After unusually heavy rains in November and December, the Da Nang region was hit by massive flooding – which unfortunately also cost human lives and the Son Tra Mountain, home of the red-shanked langurs was also affected. Landslides blocked the access to the only road and so it was another little adventure for us to visit the beautiful monkeys a third time this year.
Of course we met again all the nice and pretty “crazy” local photographers who spend all their free time on the mountain. Since a drive on the mountain through the closed road was not or only partially possible, this time we also used scooters to go in search of the monkeys (more on that in the upcoming little video …). The mountain with its many extremely steep passages and the always wet and slippery road is certainly not a mountain for beginners on the scooter. Luckily we knew from the previous trips Vu and Qua two local taxi drivers who were so nice and took us up the mountain in their free time.
Fortunately, the population of the dress monkeys is currently stable, but unfortunately the paradise is seriously threatened. A Vietnamese amusement park operator has been planning a cable car to the mountain – a disaster!! You can imagine the crowds that will turn the mountain into a garbage dump and, in terms of monkeys, into a zoo. Currently, the project is at least officially stopped by the authorities, and none of the locals I’ve talked to want the cable car, but it remains to be feared that the ubiquitous corruption will take its course. I have begun to call attention to various conservation organizations in the hope that in case of a permit for building the cable car it comes to international pressure, because we need to protect the highly threatened and red-listed monkeys and the mountain.
I do not know if I mentioned it somewhere, but the monkey's favorite pastime is pretty easy to describe - eat, sleep, eat, sleep ... The monkeys can stretch their bodies incredibly and with their longer fingers, I estimate almost twice as long as humans fingers, they easily get the leaves or petioles. That's right, the monkeys only eat petioles on some plants and discard the leaves, presumably some of the leaves are difficult to digest or most of the nutrients are in the petioles and not in the leaves. It is always fun to watch when it rains leaves from the treetops.
In the previous articles, I had already mentioned, photographing the beautiful monkeys is not as easy as onemight suspect. The light conditions on the mountain change fast, you have to deal permanently with back light, clouds, shadows, extreme sun, rain or wind that moves the leaves and branches in front of the animals. But not only for the exposure system also for the autofocus the monkeys are a challenge, you can often not adjust the settings as fast as the action changes. Incidentally, on this tour I have produced 250GB of data, especially the movies in 4K DCI with 50fps generates gigantic amounts of data that must be processed, which unfortunately increases the demands on the hardware for postprocessing.