Yoga Video – Behind the Scenes

It was a joy, mostly, to shoot yoga instructor Ka’ale Sea performing feats of grace in the gushing mist of a tropical waterfall.

We had just a couple hours to capture teaser stills and video for the up-and-coming launch of Waterfall Yoga at Nihiwatu Resort, in western Sumba. And since the bamboo platform for this offering hasn’t quite left the ground, we were further challenged to find flattish perches on which to prop Ka’ale and cameras.

Thankfully, Ka’ale is a pro, and made a one-legged squat on a boulder look effortless. “That’s the move!” I said. “Can you do that 20 more times?” She didn’t bat an eye.

By capturing a wide shot of Ka’ale’s full sequence, followed up by “B-camera” cutaways of the same moves (“Perfect knee bend! Do it again!”), we got just enough footage for a two-minute flow.

Lensbaby Control Freak – Rock ‘n’ roll!

The dreamy, creamy shots were courtesy Lensbaby. This was the first time I’d strapped one on for video on my Nikon D7000. I’d seen a Lensbaby in movie mode while fixing some reconstruction sequences on a production of Man vs. Monster. But that was a Lensbaby “Composer”, and sure enough, it’s the more forgiving lens in the heat of action. Not like my “Control Freak” which is 150% manual, from the poke-em-in, pry-em-out aperture rings, to the accordian-like tilt/shift focus, flexed by two hands, or better yet, three.

The strategy: I picked an f8-ish ring from my quiver, which offered maybe f0.8 depth of field with the lens mid-squish. Next I hunted down a sliver a focus (“Hold that squat!”), and once I found it (at last!) I probed gently all around it, rocking the lens and/or my body in the rhythm of breath. It was like meditating, save for the cuss words, and the odd shots where my wobbles jived with Ka’ale’s, which were quasi-orgasmic.

Hoodman loupe — Keep out of reach of rodents!

None of this would have been possible without a decent loupe. Sadly, mine was barely decent as the night before its eyepiece had been half-eaten by rats! They’d marched past my Toblerone and cashews and went straight for my $5-a-nibble eyecup. Tragic! I’ve yet to find a camera loupe dealer in Indo, let alone Sumba. Anyway, even half an eyecup was indispensable for a 3-point brace on the camera (make that 20-point, with the rat nibbles) and for fishing out “sweet spots” of focus.

Since the dawn of DSLR video, there’s been a proliferation of loupes that cost more than most used cameras. ‘Til now, I’ve been happy strapping on my $90 Hoodman loupe (better known for reviewing still images) with a couple over-sized hair ties. The Hoodman comes with a nifty case. Use it!

Best of ASMP Photographer

I’m chuffed to be selected as a Best of ASMP 2011 photographer by my peers at the American Society of Media Photographers. I’ve long been inspired by tales of past honorees, and this year’s roll call is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It’s amazing how many languages people use to “write with light”.

ASMP Bulletin editor Jill Waterman made a marathon effort interviewing this year’s 20 photographers. Even I learned a thing or two in my own Q&A, thanks to her probing questions. And Director of Communications Pete Dyson bent over backwards to wrangle last-minute tear sheets and photo captions into my web profile.

Far-flung in Indonesia, it’s easy to feel cut-off from the mainstream photographic community. Devoted efforts from people like Jill and Pete, and the generous wealth of experience at the ASMP forums, make me feel right at home. Thanks guys!!

An excerpt from the Q&A…

Best of 2011: Djuna Ivereigh

© Djuna Ivereigh

Poachers-turned-guides scale giant trees, some with their first branches 50 meters off the forest floor.

During a 1998 Indonesian caving expedition, Djuna Ivereigh’s forest guides turned out to be a gang of highly skilled cockatoo poachers, trapping birds for the pet trade. At the end of the trip, she stayed behind to photograph the group as a personal project. Her resulting images inspired a conversion: While the poachers initially showed no signs of remorse in stringing up birds, they felt differently after studying her pictures. They now run a wildlife rehabilitation center and lead groups into the trees as ecotourism guides. Ivereigh has remained in Indonesia, as well, where she continues to photograph conservation and tourism, including luxury villas in Bali.

Djuna Ivereigh, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Project: A personal project documenting how Indonesian poachers operate and why, which resulted in their change of heart to work in ecotourism and wildlife rehabilitation.


Guides from Seram Canopy Safaris (clockwise from top: Sonny, Ois, Buce and Peter) share a laugh beneath their newest rainforest canopy platform.

