moutain gorilla holidays PHOTOGRAPHY & WRITING BY IAN WOOD
The Pygmy Marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea) is the smallest true monkey in the world with a body length averaging just 15cm. Native to the rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, their small weight allows them to reach the very highest leaves of a tree which are inaccessible to most rivals. Because of their small size and fast movements they are considered hard to observe in the wild unless you know what to look for. These monkeys tap trees for sap by using their sharp teeth to gouge holes in the bark, so the secret is to find a tree with tell tale signs of bite marks ... and wait. With time they are actually quite an inquisitive monkey and will come surprisingly close to check out a human visitor. Living up to 12 years in the wild, a group typically consists of an adult pair and their offspring which can number up to six and I met this particular family in the Peruvian Amazon.
As part of my recent trip to Peru I visited an incredible project that is actively involved in marine conservation. www.nature-expeditions-peru.com Based in Lima they offer a range of dolphin and whale watching trips aswell as scuba diving with sealions and specialist bird expeditions.
It is incredibly easy to replace the sky in a photo using photoshop. Some say it is cheating but there are times when a photograph can be drastically improved by adding a more impressive sky. The following example will show you how to add the new sky in a few easy steps. I have chosen a photograph of the Borobudur temple in Java as I needed photographs of it at sunrise and the brief was without people. Like all such major attractions it is over run by tourists so fulfilling these criteria was impossible. My solution was to photograph Borobudur at first light using a tripod and a long exposure.
This photo was taken with a long exposure at 6 am when the sky had just a little light in it. By using such a long exposure the sky is over exposed making for a dreadful photo but it also makes it very easy to isolate the sky area using the "magic wand" tool in photoshop. Click on the area of sky and you will see it highlighted.
Then open an image of a sky that you like. Whenever I see a sky that I like the look of I take one horizontal and one vertical photograph of it for my personal stock usage. Here I want a sunrise so I chose this one.
Then click "Select all" from the Photoshop menu which will highlight all of the new sky. Then click "Edit Copy" from the Photoshop menu. Return to the original image and click "Paste Into" from the photoshop menu and the new sky will drop into the image as shown below.
This doesn't look right as the interesting part of the new sky is too low down so simply click on the Photoshop move tool to drag the sky higher and we have the result intended as shown in the photo below. When you are happy with the image click on "Layer" and then "Flatten Image" from the Photoshop menu and you can save the new image in any format.
Thanks to Barbara, Tim, Kathy, Mairead, Jo, Andy and Gill for being part of another quite incredible trip. One of the great things about wildlife is its unpredictibility. It was under two weeks since I had last been in Tanjung Puting but already things had changed and this was the trip for baby orangutans !
This was a very special trip for all involved so a huge thank you to Jerry, Kelly, Jenna, Sandy, James, Jools and Gill for making it such great fun. Jools has made a short video of the trip which you can see either here at Daily Motion (with a good sound track!) or here at YouTube (with a poorer sound track!) ... Thanks Jools !
Having been lucky enough to dive some of the top places in the world, I thought I should write something on Raja Ampat. It is by far the best place I have ever dived (This includes Sipadan and when I dived Sipadan there were only 6 people staying on the island and not the crowds that now visit). Raja Ampat has a reputation for having the greatest coral diversity left on planet earth and there is no doubt that this is correct. Max Ammer the founder of Papua diving thinks that after 20 years of diving in Raja Ampat he has only just scratched the surface of the wonders on offer. Lack of time meant that I had just 17 dives there in November 2009 and every dive was fantastic ... but there's more ... Although every dive is world class at Raja Ampat there are some dives that are now fused onto my memory for as long as I remain vaguely sane. Three in particular stood out as follows:
It is extremely rare that orangutans give birth to twins but in October 2009 an orangutan at Camp Leakey in the Tanjung Puting national park did give birth to twins and as far I know this is the first time that this has been documented. One baby did die but below is a photo I took of the mother and surviving baby at just 5 days old.
To see a photo of mother and baby please click the "read more" bit.
The following is a list of links to various projects working in the field of orangutan conservation:www.orangutan.org.uk UK Orangutan Foundationwww.orangutans-sos.org Sumatran Orangutan Societywww.savetheorangutan.co.uk Borneo orangutan survival UKwww.orangutan.org.au Australian orangutan foundationwww.orangutan.org International orangutan foundation (USA)
This is a question faced by many people who are planning a journey to areas where there is a risk of Malaria. The following information is my personal thoughts on this matter based on my travel experiences over the last 20 years. I have to stress here that if you are booked on one of my orangutan trips to Tanjung Puting national park Borneo I still recommend that you consult your doctor/travel clinic and consider their advice.