Mountain Gorilla Photography Tips & Advice
Mountain Gorilla Photography – Uganda & Rwanda mountain gorilla photography
Mountain Gorilla trekking in on every travelers bucket-list, bring back great photos of these gorgeous creatures is every travelers desire. However, mountain gorilla photography is possibly more difficult than trekking up the mountains to see them.
In today’s article, i am going to present our thoughts on the best places to get the best shots as well as discuss the possible challenge we or our past clients have faced during their mountain Gorilla Photography.
Mountain Gorilla Photography can be a wonderful but yet frustrating experience. In our opinion, Uganda and Rwanda are the safest places to trek mountain gorillas. However, each country carries its own positives and negatives about the whole mountain gorilla Photography experience. Gorillas are found in other countries too but we are sticking to Uganda & Rwanda as the safest Gorilla Countries with well organised gorilla Habituation and trekking programs.
Usually travelers start out from a base camp or lodge and hike through incredibly thick forests. It is not uncommon to traverse through mud and be rained on quite a bit. The hikes can range from a flat walk for 45 minutes to 12 hours across uneven, difficult terrain, while encountering stinging nettles and possibly bugs. However, the journey is completely worth it to spend time with the mountain gorillas.
Rwanda provides the most easily accessible gorilla experience only 3 hours drive from Kigali. However the permits in Rwanda cost US$750. Gorilla Trekking being the main draw card for Rwanda tourism, the Rwanda gorilla trip is very “touristic” and is characterized by large numbers of tourist coming to indulge in Gorilla Trekking. This has made gorillas in Rwanda more Habituated and very photogenically friendlier.
Uganda unlike Rwanda offers a more physically challenging gorilla trekking experience which involves trekking on uneven slippery terrain, trekkers & rangers hacking with machetes – your way through this thick forest. The drive to Bwindi from Entebbe Airport will last up-to 10 hours unless you opt to fly into Rwanda’s Kigali Airport and drive to Rushaga or Nkuringo areas of Bwindi which takes up-to 5 hours but is the most popular way to avoid the long drive especially if flying in only to see the gorillas. The drive from Entebbe can easily be broken into halves if you are also visiting other National parks in Uganda – this require more than just 03 Days for gorilla trekking.
Trekking mountain gorillas in either Uganda or Rwanda is a similar process – Once you get to the gorillas, you will be allowed up-to 01 hour viewing and taking photographs unless you opt to indulge in Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda which is a full day trek / 4 hours viewing and photographing gorillas. Gorilla Habituation experience only happens in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest National Parks’ southern areas of Rushaga and Nkuringo both just a mere 5 hours drive if you fly through Rwanda. Flying into Rwanda makes the drive to either Rushaga or Nkuringo much shorter than driving 10 hours from Entebbe Airport.
While trekking mountain gorillas, gorilla behavior does differ so be prepared for anything from a mock charge. However, often they will relax and just sit around and munch off the vegetation around them, cracking and breaking bushes around, giving you the opportunity to get up-close and personal with them. Sometimes they do climb trees or you could spend over an hour chasing after them through thick forest. Because of the uncertainties associated with mountain gorilla movement and behavior for the day, we do recommend 02 days of gorilla trekking or alternatively you could instead book a full day /4 hours viewing gorilla Habituation experience, if possible, since you never know what you will get.
Picking up on the main topic; mountain gorilla photography, we recommend that you carry one lightweight multi -functional lens with a good zoom to avoid having to change lens as this would not only waste your precious 01 hour viewing time or worse you risk dampness getting into the “heart” of your camera(s) – for this cause i would recommend the lightweight Canon Super-shot SX60. The Canon SX 60 is a very affordable camera costing about US$499.00. The SX60 HS has a 65X optical zoom which gives accurate colour, white balance and well-controlled noise through most of the ISO range.
For actual shooting modes the SX60 HS has a standard complement of manual modes (program auto, manual, as well as shutter- and aperture-priority), a full auto mode, and several creative modes. There’s also a hybrid auto that takes a short movie clip and finishes it up with a still image, Canon’s Creative Shot which applies several pre-set creative filters, and scene modes for particularly tricky situations like birthday parties and fireworks.
The SX60 also includes a dedicated video mode, allowing for some finer control over specific video settings. As we mentioned above there’s also a 3.5mm mic port in addition to the hot shoe, though there’s no headphone jack for monitoring audio.
However, in the event that you are a professional photographer, you may carry all your equipment with you to your gorilla trekking or habituation experience bu t be sure you will need at least 02 (two) local porter to help with the gear and also give you a Hand during your trek through the forest. We like to stress that taking or hiring a porter does not signify that you are physically unfit but you surely need help from people that have grown here and possibly trekked this terrain all their lives. better still, read our post ” Why use a Porter for gorilla trekking” as this will give you better insight.
My last advice regarding mountain gorilla photography, is that don’t fight for camera space with other trekkers. Relax and enjoy being out in the nature and you never know what comes your way. Better still, if you are passionately interested in mountain gorilla photography, we recommend that you rather take part in the Newly introduced gorilla habituation experience in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. Gorilla Habituation only admits 04 (four) tourists joining a team of researchers on a Full Day gorilla experience – the best small group mountain gorilla photography moment you may ever experience
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