Mountain gorilla photography tips – Great Adventure Safaris introduces you some of the useful tips about photographing of Mountain Gorillas from our Natural Photography expert. We provide in-depth advice, to wildlife photography tutorials. Whether you are a seasoned photographer or just getting started with a point-and-shoot, you will want to read these useful tutorials before heading into the rain forest in search of Golden monkeys, Chimpanzees and majestic Mountain Gorillas.
Encountering Mountain Gorillas feels like a unique privilege. With the estimate number of close to1080 Mountain Gorillas remaining, they are endangered primate species. The world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas live in three countries spanning four National Parks of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On our Mountain Gorilla Photography, you will be photographing the animals in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which is home to the largest group of Mountain Gorillas. Observing them here is a truly a humbling experience. This is the most emotionally challenging and rewarding wildlife photo shoot to experience. The intimate glimpse we gain into the family lives of these most human of animals is something you will never forget, especially when you have insightful images to bring back home.
You will set out on our Gorilla trek in search for the animals; you will be briefed on what to do once we find the Mountain Gorillas. Do not try to stare down a Gorilla or tower over them in height, both are seen as threatening behaviour. Just crouch down, act subservient and avoid prolonged eye contact and you will be welcomed as one of the family.
You will also have to keep a distance of seven meters from the Mountain Gorillas, to protect them from human germs and disease transmission. “However, sometimes in fact almost always some Gorillas will voluntarily come much closer than this. Do not be afraid, as they are gentle as a rule, and it is a thrill and a privilege to be so close to these beautiful, intelligent animals.
Being so close to the Mountain Gorillas will provide incredible photographic opportunities. To make the most of these, it’s good to be prepared. Great Adventure Safaris offers some useful tips on how to get the best photographic results:
Great Adventure Safaris suggests that you bring an SLR camera and a range of lenses. Given how close we are to the Mountain Gorillas, you will find the 70 – 200mm f2.8 very useful, although wider habitat shots from a 24-70mm are also very effective, and detail shots at 300 or even 400mm give amazing close ups, especially when shooting through foliage. Faster lenses (those that allow a wider aperture and have lower f-stop values) will work best here, as you will often be shooting in cloudy conditions and in the shadow of undergrowth and trees. They will also give a shallower depth of field and therefore a more pleasing blur to the surrounding foliage.
A decent quality digital SLR is the best tool for the job in most wildlife photography and photographing the mountain gorillas is no exception. If you are lucky enough to own a full frame SLR then this is best due to the higher performance in low light situations that you are likely to find yourself in. However, that is not to say that a cropped sensor will not do a decent job for you, in fact for most people the performance would be more than acceptable.
It is worth noting that on a cropped sensor SLR your zoom lenses will be extended depending on the size of the sensor. A 1.6x sensor for example will multiply the focal length of your lenses by that factor, this can be especially useful for other parts of your safari, for example, a 200mm lens on a 1.6x sensor would be equivalent to a 320mm zoom (200 x 1.6 = 320), could be handy.
When selecting lenses many people elect for long telephoto zooms when travelling on safari. While these are often the best tool for photography when you are on safari, they can be a bit too much when visiting the Mountain Gorillas. The reason for this is that, ideally you should be around 7 metres from the Gorillas, which is significantly closer than you are likely to be to a leopard in a tree.
If somebody else was paying for it and carrying it I would love to go with 2 x Canon 1dx bodies fitted with Canon EOS battery grips, a medium telephoto such as a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM coupled with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. But as this blog and trips are based in reality, we went with none of those things whatsoever. It is all well and good saying that this is best or that is the best, but i shot exclusively on a Canon 50D with a Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3, which is significantly cheaper, and lighter.
Try not to get to too hung up on equipment and spend some time learning how to use your equipment and this will get you a lot further than just spending money on flashy equipment.
At Great Adventure Safaris we are wildlife specialists, not led by commissions but instead by putting people in the right place at the right time. When you get in touch you will discover what makes our trips so different. Our award winning Mountain Gorilla Photography safaris can’t be replicated by other companies. A destination specialist will be in touch; we don’t do hard sales but you will get plenty of inspiration and advice, as well as help creating your next trip.