, and use the long tele where you won’t be seen, so people act normal. Here I preset ISO for the late afternoon light, and played with aperture and speed according to what was going on. I believe I also underexpose a bit to get texture and volume on the otherwise white smoke.

NIKON D810, NIKON 70-200MM F/2.8 VR II, NIKON SB-900 1/250 SEC, F/3.2, ISO 200

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