National Geographic Traveler

Tim’s pictures were featured in the April/May issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.  The story was written by his wife and 2 kids about their summer adventures to Borneo as a family.
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    World Press Photo Win

    Tim’s orangutan story has won 1st prize for the Nature Stories category in the 2016 World Press Photo Contest!  You can see his winning story “Tough Times for Orangutans” on the World Press Photo website.

     

    The lives of wild orangutans are brought to light. Threats to these orangutans from fires, the illegal animal trade and loss of habitat due to deforestation have …
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      Flashback Japan – feature in Japanese National Geographic

      Happy 20th Anniversary to National Geographic Japan, the first international edition of National Geographic magazine!

      In honor of their anniversary, National Geographic Japan created a special section called Flashback Japan in their December 2015 issue, and I am honored to be featured.  They selected one of my images from my story about Japanese Winter Wildlife, originally published in the January 2003 issue of National Geographic.  Here is the spread from Japanese National Geographic. I have provided an English translation of the Japanese text below.

      Flashback Japan - Dec 2015 National Geographic Japanese edition spread featuring a photo from Tim Laman's Jan 2003 article about Winter Wildlife in Japan.

       

      Here is the English translation of the text on the spread above, published in Dec 2015 National Geographic Japanese edition:

      Deer and Sea Ice, Hokkaido, Japan

      One morning, photographer Tim Laman was exploring the remote coast of Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido. While he was making landscape photographs of the sea ice, several deer appeared, walking along the beach. “I became very excited at what they might add to the composition,” Tim said.

      Laman, a world-class wildlife photographer, is also a field biologist with a doctorate from Harvard. He says, “I like to capture images showing animals in their landscape.” After a while, two of the deer, coming from opposite directions, met and gently touched noses, perhaps in greeting. “It was a brief moment, but I snapped the shutter and captured it.”

      Japan is a second home to Laman, because he was born and grew up in Japan — in Tokyo, Sasebo, and Kobe, due to his father’s job. So the story, Japan’s Winter Wildlife in NGM 2003 January issue, was like a dream come true. “I wanted to show the broader world the beauty of nature in Japan. I chose the winter season for its clean beauty,” he said.

      On his assignment, he worked in Nagano, Iwate, and Hokkaido, to capture monkeys in Jigokudani or swans in Lake Kussharo, and many other subjects. Tim says some of his favorite photographs are those of Red-crowned Cranes in Kushiro Shitsugen wetland. “Sunrise on the river, and the roosting cranes backlit through the mist. Or a couple making a mating call as snow gently fell through the air. I had many unforgettable moments.”

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        Borneo Is Burning – Photos

        Below are some pictures of the fires and its effects from 3 weeks ago.  Indonesia recently received some rain but the fires are still a threat.

        Wildfire in farmland in Pulang Pisau District, Kalimantan Tengah Province, Indonesia. Island of Borneo

         

        An adult female orangutan with a juvenile have come to the edge of the Mangkutup River because all the forest behind them has burned.

        An adult female orangutan with a juvenile have come to the edge of the Mangkutup River because all the forest behind them has burned.

         

        Photographer Tim Laman travels on the Mangkutup River wearing a mask to protect him from the smoke of the forest fires.

        Photographer Tim Laman travels on the Mangkutup River wearing a mask to protect him from the smoke of the forest fires.

         

        Orangutan research assistant fighting fire in the peat swamp forest.

        Orangutan research assistant fighting fire in the peat swamp forest.

         

        Villagers and some Indonesian soldiers attempt to combat wildfire in a farm field by batting it with banana leaves.

        Villagers and some Indonesian soldiers attempt to combat wildfire in a farm field by batting it with banana leaves.

         

        See the National Geographic New article:  Photos: Indonesia’s Rampant Fires Threaten Rare Orangutan.

         

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          Borneo Is Burning

          Yesterday, National Geographic News posted Tim’s photo story on their website, Photos: Indonesia’s Rampant Fires Threaten Rare Orangutans.  A couple of weeks ago Tim was on assignment in Indonesia photographing the devastation.  He was on the front lines where people were desperately trying to put out the fires.  Not only is this a huge ecological disaster threatening orangutans and other wildlife but it is also effecting the air we breath.  Check out Tim’s Instagram (@TimLaman) to see other pictures of the wildfires.  To see more pictures of the endangered orangutans the fire is threatening, visit Tim Laman’s Wild Orangutan gallery.

