I’m a Lake Tahoe based wedding and portrait photographer, and fan of unposed, giddy-in-love, melt-my-lenses-editorial-style moments … oh, and t-shirts and jeans. 

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Courtney Aaron

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18 years ago I slung a camera strap around my neck, and I’ve been capturing moments and memories that will be cherished for generations to come ever since. My goal? Put you at ease in front of the camera and document what matters and giving you something timeless in a fleeting world.

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Southern Bali #3 – Uluwatu

Filed in: Travel

“Welcome to Uluwatu…. the land where you must pass through hundreds of aggressive monkey thieves in order to to see one of the most gorgeous coastlines in the world.” It makes total sense that you would have to pay a small price to see something like this. Our price = Sean’s hat. Sean, aka Steve Irwin, is SO excited to see these little demons… whereas I walked stiff as a board, trying to remain as uninteresting as possible. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love animals. But when it comes to monkeys with creepy claws and angry eyes, in a place where a rabies outbreak isn’t so far long ago… I’ll let everyone else give them attention! However, the coastal view was so well worth any rise in blood pressure!!!

The purple sarong… if it wasn’t for our friend, Belman, in the background in shorts, this wouldn’t look half as funny. Sean’s extremely excited to meet his new “friends” but notice the monsters taking position to snatch his hat.

The stonework around Bali is so intricate. You could see these types of carvings in the richest cities and then in the poorest villages. A true ancient craft of Bali.

I came to the conclusion: the heavier the monkey, the more ruthless he was when he was skinny. The game is that they steal something from you and then you have to lure it back with lots of peanuts. (That’s if they haven’t ripped it to shreds first.)

Cute or creepy?

A tradition of Bali is the Kecak Dance (Click on this link to see the scene in Baraka and hear the chants- so powerful!) At Uluwatu, we saw a version of the dance in which a demon king tricks a beautiful woman away from her husband and island into joining him in his kingdom. After he is captured, he is sentenced but escapes his death. These stories are told as a group of 70 men chant and make contact with those who lived and died before them. Much like when attending church or temple, stories are told and then prayer is intertwined. This is their way of connecting with the gods and ancestors which they believe control their fate.  

This particular dance was put on for tourists, but it is a widely practiced ritual all over Bali. Even if you have no idea what it is all about, it’s an incredible thing to witness.

The monkey king got a little excited about escaping the ring of fire… so much that he danced some of these sparks into the hair of the man in front of me, causing a slight panic!

A priest enters and sprinkles holy water on to the men, signifying the end of the ceremony.

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