f 6.3, 1/125 sec, ISO 200, 17mm
My wife and I traveled to Borneo to photograph the orangutans being rehabilitated back into the wild, as well as wild ones in the Tanjung Putting National Park, Kalimantan, Indonesia. I had a vision of trying to capture the essence of the “orang-u-tan” which translates “man-of-forest.” My vision and reality came together as we were travelling along the river when we spotted this orangutan mother and baby in a tree. The boat stopped for us to photograph the pair. My wife was at the front of the boat, and the orangutan mother couldn’t stop looking over at her. I just waited quietly to see what was going to transpire. Slowly the orangutan stretched its body, then its arm out towards my wife. Taking the queue, my wife reciprocated by stretching her hand out. After a few dramatic moments the orangutan gently grasped my wife’s fingers while never breaking eye contact. This is highly unusual because orangutans are known for being shy and not looking you in the eye. For what seemed like minutes, but was probably just a few moments, she lightly held onto my wife’s hand. And just like that, the moment was over, but the experience has stayed with us to this day.