Flores – Island of a Thousand Charms
Indonesia is a magical destination, with over 17,000 islands, the nation offers a wealth of geographic and cultural history. Spread over an area the size of the continental USA, Indonesia is a truly diverse country. Hundreds of different languages are present due to populations isolated from one another for thousands of years by the sea as well as high mountains. This means different areas of the country each have their own special cultural history influenced by their unique region. One of the most diverse and unique islands in Indonesia is Flores, a large land mass located in Nusa Tenggara.
Flores is located 240 miles to the east of Bali and is the arrival point for visiting the Komodo National Park. Measuring almost 400 kilometers from east to west, Flores is a mountainous destination with many active volcanoes. As a destination for filming, there are few places in the world that can compare. With thousands of years of civilization on the island, there is boundless variety of cultural history. Add 11 active volcanoes to the mix and you have one of the most interesting islands in the world.
The Flores People
The mountainous interior of the island means that the local populations developed in isolation. This means that each area has distinct cultural traditions and languages. Although mainly Catholic, the local people maintain many of their ancient traditions. For photographers and documentary film makers, this means an incredible opportunity to create. The intricate dances and ceremonies that take place during harvest festivals are a treasure to observe. With very few outsiders visiting the interior of the island, everyone is welcomed to attend. The key is attending festivals that are not a set performance for tourists. We can help organize this via our web of local knowledge.
The traditional houses of the high mountain areas of Flores are unique. The people who live in them live a basic day to day life but still enjoy more modern pleasures such as phone and TV. Their friendly demeanor and willingness to converse makes for fantastic portrait photography opportunities.
The Flores Landscapes
The narrow island has a spine of high mountains running from east to west. These continuous range of mountains and the island itself are the result of the nearby plate subduction zone. The Indo Australian tectonic plate is sinking beneath the Eurasian plate which creates the Indonesian part of the “Ring of Fire”. With subduction comes the creation of volcanoes and Flores has no shortage of those! There are 11 active and many extinct volcanoes in Flores. They range in form and shape from the classic pyramid shape to a more flat topped variety. What they all share in common is a wonderful green jungle landscape. For content creation, there is nothing more beautiful than the early morning light on a mountain with mist rising from the trees. Flores offers these landscapes from one end of the island to the other.
The prime jewel of the Flores volcanoes are the multicolored lakes of Kelimutu volcano. This 1600 meter mountain is located in central Flores near the town of Moni. The 1600 meter summit is easily reached by a short walk from the carpark. The dawn light over the craters creates a beautiful setting to capture this incredible location. Mid morning is better for capturing the colour of the lakes as the shadows of the crater walls disappear as the sun rises. There are also a group of resident long tailed macaques living in the area who make great photo subjects. Shooting from a drone is the best way to see the area as a whole.
With a mix of volcanoes, ancient houses, beautiful jungles, and and ancient and thriving culture, Flores island offers endless opportunities for the film maker. Knowing where and when to go is also important. We can help aspiring film crews to organize their trip to this beautiful and little known territory. Please get in touch with us if you are considering a new location to create a stunning travel film.