Bitung, on the Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

HDR image of a creek running through woods showing brilliant fall colors

I love the rich, saturated, and varied colors in a pile of hot peppers, illuminated by the morning sunlight. These were for sale by a small vendor, at the edges of the Aertembaga market, in Bitung city.

Bitung is the the large shipping port in the Lembeh Strait — one of the largest ports in Indonesia and the main embarkation point for boats belonging to the dive resorts nearby and on Lembeh Island. (Not entirely by coincidence, it’s also namesake for a very nice Indonesian pilsner-style beer that goes down quite well at the end of a day diving.) All of the ships, hotels, dive resorts, and people in this sprawling port city fill their basic grocery needs at one or another of the markets in the town. The markets are correspondingly sprawling and packed.

Part outdoors and part undercover, the Aertembaga market is an incredible sprawl of shops, stands, and vendors with narrow, dirt (or mud) walkways in between. The sights, sounds, and smells in the market were incredible (sometimes in good ways, sometimes not so much). There were flowers, vegetables, spices, fruits, butchers, toys, candy, baked goods, clothing, fishmongers, flip-flops, rice, live poultry, and cooked meats. Being from America, we never imagined there could be so many particular, unique kinds of rice, each with its own purpose and price. Or the incredible variety of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables we would find — all grown locally in North Sulawesi. The people were open and friendly; smiling, greeting us, and actually inviting us to take their picture. Nancy was enthralled.

I was attracted by the amazing colors and textures and the interplay of light and shadow as we moved from bright sun to bright shade shielded by improvised tarpaulins and then inside buildings. I don’t think I passed a pile of peppers without taking at least one photo: The bright colors and contrast always seemed to grab me. Shopkeepers and patrons alike were amused and tolerant. Shouts, conversation, and laughter followed us through the market.

There will be more market photos later. For now, here’s a bit of spice.

(Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm prime lens, ISO 200, f/3.5, shutter at 1/1600.)

Peppers is a post from:
Images and text copyright © Rick Collier and thePhotoTourist. All rights reserved.

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