ASMP: How long have you been in business?

DI: Freelancing for 20 years; writing and shooting full time for 13; still working to wean myself of words.

ASMP: How long have you been an ASMP member?

DI: Finally(!) pulled my head out and joined this year.

ASMP: What are your photographic specialties?

DI: Trees, hobbits and the odd luxury villa. Emphasis on “odd.”

ASMP: What do you consider your most valuable tool or piece of equipment?

DI: Menfolk envy my 500/f4 and its dedicated extender. My only consolation: “It’s not about the equipment, it’s how you use it!”


Read on about my rite of passage, how I dropped in on a cargo cult, and how I repaired a camera with a rock.

And see 19 more fascinating Q&As here.

Shoot to Sell


Over the last eight years, I’ve been honored to shoot Bali’s top luxury properties. Here climate, craftsmanship and jet set indulgence collect in the perfect storm of architectural abandon. Walls are optional, as are handrails and a bath that precludes nude sunbathing.

These homes look and feel like heaven. But shooting them can be anything but. The challenge is to capture the essence of indoor-outdoor living. If you can saunter, unhindered, from a shady day bed to a sun-blasted pool patio, I insist that this be known in a single frame. Nevermind the 1000-fold gulf in light. Yes, one thousand-fold! Our eyes leap 10 stops without blinking. Our cameras (yes, even mine) can’t see more than five.

The solution? Add light. A lot if it. Enough to fill a car, and empty a bank account. In my case, a few times over! Yes, I thank the gods for the miracles of digital compositing. For some shots, I meticulously blend dozens of exposures into one. But compositing, alone, does not make for a compelling, realistic image. There simply is no substitute for big strobes on big stands, and the wherewithal to set them up. Click into our exterior and interior galleries and see for yourself.


Hospitality Portfolio

Explore our shooting style by category.


Property Portfolio

Check the full output of our latest shoots.


Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro

#5. Because, sooner or later, you will. Too much of our work follows on the heels of non-specialist shooters — photographers who don’t know what shots sells villa nights. Our well-oiled team — including a stylist, a lighting wizard and a digital darkroom magician  — will do what it takes to make your property look its best. Save time and money by shooting once, and shooting right.

#4. Because a villa is not a hotel. Your property is unique — in a class of if its own. How do you communicate that? Your clients won’t be relying on corporate brand recognition, fueled by a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. They’ll be scrutinizing your image gallery long and hard before sending a deposit, sight unseen. What will it take to drive that conversion?

#3. Because you, too, are a professional. Professional photographs reveal more than “hardware” — a villa’s furniture and facilities. Top-notch images speak to quality, trustworthiness and attention to detail. And to the heart — to values that transcend money.

#2. Because your competition did.

#1. Because with great photos, your villa will sell itself.



“Djuna captured the mood and character of Villa Home perfectly. The shots bring to life the villa’s unique energy and our rental occupancy has gone through the roof since we loaded the shots to our web site.” — Emily, Villa Home

“Oh my God! Do you know how beautiful your pictures are?” — Wendy Wilcox, Karang Kembar Estate

“Djuna’s photos tread that fine line of showing a villa to its best advantage and being honest in the representation, giving a great idea of actually being there.” — Johan Mansur, The Istana

“The photos you took have withstood the test of time, and have been universally admired. They really captured the spirit of Khayangan Estate – Seventh Heaven. I was also personally very impressed by the efficient and professional way you worked, and got so much done in such a short time.” — Mark Saunders-Davies, Khayangan Estate

“No, Djuna, listen. Do you know how beautiful your pictures are?” — Wendy Wilcox, Karang Kembar Estate

“We worked with Djuna and her team on a new luxury villa shoot in Seminyak. The villa was a pure white colonial style residence and it was essential that amazing images were shot to add to the website and promotional literature. At the time this was no mean feat with the unpredictable weather of that season! Djuna was a consummate professional. Her team were almost invisible, ensuring set up was perfect and Djuna completed not only our shot list but angles I could have only dreamt about. We were so happy with the resulting shots and the client was delighted! I would not hesitate to work with Djuna and her team again, they make it all look so easy!” — Joanne McFarlane, ClearWhiteSpace Creative Marketing Solutions

“I’d never leave another photographer alone. They’d screw it up. Do you know how beautiful these pictures are??” — Wendy Wilcox, Karang Kembar Estate

“Djuna rocks! We love her work and can’t wait to have her come back to shoot our new villas as soon as they are done.” — Claude Graves, Managing Director, Nihiwatu Resort

