Perkenier grave

Concordia bastion

The sun dips below Run Island

Islander Living

ramparts, Fort Amsterdam

Crystal Clear

Welcome to Banda

Fort Belgica view

Fleet and Volcano

Dawn from the volcano

Nailaka, site of Fort Defence, 1616

Nutmeg

The Main Banda's from Nailaka

Fort Kalamatta, Ternate

Belgica's ticket office

Belgica Towers

Fort Concordia, Waer

Nailaka coral reefs

Fort Revenge

Tropical portrait, Nailaka

The Banda's adrift in their tropical sea

Nassau's walls and gate

Delfika Guesthouse

VOC

The sun drops behind Gunung Api

soccer at sunset, Ternate

road to Concordia

Inside Revenge

Fort Amsterdam

Local lads

Muzzle detail

Fort Revenge perspective

Lonthor pier

Line of Volcanos

Revenge on Ai

Earthquake shattered

Local Transport

down the Banda channel

Belgica's upper battlements

Fort Belgica, Banda

Flanking Fire

Towards Ceram

climbing to Fort Belgica

Leaving Banda

Battlement

Nutmeg gaurdian

Concordia's gates

400 year old battle

approaching Nailaka

Mace and Nutmeg

A Kings Medals

Beaches, Reefs and Volcanos

Belgica, Banda

Ceram from Amsterdam

First floor, Fort Amsterdam

Fort Colombo

Fort Nassau's Arched Entry

Concordia from the sea

Tolukko

Leaving Banda

Hollandia-gate

Welcome

Willem III

Nutmeg Harvest

Saparua, near Ambon

Fortress detail

The fight against nature

Magnificent Belgica

Earthquake damage

Off Nailaka

Gunung Api and speedboat

Top floor, Blockhouse, Fort Amsterdam

Tropical fortress

Nassau detail

side gate Nassau

Land Gate and Sea Gate

Fort Tolukko, Ternate

Concordia powder store

Duurstede

Belgica Silouette

Forgotten

Sea gate, Concordia

Fort Nassau and 666m Gunung Api

C17th Dunnies, Fort Revenge

Fort Duurstede, the monsoon rolls in

Pattimura's fort

ruins in the jungle

Fort Hollandia, Lonthor

Under the volcano

into Fort Nassau

Ai's reefs

Bandaneira

Guardian of The Channel

Nailaka beach

Fort Concordia bastion

The Banda's from Ai

Thunderbox, Duurstede

Maitara and Tidore

Inside Fort Amsterdam

Nutmeg, The cause of it all

Duurstede, Saparua

The Banda's

Hardship posting

Fort Amsterdam entry

Belgica's plaque

New and Old

Ternate sunrise

Retired

Nur Alam

Duurstede's Ramparts

Mighty Belgica

Local Ladies

Pelni liner

inside Nassau

Blockhouse, Fort Amsterdam

Duurstede battlements

Ome to Ternate

Bricks from Holland

Willem III's plaque

Belgica and the volcano

The Monsoon building up

Nassau's Sea gate

Powder store

Fort Revenge, Ai

Spices and Forts

Main gate, Fort Amsterdam

Kalamatta

Fort Victoria's Seagate

Nassau and Gunung Api

Floating

Makian

Revenge walls

Volcanos and Spice Islands Forts

Nailaka, site of English Fort Defence, 1616

Fort Tohula

Powder store, Nassau

approaching Fort Nassau

Fort Duurstede

Belgica's entry

C17th Fort Concordia

Entry gate, Fort Revenge

Concordia's Ramparts

Intimidating

Concordia seagate

Hollandia's powder store

people mover, Banda's

Entry, Fort Amsterdam

Fort Tolukko

Sunset off Banda

up to Belgica

Ship killer

Why not

Fort Duurstede 1676

Run and Nailaka

Fort Colombo graveyard

Lava flows

Fort Nassau under the volcano

Fort Nassau, 1609

Early Morning Banda Township

Tolukko's bastion

Banda lads

Earthquake!

Martha Christina Tiahahu, Ambon

Victory over Portugal

Fort Amsterdam, Hila

Saparua lads

Duurstede's sea bastion

Nutmeg Tree

Blue Motion diveboat off Ai, Run behind

Muzzle View

Swapped for Manhattan 1667; Run Island

Banda dawn

Fort Revenge, the Banda's

Belgica, Bandaneira

Royal cannon

Gunung Api from Lonthor

Fort Kalamatta

Main gate Fort Nassau

Guarding the channel

Losing the Battle

VOC Fortress

Battle with Time

Forgotten Battlements

Fort Colombo, Gunung Api

Palm Tree and Thuderheads

Shortcut to Town

Learning Young

Ternate

Middle Cortyard

Korakora and Cannon

Sunset Belgica

Fort Amsterdam, Ambon

Sunset

Inner Fort from Outer Fort

The Banda Isles

Towers and Bastions

Sentry box, Duurstede

Touch Hole

Sea bastion, Fort Amsterdam

Photographing Spice Islands Forts can be tricky. Forts themselves, because of their squat, semi-buried shape and great extent are often hard to come to grips with favourably. They never liked being overlooked (by cannon) so it is generally hard to get an elevated, all-encompassing view that would clarify their layout.

And there is also the tropical conditions that mix poorly with good photography; blinding equatorial glare, blazing heat, monsoonal downpours, humidity and dust, bright skies and jungle shadows. Keeping these caveats in mind, I hope you will enjoy our photo essay of the Spice Islands and their forts. Some are mine, but mostly they are by a very talented, self-taught Indonesian lad from Irian Jaya, Nur Alam, who toured Banda and Ambon in May 2013 for me, to bring the Islands to life for you. You will see he is serious about his dawns and dusks, and has a discerning eye for subject, composition and contrast.

He uses a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, with Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L, 24-70mm f/2.8 L, 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS, 50mm f/1.8 II and of course, the Fish eye 15mm f/2.8 lenses. And he gets those amazing blue skies, not with Photoshop, but with filter lenses including Hoya CPL 77mm, Shingray CPL Color Combo 77mm, and a set of Lee Natural Graduated Filters. You cant always get where you want to go in the Islands in the soft golden light of dawn, so filters for heavy glare are a must.

For those that can’t make it to the Spice Islands, these shots are the next best thing. And if you fancy that one day you’d like to make the journey, I’m sure these will whet your appetite for the stunning adventure that is the Spice Islands.

Many of these images can be purchased from our Gift Shop.