Of recent, many travelers travel to Uganda and Rwanda to track the endangered mountain gorillas that thrive in the Virunga National Park. Many travelers interested in photography always opt for gorilla safaris while visiting these few surviving homes to the mountain gorillas. If you are looking for a gorilla photography adventure, here are the recommended guidelines that you should follow to enjoy your tour and return safe and stable.
On reaching the gorillas, spend 1 hour with the mountain gorillas wisely as it is the maximum time allowed while taking some memorable photographs.
- Bring the best type of camera required in taking photos within the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
- Fast lenses are needed in order to take clear pictures since the gorillas are always in areas without direct sunlight. However sometimes mountain gorillas can be found in places with direct sun light. Most clearer photos have been taken around ISO800, f2.8-5 and shutter speed of 1/10-1/240
- Though most travelers prefer to bring a monopod it is not easy to use them within the forests. During your trek into the wild, mountain gorillas normally sorround travelers moving all around making it difficult to use tripods. You are also advised to maintain a 7m buffer distance between the people and the gorillas.The monopod takes a little while to set up, the space can often be cramped as you will have 8 tourists and the guides all stuck in the jungle and the gorillas may be in a pose position that you may want for just a short period of time. During the gorilla trek, shot hand held cameras or occasionally with a monopod when the gorillas started resting after eating.
- On the type of less it is advised to use a D90 (1.5x crop sensor) and 70-200mm VR lens. On our last gorilla trekking trip, the destination guide was more strict on the distance between the travelers and the gorillas however it could reduce from 2-5meters since the gorillas where mobile. This made her 70-200 mm lens on a Nikon crop sensor some how long but a bit ok for most of her photos.
- A zoom lens is better since it becomes too difficult while taking steps forward or backwards while in the jungle.
- Due to the little light within the forest, it is tricky to get a clear view of the gorillas given the little light in the jungle as well as the dark colour of the gorillas, so travelers are advised to keep checking while shooting.
- The first sight on mountain gorillas is really amazing. ”I couldn’t hesitate the urge to blaze away with the camera taking memorable photos (particularly knowing I only had 1 hour with them), however later on I found it was nice to sometimes just stop taking photos and enjoy the little time with these beautiful creatures, watching their behavior e.g eating, playing and grooming each other.”
- It is not easy to aim at one or two gorillas at a time so as to get the best shot. The hour didn’t last for so long and by all means she took the most incredible photos to treasure and also show to her friends.
Hope the above tips and experience will help you get the best shots while tracking the mountain gorillas in the wild! Don’t miss trekking the gorillas as it is the best experience for a life time!