Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Borneo Trek For Orangutans: Day 4.

On that Monday, we woke up in our beautiful jungle home. Our office would be the trees, and we didn't know it yet, but today we were going to have the best (and most challenging) fun ever. We would do two forest treks, swim in a waterfall, trek along a stony riverbed through moving water, and then float down one of the many tributaries in Betung Kerihun National Park in our life vests. We lived. It was my favourite day of the whole trip, and one of the best days of my life.

Day 4: Exploring Betung Kerihun National Park

Today was our first real day in the jungle. We woke up early at about 5am, to see if we could spot gibbons on a 6am trek. 

It was so pleasant here, sleeping by the river in our tents; all the insects and birds calling around us. As expected, the rainforest was cooler in comparison to the heat in the cities, but I'd still sweat within mere minutes of doing anything, even standing still.

Our tents were on concrete slabs that had been built into the campground, which made for some sore sleeping. My bruised bones from the boat ride the day before made it uncomfortable to lie on my back, but lying on my side was impossible: my hip bones pushed into the hard ground and I would immediately turn back over. I made a mental note to try sleeping on top of my sleeping bag tonight, willing to risk being a midnight snack for malaria-infested mosquitoes. Nevertheless, I now understood how the phrase "happy camper" might have come about—for a group of people who woke up at the crack of dawn after just having slept on concrete, we were perfectly content.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Borneo Trek For Orangutans: Day 3.

After two full days of travelling by air, our third day would be a full of travelling by land and by sea. We had a 2.5 hour bus ride from Putussibau to Sadap village, which would then be followed by another 2.5 hour longboat ride from Sadap to Tekelan Camping Ground in Betung Kerihun National Park. I didn't bother writing anything in my journal for this day seeing as we were mostly on the go, but rest assured—I have plenty to talk about.

Day 3: En route to the jungle. Putussibau to Sadap, Sadap to Tekelan.

Today we were finally on our way to the jungle. The idea of spending 2.5 hours squished into a bus with no air-conditioning (except nature's air-conditioning, which as it turns out, was pretty strong) may not seem ideal, but we were pretty happy. I had spent some time before bed last night preparing my bags for the boat ride this afternoon—waterproofing everything that couldn't get wet; putting my sunblock, insect repellent (tropical strength, 80% DEET—a necessity in the jungle), sunglasses, hat and water in easily accessible places on my day pack; putting my bigger rucksack into a huge plastic bag and knotting it tight. My camera was really my only concern, but I had a special waterproof bag just for that.

After breakfast (which included my daily dose of doxycycline to prevent malaria, and a banana fritter Jimmy had bought from a street vendor across the road) we piled into the bus. I was expecting our ride to be fairly bumpy and full of unpaved roads, but we had a solid hour or so where the roads were actually paved and line-marked.

Admiring traditional Indonesian architecture. This here is a longhouse.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Borneo Trek For Orangutans: Day 1-2.

It was a week yesterday since I landed home after 10 days in Indonesian Borneo. It's just as surreal to me now as it was when I was leaving that this trip even happened. After over a year of talking about it, training for it, fundraising and campaigning for it, it didn't seem real that I was going to be in this place I'd only ever heard of. Even now that I'm back to normality, I wonder if perhaps it was all a dream...but the photographic evidence sits in my hard drives: all 3,581 fragments of memories and moments from Trek For Orangutans to remind me I was there.

I have over 800 final shots that I want to share with you, so I'll be doing separate blog posts that cover 1-2 days from the trip. Unlike my other blog posts, I'll actually be including some writing as part of my Borneo photo series. As comprehensive as photos may be, there's so much they won't tell you about—the smells, the noises, the atmosphere; the view outside the frame; all the genuine, proper conversations I had with people who were once strangers; what I wasn't able to or didn't have time to capture; and that which I chose not to capture because a moment was too good to waste on shooting it, versus living in it.

I committed to writing a pretty detailed journal while I was in Borneo, so I'll be including excerpts from those pages in these posts.

Here goes.

Day 1: From Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney to Jakarta.

I write this on board our flight to Jakarta, Indonesia. My second flight today; my first ever flying solo. I may be with my tour group, but most of us have only just met, and in many ways lots of us are travelling alone.

I was emotional when I left Brisbane. I didn't expect to be; I wasn't sure why. I felt every different feeling right down into the pits of my stomach. I was hoping to leave on a positive note, but I guess the reality of everything was hitting me.

