This past few weeks I have been lucky enough to be taken through Sabah, on the island of Borneo, by a local guide named Eddie. What was great about the trip, apart from our guide, is that everything was done the local way. From staying with the village uncle, learning to dance like the tribes women to pounding our own rice for the night meal. We experienced some amazing things including the laying of eggs by the giant sea turtles who always come back to the same stretch of beach. To jungle cruise’s where we saw orangutans, crocodiles, kingfisher birds and  probiscis monkeys just to name a few. I could go on and on about Sabah, Borneo, the place is amazing!

This ancient rainforest is the oldest in the world and can be found at the base of Mount Kinabalu on the Island of Borneo. Due to its height and position during the ice age 100,000 years ago it was able to thrive and is the home to thousands of flowering plants, trees, birds and mammals. Some of my favourites were the pygmy squirrels and the world’s smallest orchid, which required a magnifying glass to admire its beauty.


Editing this image was fun as I was balancing my priorities between creating a modern and lively HDR approach with the classical way of editing a river scene like this. Why I had this back and forth between the two styles is because of the lush nature of this ancient and world’s oldest rainforest. As you can seem its teeming with a variety of plants species and often the photographer kind of brings your attention to the flowing stream of water by creating a dark vignette around the edge of the image. But I wanted to create an image where you don’t just want to look at the stream but explore this wonderful ancient rainforest as well.


I used an ND8 filter on my 28-70mm lens on the Sony A7r to allow myself to take a long exposure, 8 seconds, even though it was the middle of the day. I also shot an underexposed image to bring out any missing details into the highlights using photoshop in post-processing. I was able to recover details in the shadows using luminance masking techniques. See Photo details for exposure times.


– On1 Photosuite –  a complete collection of photo editing software from OnOne

– Topaz Adjust 5 – is a great Filter program with a variety of choices, 15% discount on all Topaz software use discount code LukeZemePhotography

– On1 Perfect Effects – An amazing Filter program to stylise your images. Comes as a standalone filter program which can also be launched from Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture.

– Adobe Photoshop CC  – used to layer, mask, make adjusments plus much much more.


Thanks, if you have any questions or would like to leave a comment do so below. 


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Sony A7r


Sony FE 28-70mm

Focal Length




Shutter Speed

4.0 & 8.0 second exposures



HDR info

Luminance masking




4:13 pm


Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Borneo

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2 Comments on "PHOTO OF THE DAY- Deep in the Rainforest"

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aza alia

Great beutiful…i`m a malaysian.this is such a beutiful picture,,sabah is a great and peaceful place, thanks for visiting malaysia…kindly inviting you to come again soon..cuti-cuti máysia…:)

Luke Zeme

Thanks so much for the wonderful comment! I may be returning to Malaysia later in the year… have any recommendations for places to visit?


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