The Beating Hearts of the Buddhas

The morning fog coming off the top of the jungle trees was not like anything I had seen before. There was just enough morning light to give everything a twilight blue and paint the mountains in the distance a deeper color.

I tried something a little bit different with this photo. I was holding two flashlights to help me climb the temple in the morning. I think I got there about 5:30 AM when it was still pitch black, so the flashlights helped me find the right footholds and whatnot. Anyway, this was an extremely long exposure, so I used some of that time to “paint” the inside of the bell cages with the beams of my flashlights. Each of those bell cages held a solitary outward-facing Buddha. I’m glad I was there alone, because I’m sure I looked like a loon running around shining the flashlights in patterns to illuminate the Buddhas inside.

The Beating Hearts of the Buddhas (by Stuck in Customs)

  • Fantastic, the torch adds that extra level
    Well done Trey.

  • Rod

    Interesting photo. Just thought about trying a night photo with a big exposure and painting most interesting aspects with a torch.
    Is it worth having this trick in a pocket for those special occasions when you are alone in the dark at the end of the world with yar camera?

  • wow! this is a really clever shot! I think that by knowing how a photo was taken you can appreciate it a lot more.

  • Mike Diblicek

    Hi Trey,

    Great shot, and as dan say’s, knowing how tyhe photo was conceived adds a little extra.

    All the best


  • Hi Trey,
    Great shot, and as dan say’s, knowing how tyhe photo was conceived adds a little extra.
    All the best

  • you weren’t there – this is FAKE! hahah! 🙂 AMAZING SHOT AS ALWAYS. MY GOD. Thanks for bringing me there. AWESOME!

  • Trey, Wow! I wish I was you! Nice.

  • Amazing blue colors – great shot.Well done with the added lights.
    I do love painting with light!
    Never tried with flashlights. I have used my flash – heres a pic of a big chair (they have those big chairs around the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein). I used my Nikon flash and a few gels with various colors to light up the chair (there was no other artificial light). The cars that were driving in the roundabout gave some nice streaks of color:
    If you ever want people wonder if your going insane just wander around with a tripod at night!

  • Great shot. I love the blues and the trick with the light is what really makes this stand out.

  • Wow, Trey, I love this photo. I can picture you running around there with your flashlights. 😉 Great idea!!! This one is going in my calendar and wallpaper file, it’s so pretty. Love the way you captured all the colors!!! Thanks for sharing. One of my favorites.

  • That is an amazing place and the stories that go with it are nice to know. When I first looked at the image, I had not read the info above it. I thought that you maybe popped off a flash a few times on the bells. And in true Trey fashion, you let us in on the use of a flashlight. really appreciate your insight and transparency.

  • That is a beautiful story behind the beautiful photo. Great work Trey

  • How long is extremely long? And did you paint each from behind your camera or did you run to each while the camera was taking the long exposure? I’ve seen photos of people doing this, just never quite understood how they did it. Excellent photo!!

  • casusan

    Oh wow! There’s those gorgeous blues again! Super story too Trey!

  • Steven Tyler

    Amazing, really nice work, Trey.

  • iLikesky

    Your description just adds a lot more to the photo.. makes you see more into it! Love the misty blue mountains at twilight!

  • Thanks all!

    Rod – Yes I think it might be worth it.. I like how the British call it a “torch”

    Richard – I don’t remember the length… I think it was a good 30 secs or so… that is when I did all the light painting with the flashlights. I painted them all from behind the camera.

  • I noticed your shadow.

    Before the last comment, I was thinking you had to keep moving pretty fast to not even have the blur of you on it–I was picturing you dancing back and forth (to spread yourself thin) while keeping the light on one spot, then turning it off and running to the next spot.

    Thanks for the methodology! That’s always helpful for aspiring photographers like myself.

  • This is a sweet shot. I’ve been following your blog for some time now and enjoy seeing that you seem to have time for a daily update! Keep up the good work.


  • Lovely. Best work from you for a long time.

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  • joe Pigken

    Wah,,, fotonya bagus sekali yah’ yah itulah Candi Borobudur, yang berada di tanah airku tercinta indonesia, dan aku sangat mengaguminya dan bangga sekali melihat hasil foto ini yang sangat luar biasa, kami memang memiliki kebudayaan dan prasejarah yang sangat-sangat indah di dunia, borobudur adalah salah satu keajaiban dunia yang tertua, dan bukti dari kebesaran sejarah buddha yang sampai saat ini manusia modern tidak dapat membuatnya, tepatnya di magelang jogyakarta, indonesia, dan kami masih punya satu lagi keindahan surga indonesia, yaitu Bali Island, nah,, smoga dalam kesempatan ini web ini dapat meletuskan foto2 dan keindahan bali yang kami miliki, thx.

  • Amazing,….I was here in 2002.

  • Ray

    Bell cage? It’s a stupa. It doesn’t contain Buddha. It contains relics or images of THE Buddha which symbolize formlessness.

  • Travis Putman

    Hey Trey. I just happened to see this picture as the cover art for an album. Thought I would give you a heads up…

  • Wow, that’s really pretty blatant. Thanks for letting us know – we’ll pursue it.

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