[Photograph by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan.
courtesy – National Geographic ]
Surrounded by wildlife in the hills of the Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India, Bojan grew up with a love of nature. A point-and-shoot hobbyist during the 18 years he worked in Bangalore, he began to seriously pursue photography in 2013, buying his first DSLR and joining National Geographic’s Your Shot community.
Around breakfast time on an August morning in Borneo’s Tanjung Puting National Park, Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan took off his shoes, hoisted his new camera, and slid into cold, chest-deep water stained an opaque brownish-red by the tannins of submerged roots.
Trusting the rangers to warn him if a crocodile appeared, Bojan inched along—gently, to avoid startling the male orangutan wading through the river only yards away.
“Honestly, sometimes you just go blind when things like this happen,” Bojan later tells National Geographic. “You don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel the mosquito bites, you don’t feel the cold, because your mind is completely lost in what’s happening in front of you.”
Bojan knew he was witnessing something special. Orangutans are famously wary of water—their long arms are better suited to swinging in the trees than dog-paddling—so the unusual sight made him wonder. Why would a member of this arboreal species attempt a dangerous river crossing?
It’s possible that widespread habitat loss due to clearing forests for palm oil cultivation has forced the critically endangered primate into areas it would have previously avoided. But whether or not palm oil plantations are behind this orangutan’s atypical behavior, its wary expression and vulnerable posture compel viewers to imagine the threats it faces.
It’s that sense of a rare, weighty moment that led the judges of the 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year contest to select Bojan’s image as the grand prize winner. But the picture almost didn’t happen at all.
(Read the full article here)