“Djuna is our secret weapon.” — Ian Macauley, Co-founder, Elite Havens Group


Media Blast

Hot photos are media magnets. Purchase an editorial distribution license with your shoot, and make a splash with a custom-tailored media release. Then kick back and enjoy the buzz…

VillaPix Publications

  • Asian Geographic
  • Asia Villa Guide
  • Baccarat
  • Bali and Beyond
  • Bali Chic
  • Bali NOW!
  • Bali Style
  • The Beat
  • Best Hotels
  • Buongiorno
  • The Bud
  • Conde Nast Traveller
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Destinasian
  • Dream Weddings Bali Style
  • Elle
  • Entra
  • Expat Living
  • Finance Asia
  • Fine Villas and Restaurants
  • Garuda Magazine
  • Get Lost
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • Hello Bali
  • I Know a Great Place
  • Inspire Travel & Leisure
  • International Propery Luxury Edition
  • International Herald Tribune
  • Islands
  • La Gazette de Bali
  • Luxury Properties
  • Mabuhay
  • Madame Figaro
  • Marie Claire
  • MICE in Asia
  • New York Times
  • r:Travel
  • Res
  • Robb Report
  • Tatler
  • The Long Run
  • TimeOut Hong Kong
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Trendhunter
  • Trends
  • Tropical Living
  • Villa & Yacht
  • Virgin Blue
  • Voyage
  • Wall Street Journal
  • The Yak


Entra does Bambu Indah

Browse a lovely layout in Entra magazine at — they said it best — the incomparable Bambu Indah.

Dian, Nelly and I spent four long days and nights shooting new suites at Bambu Indah, the eco-luxe retreat fashioned by Green School founders Cynthia and John Hardy. The property is a fantasyland of antique Javanese houses, surrounding a black bamboo Minangkabau palace, all perched over the verdant Sayan River gorge. Every house is unique — at each one it took us some time to discover the hidden windows and portals through which we could beam strobes. And while some are plenty spacious, others were clearly built for hobbits. Wedging into a corner with camera, legs and lights left me feeling like Alice, having eaten the wrong bit of cake.

Shooting during the full moon, it was hard to get any rest! By the time we’d finish dinner, a clean blue light would start beaming off the horned thatch roof at the Minang house. I had no choice but to stay up half the night, set the camera on long exposure, and paint the bamboo by Maglite…

This was our first shoot putting some homegrown LEDs to work, and boy, was I glad we did. Dian and I scrounged some 10- and 20-watt (i.e., honking!) LEDs from a lighting shop in Denpasar, and rigged them up via inverters and motorbike batteries. How fun it was to go “unplugged” with a lot of light in a little package, cool enough to hold in hand and gel any which way! And with the native temperature darn close to daylight, it was easy for us to bring out the blue and green patinas in some of the old Java houses. These would have been lost under incandescents.

Down below is a good example, lifted from a “bonus” slideshow at Entra. Yes, there’s a bonus slideshow! The added content at this e-mag is great! Extra photos and video content.. even the ads are cool, linked to take-it-or-leave-it digital brochures.

There’s several more spreads and slides to this story. Go see for yourself at It’s a candy store read, with drop-dead gorgeous layouts. I’m tickled to play a part in that, from a property that — they said it best — is “redefining home”.

Shooting the Shrimp House was also the first time I called up room service to order whale ribs! Just a few of the odd treasures strewn about the Bambu Indah estate… Propped against the left wall in the final shot, the big old bones played nice with a wooden paddle and traditional fish trap that accent the room.

And here it is — your exclusive behind-the-scenes look at fish-wrangling. Dian loves all things fish, and was happy to bait them with food and flashlights ’til well past midnight.

By the time we wrapped, it was well past my sweetie’s bedtime.

For more of the inside scoop on Entra magazine — people profiles and a sneak peak at what’s ahead — check the DesigninTell blog at VandM (Vintage and Modern) Design.

Then get yourself to the source at

And to a recharge at Bambu Indah.


Banda Dragon Survey

Banda – Images by Djuna Ivereigh

A few shots from Banda, on a scout with Jamie Woodall for the new Where There Be Dragons Indonesia Program. Later that year (Fall 2010), a gaggle of gap-year students had a great time out here.

