JUDGE AND JURY
Finding a silverback gorilla high up in the volcanoes in Rwanda in a position offering a sense of place and a wider narrative, is a tough ask. It’s effectively a numbers game in that the more times you make the trek, the greater the chance that an opportunity will arise. Until Wednesday of this week, I had not had that break and my records are proof of that a er ten trips. ere have been ten encounters of course - the rangers and trackers ensure that no trek goes unrewarded - but they have always been in dense forest with little or no backdrop.
Some of the guides and the lead ranger knew my frustration at the lack of depth I was finding and suggested a troop, the Umubano Gorilla Family, that was quite far west of the group of volcanoes. I agreed to give it a go but was curious when I was told that I was the only one to be making the trip this day.
When we set o from the village of Bisate with my guide and porters at 7.30 am, it quickly dawned on me why I was alone - this was going to be one hell of a climb - and we were already at 9,000 . Normally the wall crossing to the rainforest is about 20 minutes from a drop off point and on Wednesday it took 90 minutes - all uphill. For mountaineers this would be a piece of cake, but I would be the first to admit that I am no mountaineer.
Anyhow, it was good for me and when we reached the wall and looked up to the rainforest, I could see why the area had potential - there were plenty of ridges and look out points. It was still dense, but there seemed more room to breathe in places.
I left most of my gear with the porters and took just one camera and my trusted 58mm lens. I wanted to roll the dice a little and also be nimble. When we reached the troop, they were on the move and I focused on the lead Silverback. And so it was that I got my moment. e perspective was exactly what I was looking for.
I want to thank the team that looked after me on the way up and indeed on the way down. This certainly was a team effort - it’s “no country for old men”!
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LARGE: 52" x 72" (132 cm x 183 cm)
STANDARD: 33" x 46" (84 cm x 11.7 cm)
LARGE: Edition of 12
STANDARD: Edition of 12