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            Wild Planet Interview

            TIM LAMAN INTERVIEW WP15-1

            While in London, Tim was interviewed by Wild Planet about winning the portfolio award in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.  The article features 14 questions and all 6 winning images.

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              New BBC film: Attenborough’s Paradise Birds

              If you are in the UK, or anywhere you can get BBC2, don’t miss Sir David Attenborough’s newest film on the Birds of Paradise called “Attenborough’s Paradise Birds”. It is airing at 8:00 PM on Thursday, Jan 29, 2015.

              Many video shots and sequences made by Tim Laman and Ed Scholes are found throughout the film, including this title shot which you may recognize if you know Tim’s work:

               

              This is the title shot for Sir David Attenborough's new Jan 2015 film on Birds of Paradise.  Shot by Tim Laman.

              This is the title shot for Sir David Attenborough’s new Jan 2015 film on Birds of Paradise. Shot by Tim Laman.

              See the trailer here:

              ATTENBOROUGH’S PARADISE BIRDS TRAILER

              Featured in the film are Tim Laman and Ed Scholes and their project to photograph all the species of Birds of Paradise, including a sequence where they share rare footage of Carola’s Parotia with Sir David in the BBC studios.

              Shortly after broadcast, the program will apparently be available at the BBC2 website so check back here:

              BBC2 WEBSITE: ATTENBOROUGH’S PARADISE BIRDS

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                2014 – It’s Been Quite a Year!

                Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, Explorer’s Club membership, and a Canon exhibit and ad campaign make for a banner year.

                Fieldwork is what I am all about…. Field research and exploration, and spending many months in the wild corners of the planet seeking those elusive, story-telling images of rare species and wild landscapes. This year was no exception, with a lot of field time on my “Documenting Orangutan Diversity” project in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as shooting in some other locations such as the Maldives, the Sierra Nevada range, and China.

                But as the year wraps up, I also realize that it has been a very special year for me. It’s very rewarding when all the hard work in the field yields not only published photos and articles, but also other types of exposure and recognition. These were some of the special highlights of 2014:

                Canon’s 100 Million lenses campaign: As Canon reached the major landmark of producing their 100 Millionth lens, they created a print ad campaign in Japan that featured my Greater Bird-of-Paradise image and a shot of me with my camera up in the canopy in the New Guinea rain forest. I have been an enthusiastic user of Canon equipment for over three decades, so it was a great feeling to be selected to represent all the Canon photographers out there and the Canon brand for this ad.

                 

                This ad ran in Japanese newspapers as a double spread, featuring Tim Laman and his Greater Bird-of-Paradise image.

                This ad ran in Japanese newspapers as a double spread, featuring Tim Laman and his Greater Bird-of-Paradise image.

                 

                The Explorer’s Club: As I combine video shooting on Canon DSLR’s more and more with my still photography, it was a milestone for me to receive my first filmmaking award at a film festival in January. We won the “Best Exploration Film” at the New York Wild Film Festival. The Festival was held at the famous Explorer’s Club in New York, and led to opportunities to meet many members and see the club. Subsequently, I was nominated and accepted for membership in the Explorer’s Club, which I am very excited about. I look forward to opportunities to meet more of the renowned explorer’s who are involved with this club, and to continue to make expeditions in the spirit of exploration the club represents.

                 

                Explorer's Club Flag

                 

                 

                Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award: I’ve been entering photos in this granddaddy of all wildlife photography competitions for nearly twenty years. It is without a doubt the premier competition of its kind in the world. While at least ten of my images have received honors over the years, I had never one a major category or award. So it was a real career high point when my portfolio of six Birds-of-Paradise images won the new Portfolio Award category.

                 

                Tim poses with his six winning images in the Portfolio category of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, on display in the Natural History Museum, London.

                Tim poses with his six winning images in the Portfolio category of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, on display in the Natural History Museum, London.