Timor-Leste, Unplugged

Let’s face it — East Timor has gotten a lot of bad press. Five centuries of colonial rule and 24 years of bloody occupation didn’t help. In my mind’s eye, Timor was all rocky scrub and rubble. How wrong I was…

A few weeks ago, I joined my partner Joe Yaggi and Jungle Run Productions on a circuit around the coasts and highlands of western East Timor. Joe shot footage for Tour de Timor 2010 — a mountain-biking-cum-nation-building initiative launched by President José Ramos-Horta. I helped out, and shot a few stills.

All in all, I was smitten. We made our way over two high passes — 1500 and 1800 meters, one at the base of Timor’s highest peak, Mount Ramelau, topping out at 2963 meters. The rolling, green highlands looked like something out of New Zealand, just add Austronesian architecture.

And the people… Most have a story to tell, and are grateful they’re here to tell it. There was Ferdinand Xavier, the last guerilla commandante from Ainaro, who fought alongside Xanana Gusmao. There was Gaspar Leki, who joined the Indonesian army to oppose Timor’s independence, but was welcomed home when his side lost. And there was Sister Elsa, who speaks of unspeakable massacres, and moves on: “Of course, I have to be peaceful, I have to be joyful, so that I can bring this peace, this joyful in my heart to other people.”

No one practices peace so vigorously as those who had to earn it.

Banda Panorama

Take a spin on the summit of Gunung Api, an active volcano at the heart of the Banda Islands of Maluku, Indonesia. As the native home of nutmeg, these are the “Spice Islands” that drove Europeans on their first journeys around the globe. In 1667, the tiny island of Run, just visible in the far the west (opposite the rising sun), was traded for Manhattan.


Fun with panos

1) Do somersaults!

2) Right click… “Little Planet View”. Now try somersaults!

3) Click lower right corner of image to toggle full screen view. This calls for more somersaults!

How’d I Do That?

This “spherical panorama” depicts 360° in all directions from the camera. It’s a stitched composite of four fisheye images shot from a single point. The camera was mounted on a special support, so that rotation centered on the “nodal point” of the lens — the point where all light rays converge. This eliminated parallax (displacement of the view throughout rotation) so that images could be neatly stitched using the program PTGui. From there, the image is beamed through the krpano viewer, which offers some fun projections and interface features.

Impress your Friends!

At last, the perfect gift for the know-it-all New Yorker. Put them in their place with this Banda-centric world view. Which speck of real estate in this image was once worth more than their rent-controlled apartment? You’ll leave them stumped for sure…

Click “Planet Banda”, below, then “Add to Cart” to order a 20″x20″ inch print, shipped anywhere in the world. Just $50!

A "little planet" projection of a 360-degree panorama from the summit of Gunung Api volcano, Banda Islands, Maluku. Pulau Run -- the distant island at 5 o'clock in this image -- was once traded for Manhattan. (Djuna Ivereigh)

A "little planet" projection of a 360-degree panorama from the summit of Gunung Api volcano, Banda Islands, Maluku. Pulau Run — the distant island at 5 o'clock in this image — was once traded for Manhattan. (Djuna Ivereigh)

Frijoles Carboneros (Burned Beans)

A Balinese holiday recipe to accompany the film “Sita Sings the Blues”


  • 1 copy Sita Sings the Blues (below)
  • 1 non-stick sauce pan (possibly 2)
  • 1 slosh olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 avalanche ground cumin
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 restaurant nearby, just in case


1. Cue up Sita Sings the Blues:

2. Note play time (1:21:32). This calls for a burrito, which starts with ‘b’, which stands for beans!

3. In non-stick pan, heat chopped garlic in olive oil until fragrant.

4. Dump in cumin. If you live in the tropics you may need to bang the bottle until it all — Whoops!

5. Heat and stir cumin-garlic paste until toasty fragrant.

6. Dump in beans. What beans?? This $3.50 can is mostly water!

Sita Sings the Blues movie poster7. Reduce beans (lowest heat recommended) while getting a head start on Sita Sings the Blues. We don’t have all day here!

8. Marvel at how filmmaker Nina Paley got my cat, Monster, to star in this movie. She’s a natural! No doubt about it, that’s Monster on the bedside table at 00:06:16 —

9. Oh shit!! The beans!!!

10. Remove beans from heat. Duck to avoid smoke.

11. Note that this was your last can of beans. And it did cost $3.50. Actually more like $4 on account of the devaluing dollar…

12. Recall that the restaurant nearby is closed, due to yet another Balinese commemoration of a great cosmic battle, a la Sita Sings the Blues.

13. Remove beans from pan. If you’ve been following directions, by now they should delaminate as a black, frisbee-like mass.

