Borneo, 2018

Another memorable moment from a charred forest in Southern Borneo. There is no doubt that these images have made quite an impression and are raising awareness of the plight of the orangutan. She looks more human than a number of Scots I know.

This mother and child were much easier to work with than the big male. She seemed largely comfortable with our presence. My instinct was to work with my “go to” 58mm lens and set the camera for as much detail as possible. The trick was to be in the water and to make myself look small and unthreatening (harder now than it once was!).

But I needed some protection because on the way up river we had noticed several crocodiles and I am terrified of crocs. They could have been anywhere, skulking in the water reeds, but after some manoeuvring, the two motor boats formed a V shape and blocked off the water behind and to the left and right of me. It was only later that our lead guide told me, with a mischievous grin, that there had been a recent crocodile attack nearby but didn’t think he could tell me before otherwise I wouldn’t have got the shot. Good card players the Indonesians! After all, no shot, no bonus.

Photographs like this hopefully serve as a call to arms for conservationists.

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