                 

                Canon Gallery Exhibit: In January, my year started out with a real milestone. Something I had dreamed about since I was a kid visiting Canon photo galleries in Tokyo. I had my own exhibit of my Birds-of-Paradise work shown in the Canon S Gallery at Canon Marketing Japan headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo. It was a thrill to see this childhood fantasy come true, and to spend time in Tokyo, giving a lecture to accompany the exhibit.

                 

                Poster for Tim Laman's Bird of Paradise photography exhibit in Tokyo at the Canon Gallery S

                Poster for Tim Laman’s Bird of Paradise photography exhibit in Tokyo at the Canon Gallery S

                 

                 

                Meeting Sir David Attenborough: It’s pretty exciting when you get to meet a long-time hero and inspirational figure like Sir David. It was a real pleasure and an honor for Ed Scholes and me to meet Sir David in Bristol, UK this past April to work on a film project together. With our common interest in Birds-of-Paradise, we hit it off immediately. The film will be out in early 2015, so stay tuned!

                 

                Edwin Scholes, Sir David Attenborough and Tim Laman outside the BBC studios in Bristol.  It was an honor and a pleasure to meet Sir David a fellow fan of Birds-of-Paradise, and collaborate with him on a film coming out in Jan 2015.

                Edwin Scholes, Sir David Attenborough and Tim Laman outside the BBC studios in Bristol. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet Sir David a fellow fan of Birds-of-Paradise, and collaborate with him on a film coming out in Jan 2015.

                 

                2014 is going to be hard to beat, but here’s to 2015!

                 

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                  Ten Questions with Tim Laman

                  Photographer Tim Laman stands waist to chest deep in a mangrove lagoon with his big lens on a tripod to photograph birds in the mangroves. Photo by Zafer Kizilkaya.

                  Tim Laman waist deep in a mangrove lagoon with his Canon 600mm f4 on a tripod to photograph birds in the mangroves.  “Whatever it takes to get the shot….. within reason”    Photo by Zafer Kizilkaya.

                  Here is a recent interview I did for a Singapore newspaper. Since I get many questions about my background and my photography, I thought I would share it here. Hope you enjoy it!

                  1. What is your earliest memory of travelling? How did it inspire you?

                  My earliest memories of traveling are going by ship across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Japan with my family when I was 4 years old in 1965. My parents lived and worked in Japan when I was growing up, so we traveled a lot back and forth from Asia to the States and to other places my whole childhood. Traveling was just normal to me growing up. I think it inspired me in the sense that I never felt there were any limits to going anywhere in the world. All you have to do is make up your mind, find a way to get that plane (or boat) ticket, and go.

                  1. When did you realize you had an interest in photography?

                  I started playing around with an old camera of my Dad’s when I was in 7th or 8th grade, and I bought my own camera when I was in high school. So my interest started early. I just kept getting more serious about my photography as time went on.

                  1. Have you gone completely digital? Are there differences?

                  Yes, I’ve been completely digital since late 2004. A big advantage to digital is getting immediate feedback in the field. This makes a huge difference since I am often in remote areas where I can’t process film. The other huge advantage has been the improvement in low-light performance of newer digital cameras. This helps me out a lot because I like to shoot animals early and late in the day and am often working in the rain forest where light is very limited.

                  1. You like going to wild locations. What draws you to these places?

                  I love exploring the little known areas of the world. It is exciting to go to places few people have been, and to see things few people get to see. It is the opportunity for real exploration that I find the most rewarding, and scientific research projects and photography are the ways that I get to do these things.

                  1. What is challenging about getting to those places? How much do you rely on local guides?

                  The most extremely remote places can be very expensive to get to because almost by definition, they don’t have good access or transportation available. So raising funding for expensive transportation like helicopters or boat charters can sometimes be the first challenge. With regard to local guides, it varies tremendously by location. Some of the most remote locations, like uninhabited islands, or remote mountains, have no inhabitants and thus no local guides. We go in with a small team and are on our own. In other cases, when local residents are present, I rely on them a lot. I definitely try to take advantage of local knowledge and so I am often hiring local guides to help out when they are available.