14. Flake off the blackest beans. Appease Monster by putting these in her bowl. (You will need to remove them later.)

15. Return beans to pan. Add water. While crunching up and reconstituting, consider the etymology of “refried beans”.

16. Reduce beans. Again, lowest heat recommended.

17. Do not, I repeat do not, hit play on Sita Sings the Blues!

18. Taste beans. Are they, , the best beans you’ve ever tasted in your life??

19. Take a picture. I ate my beans too fast and have no evidence for this so-called “photoblog”.

20. It is now safe to resume ‘play’ on Sita Sings the Blues. And to send the filmmaker some love.

Seriously, this film is hilarious, beautiful and highly distracting. And the music rocks.

Like any art depicting deities, it’s taking heat (figurately). My take from Bali is that Nina Paley hit religious anachronism on the head. While most Hindus here would confess some confusion around their pantheon, they’d never let that get in the way of a good story.

And nevermind those Indian accents. The narrators of this tale are Indonesian shadow puppets. Cue photo!

Wayang Kulit shadow puppet play

A Javanese dalang (ventriloquist puppeteer) pits an evil ogre against the noble hero Ardjuna (my namesake?). The contest was one of many trials in an all-night performance for refugees of an erupting volcano. Hours of antics, inspired by local, modern-day farce, climaxed at 4 am -- when Ardjuna received the divine power needed to return the Earth to order. This puppet show drew more viewers than the Soccer World Cup semi-finals televised next door. My bet is that local folk would mightily approve of 'Sita Sings the Blues'.

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Frijoles Carboneros (Burned Beans), © Djuna Ivereigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Excerpts may be reproduced with credit for DjunaPix Indonesia Photography linked to href=”

Sriwijaya for Sale

Pagaruyung Prasasti

Early Indonesian history is limited to cryptic stone inscriptions and outside sources. Only archaeology can fill in the gaps.

What if you held an auction and no one showed up? Thankfully that’s what happened when the Indonesian government tried to auction off cultural heritage dating from the golden age of Indonesia’s Sriwijaya empire.

Maritime experts believe that the shipwreck discovered off the coast of Cirebon, Java in 2004 harks from 10th century Sumatra. And that the story it tells is not the common tale of outsiders coming in, but of an Indonesian kingdom in its prime, dominating a trade network from Arabia to China.

Precious little evidence about the classic Sriwijaya period, recounted in the histories of foreign powers and in widely scattered stone inscriptions, indicates that the Sriwijaya kingdom was not only wealthy beyond compare, but that it was Asia’s hub of cross-cultural learning from the 7th to 10th centuries. The Chinese monk I-Ching, who studied at Sriwijaya for some ten years, described the scene in the late 7th century: “There are more than a thousand Buddhist priests whose minds are bent on study and good works; thier rules and ceremonies are identical with those of India.”

Early in the 20th century, Indonesia’s founding fathers leveraged Sriwijaya in their call for a “National Awakening”. But current government policy turns Sriwijaya into a business proposition. Whereas land-based archaeological sites are studied and conserved by a dedicated research institution under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, marine sites fall under the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, who contracts private marine salvage operations in exchange for a 50% take on proceeds. So goes the great maritime history of Tanah Air (“Land of Water”).

Last I heard — back in 2005, the Cirebon wreck got especially messy when local police confiscated the salvaged goods mid-operation. Fragile remains of the ship itself — the only example of its kind — were yanked from preservation tanks and locked away in shipping containers. For at least a year. I doubt they fared well…

Anyway, despite outcries from international authorities and the Sultanate of Cirebon, it’s looking likely that this shipload of sunken treasures will soon be scattered to the winds. I’m thinking of a photo project — a final Sriwijaya family portrait, of sorts. Any takers??


Cirebon Palace plans to build museum to house artifacts | The Jakarta Post, 01 May 2010

For Sale: Ancient Treasures Dug From Indonesia’s Seas | reproduced from The Jakarta Globe, 03 May 2010, on the salvage company’s website [photos]

UNESCO chief concerned by auction of ancient artifacts | The Jakarta Post, 05 May 2010

Little Interest in Indonesian Treasure | The Jakarta Globe, 06 May 2010 [photo]

Artifacts auction closed sans bidders | The Jakarta Post, 06 May 2010

Indonesia to Ease Auction Rules to Lure Treasure Bidders | The Jakarta Globe, 09 May 2010 [photo]

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Sriwijaya for Sale, © Djuna Ivereigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Excerpts may be reproduced with credit for DjunaPix Indonesia Photography linked to href=”