Laura’s Going To Hate This

Laura’s going to hate this post.  She is going to hate it because I went to see a National Geographic lecture at Roy Thompson Hall last night featuring Mattias Klum, one of the most preeminent nature photographers alive today.  She is going to hate it because it was her seat I was warming.  Laura double booked herself and was attending a lecture by Jared Diamond, author of “Guns, Germs and Steel” and “Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed” and offered the ticket up to me which I merrily and greedily accepted.

The lecture was fantastic.  Mattias (and I shall refer to him as such as I feel we would be friends, nay LOVERS should we ever meet.  And he ditched his wife.  And kids.  And wasn’t on assignment in remote parts of the world without me for fourteen months at a stretch.  Man, this fantasy is rapidly deteriorating) … anyway Mattias is an absolute delight.  He is obviously deeply passionate about his work and nature.  He is bursting with enthusiasm about his subjects and can barely contain himself when describing capturing the images of Asian lion cubs in their natural habitat, or photographing Borneo from the TOP of a hot air balloon, or hanging out of a helicopter to shoot glaciers in Iceland.  He is absolutely besotted with life and obviously more than slightly mad.  Plus he is adorable and has a kicky little Swedish accent to boot.

He has been shooting for National Geographic and various other publications for over 25 years and his experiences have been remarkable.  I cannot possibly do his work justice by stealing shots from Google Images.  Give yourself a treat and check out his website (

One of the last segments he discussed was photographing the rain forests and the indigenous animals of Borneo.  Borneo has a special place in my heart and hopefully my life history.  I was supposed to go to Camp Leakey on Indonesian Borneo to study Orangutans with Birute Galdikas back in 1997.  I borrowed the plane fare from my Mum, had the shots, took a leave of absence from work and got ready to go.  Then, almost to the minute a week prior to when I was supposed to step on my plane I was informed that the trip had been canceled because Borneo was on fire.  All of it.  They had to evacuate the camp and much of the island.  12.5 million acres of rain forest were lost.  In my life which has been fairly blissfully free of loss it remains truly one of the most devastating blows I have felt.  I don’t know when I will be back.  I don’t know if I will every see an orangutan in its natural habitat.  There are only about 54,500 orangs in Borneo (and tragically far fewer of their Sumatran cousins) and they are a solitary species.  I cling to the hope that I will and that something can be done to save them.

I believe the great apes and I have much in common:

There are a couple more National Geographic lectures coming up and I will do my damnedest to check them out too.  It truly was an evening well spent.  Sorry Laura.

One Response to “Laura’s Going To Hate This”

  1. Frank Deacrlo says:

    Thou cracketh me upeth-consistently. Not any easy thing to do.

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