moutain gorilla holidays PHOTOGRAPHY & WRITING BY IAN WOOD
It's been a pleasure to work with Maytree cards to make a new collection for their range. "The Orangutan Foundation collection" has an initial range of 18 different cards including both orangutans and other wildlife from Borneo. Maytree make a donation of 33% of the profit from each card directly to the Orangutan Foundation. The cards will be on sale via the Orangutan Foundation's online shop along with a wide range of outlets in the UK. (Info and link to follow soon.)
One of my photos has been selected for the finals of the wildlife photographer of the year 2010 competition in the One Earth award category. The image is of a Sumatran orangutan in the quarantine centre near Medan, N Sumatra. I was trying to capture the difference in the eyes of a wild and captured orangutan. This adult male Sumatran orangutan looks depressed (and probably is) as it's a terrible sight seeing one in cage. However there is hope for this orangutan as the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) have managed to re-release many of the orangutans that end up in the quarantine centre back to the wild.
The video below was made my Jools who came on one of my Borneo orangutan holidays last year. Thanks for the memories Jools !
Depth of field is often a problem with macro photography and even when we use a very small aperture it's not possible to get all of the image in focus. There are times when it's lovely to have part of the image in crisp focus and the rest of the photograph blurred, but there's also a technique for those occasions when we want the whole of the image pin sharp. The example below is a shot I've been working on of bluebells just after a rain shower.
Proboscis monkeys are endemic to Borneo and are mainly limited to coastal forest swamps and to forests next to large rivers. They are still known locally amongst some people as orang belanda which in Bahasa Indonesian means 'Dutchman'. This is in reference to their huge bloated stomachs and their bizarre noses which reminded them of the Dutch people who tried to control many parts of Borneo from the 17th century. The adult male proboscis monkey is particulary striking being one of the largest monkeys in the world. They can weigh upto 25 kilos and have a huge nose that overhangs their mouth forcing them to push it out of the way when they eat.
From time to time I have been asked what equipment and techniques I use to take macro close up photographs. I currently use a Nikon D300 and D700 body along with a Sigma 150mm macro lens with a Sigma ring flash fitted to the end of the lens. (See sigma user website for more info.) I bought the Sigma lens as Nikon didn't make a lens with this focal length and I generally need to be slightly further away from more skittish insects.
For information on my orangutan tours to Borneo please click here.
There are two different species of orangutans : The Borneo orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii).According to a report published by Oryx, the International Journal of Conservation the current remaining populations are estimated at 6500 in Sumatra and 50,000 in Borneo. To read a summary of this report published in July 2008 please visit my Recent articles section and select "Sumatran Orangutan in serious decline" article.
Thanks to everyone who came on the recent trip to Tanjung Puting national park, Borneo. We had another 50th birthday while we were out there so thanks Jen for deciding to spend it in Borneo ! There is some information on the highlights of this trip below but to make a change I thought I'd start this trip report with some inspiring news from a previous holiday. The day that I returned to England I had an email from Elaine Clueit who came on a trip with me 3 years ago.
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.