Martin and I were up until 1am the night before packing, weighing, repacking, unpacking. Making my bags as light and easy to travel with as possible. Despite my backpacks being the lightest I'd ever packed for anywhere overseas at 8kgs (carry-on) and 11kgs (checked-in), they still felt heavier than I would've liked them to be: mostly because I knew I would be carrying them all myself. When one of your bags is taller than your torso is long, you get pretty determined to make it as easy for you as possible.

Special meal = getting yours before the trolleys. Cue instant mood improvement.

Window frost at approx. 39,000ft.

Beginning the journal.

First glimpse of sky above Indonesia.

The first three days were mostly going to be travel. Lots of flights, checking-in, security points, waiting. It's mostly why I didn't take many photos of this part of the trip: there's only so many photos of planes and clouds and airports I can share before it all gets very boring. I'm certain you get it—but when you start thinking about how long it took us to get to The Heart of Borneo, you then get a true idea of exactly how remote we were.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why I'm trekking for orangutans in Borneo.

With just two weeks to go until I leave for Borneo, I've finally written this post. Over the last year as I've been training, fundraising and campaigning for the trek, a lot of you have been so supportive and have—rightly so—been curious as to why I decided to trek for orangutans.

I believe we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to inspire change. I've always known that I wanted to do something that will keep on giving even when I'm gone. I don't want to live out my days contributing only to myself and my own life when there are so many beings around the world in need. It was never going to be enough to only do well in my career; I wanted everything else I was passionate about on the inside to be something I was actively involved in on the outside.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Ones We Love Exhibition, Künstler Magazines

Some photos from The Ones We Love exhibition & book release at Künstler Magazines. An exhibition of the most beautiful, tender & raw portraits of love, humans, life by photographers all around the world. It can be so hard to capture a person's essence, all of the facets of their being, in one single photo, but these photographers get it right. I hope to be taking more of these kinds of photos in the future.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Type By Hand: Hand-lettering workshops with Wayne Thompson.

Yet again, my design & photography worlds collide. If you're a designer & type-lover living in Australia, then you've probably already heard of Wayne Thompson's Type By Hand workshops. Teaching you to refine your hand-lettering skills through a range of techniques, you'll learn the art of blackletter, brush type and even how to make your own ruling pen from a soda can. These workshops are a must if you love typography or doing anything by hand, not to mention you get a lot of one-on-one learning time with some of Australia's best typographers.

It was such a pleasure filming the workshop (which I've been wanting to attend myself for some time now). I first met Wayne when I photographed Typism 2013; almost a year later, it's great to be able to work with Wayne after our brief chats about videos & photos at the conference.

If you went to Typism, you'll also notice Wayne's fellow speakers Matt Vergotis (attending as a helper) & Nicole Phillips (attending as a keen student) appear in the video.

Just quietly: plans are already underway for Typism 2015, so keep an eye on the website for the line-up and more news to come.

More photos from my day capturing Type By Hand below.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Self, 2014.

It's been a while since one of these.
Photo taken by Martin.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

I Used To Skate Once 10

Photos from the 10th annual I Used To Skate Once. As always the show boasted an impressive collection of work from talented artists from Brisbane and across Australia. There was even a skateboard connected to an electric guitar you could play that I wasn't able to get a better photo of! Make sure you keep an eye out for next year's event if you haven't been before.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Analogue/Digital Brisbane 2014 After-Party.

If you went to the A/D after-party at Greaser bar, you might spot your face in the video. The after-party was too good not to give it a separate video of its own. Some snaps below!

In case you missed it: go and watch the official Analogue/Digital Brisbane 2014 video.

Analogue/Digital Creative Conferences Brisbane 2014.

So pleased that I can finally post this. A month ago I had the honour of filming and photographing Analogue/Digital here in Brisbane. If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I filmed Analogue/Digital back when it first started, just for fun from the safety of my seat in the audience when I was still experimenting with videography. Even then, Matt was incredibly supportive and encouraging—if you know Matt, then you'll know that he roots for the homegrown, the talented, the hard-working, and the passionate people who love what they do, whatever that is.

After attending A/D year after year and after taking photos from my seat at A/D again last year, Matt decided he wanted me to "do one of your sick films like you did for us the very first time!". I can't thank Matt & Alex enough for doing such brilliant jobs running the conference (which is now national!) and for giving me the opportunity to "officially" shoot it this year. I had an amazing time, as always—if you were there, I hope you did too.

Check out the A/D BNE after-party video & photos over here.