The Story Behind the Photo: Low Tide

Welcome to the first in our series of The Story behind the Photo

This photo hangs oversized and solo on our dining room wall.

We have so many gorgeous photos to choose from, why this one?

The photo really resonated with us as a family so it seemed like a natural choice. 

Because of its prominent position in our home (and the sheer size) we can’t help but be reminded daily of that incredible month long trip to Bali several years ago.

What is this photo’s backstory?

Several years ago Keith decided to attend a photojournalism workshop in Bali. So of course the girls and I decided to tag along.

After spending time in Jakarta (that is the interesting first chapter of this month long trip) we made our way to Bali. Our next stop was an island off the coast of Bail called Lembongan. 

Nusa Lembongan became one of our stops because I read more than once that this special island was reminiscent of what Bali used to be before the overcrowding and mass tourism.

The boat from Bali leaves you right on the beach in the village of Jungut Batu. You jump off the small ferry, gorgeous blue water around your ankles, treading oh so carefully on spiky coral reefs that you had no idea were beneath your feet.

Immediately, we knew we should have planned to stay longer. Dirt roads, very few cars, no commercialization, no Instagram selfies, no Starbucks, no McDonald’s, no crowds of tourists. Perfection. 

Our last evening in this paradise, we decided to be dropped in the village where our ferry boat had left us when we first arrived. I remember having seen a bar stacked on top of the limestone, perched over the water. That spot looked like the place to be for a sunset drink.

As we were heading up to the Deck for that drink Keith decided to take a walk on his own.

He had noticed a number of kids playing in the water amongst the coral, seaweed peeking through, jumping on and off boats. 

He said he would meet us in a few minutes.  He walked over with his camera in hand and worked the scene. Various shots of the kids playing, high and low angles, seeing lots of good pictures but hoping for the perfect one.

Looking around seeing lots of interesting things but nothing was exactly it until this. He photographed this boy in various spots but this was the moment, the one he had been waiting for.

Everything lined up, the tide and the sun were both low, casting long sideways shadows on the exposed coral (that I had practically torn my feet on the day we arrived by ferry), the boy in motion, his reflection in the water, the haze making Mt Agung in the distance both majestic and mysterious, dozens of kites flying along the coast dotting the sky. (take a really close look in the blue area of the sky towards the top, notice the tails, the kites that seem tiny, a favorite Balinese pastime). 

Keith joined us in time for sunset. We enjoyed our drink looking over this incredible scene. Forever grateful that this photograph can take us right back to this moment.

What camera did Keith use? My favorite travel companion, outside of my wife, is my little Fuji X100S.  Is it the best camera in the world? There is no such thing. But it was perfect for me at that moment (and many others).

February 02, 2021 — Keith Pitts

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