My name is Ben Suttmeier, and I’m a travel photographer and filmmaker from the United States. Back in 2013 with virtually no travel experience, I quit my cubicle job and booked a one-way ticket to backpack around South America for what I thought would be one year. That one year turned into eight and eventually took me to places all across the globe. Somewhere along the way, my love of travel evolved into a love of photography, and I’ve devoted my life to trying to capture the beauty of the places I visit ever since. I consider myself extremely lucky to now do what I love for a living.
Several years ago, I visited East Java, Indonesia for the first time to get “the shot.” Mount Bromo had long been a place I’d had on my photography bucket list, and the entire focus of my trip was to capture the full rotation of star trails around the South Pole, which happens to be located directly behind the volcanic range from one of the primary viewpoints.
I traveled alone to the nearest town, set my alarm for 2am, and made the hike up only to be met with cloudy conditions that didn’t bode well for astrophotography. I made the same hike the following night with similar results. On my third night, I arrived at the viewpoint again under clear skies with the Milky Way clearly visible to the naked eye. There was something really special and profound standing there alone as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, able to make out the silhouette of Bromo.
I can’t wait to share this experience and many others with you guys on this trip. East Java is undoubtedly among the most impressive places I’ve ever visited, and I’m sure the landscapes and culture will leave a similar impression on you.