                  1. Patience is probably a virtue when it comes to shooting wildlife. How long have you had to wait out a shot?

                  Patience is definitely very important. It’s all a matter of motivation and if you want to be doing it. I can go crazy in a 30-minute traffic jam. But I can sit in a blind all day to try to capture an image of a unique bird-of-paradise display. I’ll say it again, it’s all about your drive and motivation. I’m not sure exactly, but I’m pretty sure I have put in more than eighty hours in a blind over a ten day period for some shots.

                  1. When you go to remote locations, how much time do you spend there? What are conditions like usually?

                  It is really variable and depends on what I am after and how easy it is to go back. But for example, when I got dropped off by helicopter in the remote Foja Mountains of Papua, Indonesia with a team of biologists, we stayed for three weeks before the helicopter came back to this completely road-less area to pick us up. We camped in a very wet rain forest. It rained every day, and was incredibly muddy. It wasn’t exactly a picnic.

                  1. What has kept your interest in photography buoyant?

                  The thing about photography is that you can never take a perfect picture. There is always room for improvement, something to strive for, and to keep trying to get better. With gear improving all the time, there are always new ways to make images that weren’t possible before. And in my field of documenting rare and endangered wildlife, there are so many important stories to tell. I will never run out of subjects or ideas.

                  1. What are some things an aspiring photographer should do?

                  Here are some suggestions:

                  – Find out what you really love photographing, and put a lot of effort into that. Passion for your subject matter and for photography is so important, that you need to make sure you discover what you have a passion for.

                  – Realize that you can do a lot with even the simplest photographic equipment. The creative process of conceiving and capturing the photograph is more important than the equipment. So don’t get obsessed with gear or always having the latest. Camera’s and lenses are our tools of the trade, but the photographer makes the pictures. So work with what you can afford and put your energy into developing your craft, not your equipment collection.

                  10. What is the biggest lesson you have learned through all your travelling and photography?

                  There is a big world out there! There are still plenty of poorly known places and animals to photograph and make discoveries about. What I am saying is, this idea that the world has been explored, and there is nothing left to discover is just completely wrong. For example, I pursued a project for many years to photograph all 39 species of Birds of Paradise in the wild for the first time. Even in 2011, there were members of this famous group of birds for which the male courtship behavior had never been described, and few if any photographs existed in the wild. There are countless species, especially in the tropical regions of the world, both in the rain forests and underwater, that remain poorly known and poorly photographed. So go out and explore the world. That’s one of the greatest things about being a photographer. Your camera becomes your passport for exploration.

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                    Postcards from Borneo

                    The Laman/Knott family watching an orangutan in Gunung Palung.  Tim Laman, Cheryl Knott, Jessica Laman and Russell Laman.  Photo by Trevor Frost.

                    The Laman/Knott family watching an orangutan in Gunung Palung. Tim Laman, Cheryl Knott, Jessica Laman and Russell Laman. Photo by Trevor Frost.

                    The final installment of our summer “Postcards from Borneo” blog series on the Nataional Geographic PROOF Blog has just gone live.  Check it out HERE.

                    In this post, my wife, orangutan researcher Cheryl Knott, wraps things up from her perspective.  It has been an amazing summer working in the field with my wife and her team of students and research assistants in Gunung Palung National Park, in Indonesian Borneo.  As we have for many years, we also took our kids Russell and Jessica with us and they had a great time at this unusual summer camp.  This year, National Geographic invited all four of us to contribute stories to their PROOF blog about our adventures.

                    Here are links to all six of the blog posts our family members published on National Geographic:

                    Postcards from Borneo:  A Family Adventure Begins Anew (by Tim Laman)

                    Postcards from Borneo:  The Boat Trip Upriver (by Russell Laman)

                    Postcards from Borneo:  Chasing Orangutans (by Jessica Laman)

                    Postcards from Borneo:  The World’s Stinkiest (But Best) Fruit  (by Russell Laman)

                    Postcards from Borneo:  The Best Swimming Hole in Gunung Palung  (by Jessica Laman)

                    Postcards form Borneo:  My Rainforest Family  (by Cheryl Knott)

                     

                    To learn more about research and conservation of orangutans in Borneo, visit  www.saveGPorangutans.org.

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