Jenny's Travels

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sabah, Borneo -- April 2011

A note about the photographs:  I really never do any photography of any kind, except to snatch an occasional photo of the kids.  I was eager to get these pictures out there so that friends and family could see them, so they have not been edited in any way yet, aside from some quick cropping.  I shot in RAW and am told by a friend who knows something about photography that some of the "graininess" in the photos can easily be dealt with -- I hope so, as eventually I would like to edit and print some of our favorites for framing!  We used two cameras:  a Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoot that we've had for years, and a Canon Rebel t2i DSLR, for which I also rented a lens to take on our trip -- a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. (I really have no idea what those numbers all mean, to be honest.  I was told by above-mentioned friend as well as some very friendly camera shop workers that it was my best compromise... I could optimize for either light or zoom -- but not both -- and still manage to hike with the camera comfortably.  Since it can be quite dark under the tree canopy, and we cared most about getting a few good orangutan shots, we opted for "light", thinking we could crop whatever images we ended up getting.  I'm happy with the result!)

A Little Background Information

My husband and I often plan our personal and family travel around wildlife viewing opportunities and fantastic natural experiences.  In particular, we have a strong interest in primates.  Ten years ago (prior to having children) we embarked on our first major "primate endeavor" in search of wild chimpanzees.  We visited Gombe Stream, in Tanzania -- the national park where Jane Goodall set up camp and spent years researching the native chimpanzee population.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives!  We decided then that we would make it a goal to observe all of the great apes in their natural habitats.  Orangutans, which can only be found in the wild in Borneo and Sumatra, were naturally "next" on our list because they are the most highly endangered of the great apes due to rampant destruction of their natural habitat for palm oil production (check out the deforestation map of Borneo, below).

. . . So, finally, after about ten years of dreaming and two years of intense planning, in April 2011, our family of four (myself, my husband, and two daughters - ages 6 and 8) set off for our next big "primate adventure", and traveled 30 hours (and 12 time zones) to Sabah, Borneo!  Our itinerary was as follows: