Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back to Basics at Bako

Today I visited Bako National Park for the third time, which is funny because until April, I had yet to visit, and now in the past three months I've been there three times. The occasion was that a photographer friend, Kim Briers, was in town and wanted to visit this place. Actually I only met him through my Sarawakian friend, Ashley, but that's besides the point. Anyways, our trip to Bako started off pretty miserably, due to some torrential downpours. Kim was especially worried for his camera gear, and I guess it was my fumble to not advise him to bring a raincoat and dry bag. Eventually we made it to Telur Pandan Kecil (roughly translates into: Small beach), hung out there for a while and took some shots, before heading back to the Bako HQ, where our boat would be waiting. We arranged for the boat to come around 6:30pm, to allow us to catch the sunset there and potentially get some snaps.

On our way back, we ran into a brigade of proboscis monkeys on their way back from the Mangrove swamp near HQ. This was perfect, since Kim had wanted to visit Bako for the purpose of seeing these beautiful, yet odd-looking animals. We'd almost lost hope, but lucked out. The boat came a bit early, and we left Bako before the most colorful part of the sunset (usually just after sunset). This ended up being for the best (for me at least), because we were on the boat during this colorful post-sunset, and still got some excellent shots. For me it was ideal, because I love taking such photos from very low near the water, and to imply motion using longer shutter speed exposures.

Bako Sunset

When our boat began to turn and move away from the mountain, I looked back behind us, noticing how cool the scene look combined with wakes in the water produced by the motor. I recomposed and boom. of course the downside of the longer shutter speed was more blur in the overall scene, but it was still ok enough for me to be relatively satisfied.

Bako Sunset 2

Next time I'll be ready to make a better version of this, but damn, let's just take a second to marvel at the beauty of this place. Seeing such breathtaking scenes consistently moves me, inspires me, and gives me new appreciation for such simple experiences we are often too busy to notice unfolding before our eyes.

Also, thinking about how our day progressed, at first we were pretty put off by the downpours early in the day, and had lost hope that anything spectacular was coming our way later on. We did stay positive, enjoying the view from the cliff atop the beach, and basking in the cool, fresh air brought to us by the rain. In the end we lucked out big time, perhaps rewarded for our patience and perseverance. A lesson to those travelers seeking instant gratification from the places they visit.

Published on June 16

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