I have travelled north from Kigali to the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda six times over the last 10 years and I have generally failed to return home with anything that does justice to Africa’s “Jurassic Park”. ere are many reasons - including, of course, my own inept- itude.
For one, these magni cent mountain gorillas are only accessible in mid-morning and therefore if the sun is out, the jungle is not an ideal canvas on which to work - it’s all streaks and a nasty cocktail of overexposed and underexposed. More importantly, it is di cult to have a sense of proximity and a sense of place in the same image - the jungle can be exceptionally dense and this works against o ering a wider contextual narrative. It does not pay to be greedy, rather it pays to show common sense.
irdly, the experience is so other-worldly that it takes time to work out what to do with the camera - and every cameraman, no matter who they may work for, only has an hour in which to work. ink- ing time is limited in front of a troop of 22 or more gorillas.
So, before I arrived on Monday, a few decisions had already been taken. We would go when the chance of cloud cover was best and we would focus on the Silverbacks. Most importantly, I knew there was no point in deciding prior to the hike what lenses to take, as we had no idea of the topography in which the trackers would nd the gorillas, but I knew I could leave some gear halfway up the moun- tain and then work with whatever the layout dictated. In other words, this year the goal is to be spontaneous and not prescriptive.
Yesterday, this worked. e vegetation was so dense and messy that wide angles were out. On the other hand, there was cloud cover and this o ered the chance of a tight portrait of Gihinga - a 32 year old Silverback.
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Image: 56" x 52" (143 cm x 132 cm)
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