Being one of our closest relatives makes taking pictures of gorillas quite exciting. Everyone should go gorilla trekking at least once in their lives, despite the fact that many people have ethical concerns about it. The only reliable source of revenue for their preservation and conservation is gorilla tourism. If you leave them in the wild unattended, they may become targets for poaching, pet trade, and habitat destruction. In order to find the primates, gorilla tracking means travelling far into Africa’s jungles. Because a team of advance trackers was sent earlier to determine their precise location, finding them is 100% guaranteed. The Guide and Rangers moving with tourists will be in constant communication with the advance trackers in order to know the best route to use. Once you find the gorillas, the Rangers will study their mood before allowing tourists to start taking photos and videos.
Every traveler who signs up for a gorilla tour aspires to get good pictures of the creatures. One of our closest cousins is the gorilla. In the forests of Bwindi, Mgahinga, Virunga, and Volcanoes National Park, only 1000 mountain gorillas remain. It is crucial to snap excellent pictures of the primates in order to share them on social media with your friends, family, and the rest of the globe. If you work as a professional photographer or are a member of a film crew, you might be interested in reading our articles on gorilla trekking with drones as well as gorilla filmmaking.
Photographing gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda
You must first find gorillas in order to take their pictures. We hope you chose a fascinating and appropriate gorilla group to track. In Uganda, 10 gorilla groups are habituated, 10 are in Rwanda, and 8 are in the Congo. Every gorilla group is unique and has a different mix of people. Some gorilla populations have more individual animals, more silverbacks, more nursing mothers, and more young. In order for your tour operator to make arrangements for you to monitor a gorilla troop of your choice, you must inform them of your preferences in advance. These days, it is more challenging to track a group of you’re choosing because gorilla groups are now assigned based on age and overall tracker fitness. However, influential tour companies can still ensure that you get a larger family or an easier trek.
Depending on where the group is located and the general landscape, photographing gorillas can be straightforward, challenging, or even aggravating. For unskilled photographers, the tropical rains, dense trees, and resulting low light conditions may also be a difficulty. It’s also vital to keep in mind that gorillas are often reserved primates, especially the adults. They don’t sustain direct eye contact for very long, so you’ll need to be creative and utilize a good camera if you want to capture a range of facial expressions. While the majority of people want to capture clear photographs that show the gorillas from every angle, it’s equally vital to take the time to observe and appreciate the amazing experience.
Note: Never use flash photos when taking photos of gorillas as you will also find out from our articles covering the gorilla trekking rules and gorilla charging. Gorillas are generally uncomfortable with flush cameras and could get irritated or even charge if you are unlucky.
Here are some things to consider when planning a gorilla photography safari: –
Gorillas reside in deep forests and occasionally on the slopes of mountains. There may be many obstacles in the way of your family portrait, such as leaves, vines, and tree brunches. Some mountain gorilla populations reside in high-altitude regions. This is especially true if you intend to go gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. In order to have less distractions, you must be well-positioned.
Gear and protective equipment: Going prepared is crucial because of the challenging terrain in the jungle. Rain falls in tropical jungles even when it’s dry out. As a result, you need make sure that your cameras and other relevant equipment are protected. A rain-proof bag will be useful in this regard and assist shield your cameras from harm. Also, don’t forget to pack adequate memory cards and camera batteries.
Telephoto Zoom Lens: The environment in which the primates will be found is unpredictable. As they forage, gorillas occasionally wander from one location to another. You can take pictures of gorillas even when they are far away with a telephoto lens on your camera. For close-up photography, lenses in the 200mm to 300mm range work well, but we advice using ones in the 400mm range to capture sharp pictures no matter how close you are to the monkeys. You might want to think about X-factor Lenses if you want to take images that are unusual or distinctive from the norm. Professional photographers who want to create spectacular photographs to sell or share online frequently use X-factor lenses.
Consider Shooting on burst mode: This is crucial if you wish to photograph adult gorillas’ facial expressions. A gorilla’s facial expression can change in just a few seconds. You must take multiple photos at once in order to acquire the greatest pictures. To capture the best possible images, the camera must be properly set up. It’s critical to keep in mind that mountain gorillas are large animals with black coats. If certain cameras are not properly positioned, the dark clothing and green surroundings can confuse the light emanating from them. In order to prevent overexposure, set your camera properly.
Go with a second camera: If for some reason the first one doesn’t work, this will be useful. Make sure the second camera is a different kind so that you may compare the results from two different lenses.
Camera Weight: Travel with a lightweight camera if at all possible. Depending on where the gorilla family you are tracking is located, gorilla tracking can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete. If you have very heavy cameras, don’t worry. For a nominal price of around $15, porters are available at every gorilla park to assist visitors with any heavy baggage and equipment.
Other things to consider when planning for a gorilla photography safari
While taking photos of mountain gorillas, it is always important to follow instructions from park Guides. Remember the gorilla trekking rules such as keeping a distance of at least 7 meters, avoiding prolonged direct eye contact and standing taller than the primates when they get close to you.
Remember that if you choose the normal gorilla trekking, you will only get an hour to take pictures of the gorillas. Go for the more expensive gorilla habituation session, where visitors can view the primates for 4 hours, if you want to spend more time with them. Only in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is it feasible to become accustomed to being around gorillas. There is a drawback to the Bwindi gorilla habituation experience. You would be following gorilla groups that are still getting used to you. It might be more difficult to get too close without waking the primates up.
Mountain gorillas are more docile and approachable than other large apes, making them ideal for photography. As they browse on the forest flows, they tend to remain in one spot for a while because they are not as mobile as chimpanzees. You can go closer to habituated mountain gorillas than you can to most other primates. In spite of this, you must keep your distance from the closest gorilla at least 7 meters. Once you’re in the gorillas’ presence, it can be very challenging to carry out this. It could be hard to stay away if they become close to you.
Don’t forget to bring a raincoat and reliable hiking boots to handle the challenging terrain. Keep in mind that the dense rain forest is where you will be looking for the primates. Travel during the dry seasons if you can. Between December and March and June and August are the dry seasons. East and Central Africa’s busiest travel times are now. Since this is when most visitors schedule their safaris in Africa, you should reserve your gorilla tour as soon as you can.