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Virungas Silverback

Virungas Silverback
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-12-24
Categories: Mammals
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-02-12 10:34
Viewed: 5843
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
There are two remaing populations of Mountain Gorillas. One living in the Virunga Volcanoes, which are split between Rwanda, Congo and Uganda and a smaller population living in the wonderfully named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.

In Rwanda there are a number of habituated groups, but visiting is expensive as a permit costs around US$300 and there is talk of it going up to US£500. Groups are limited to 8 people and visits to one hour. To get the day I wanted I booked 18 months in advance.

The gorillas took about two and a half hours to locate, walking boots are essential as it is very muddy (one in my group only had trainers and slipped and fell a number of times. Similarly long sleeves and gloves are a good idea - many plants are spiney, but the tree nettles are deadly - I got stung through my shirt. A light rain jacket is also a good idea - it is wet! A waterproof bag for your gear is also essential. Porters are available and I would recommend using them - it puts money (US$5) into the local economy and although your equipment may not be too heavy it will be after a couple of hours clambering through the forest!

This was a really lucky shot. Most of my pictures were taken at between 800 and 1600 as it was dull and (in the forest) dark. We had left the troop and reached a clearing where several females and young were feeding on grass. I changed my speed to 100 and lifted my camera as the Silverback rushed into the clearing - I literally banged off several shots. I have adjusted the levels, sharpened and cloned out some distracting sedge heads on his arm.

I visited the Susa Group - the silverback here, is reputedly the largest in the Park.

lovenature, pvs, viv, extramundi, vanderschelden, Watershed, RAP, Adanac, coasties, sandpiper2 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Wow! what a magnificent stance you've captured of this rare Silverback. The lighting turned out well considering the cloudy day. Nicely composed with the Gorilla being the POV. Well done.
TFS Janice

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-02-12 10:44]

What a lucky person you are. I visited a group in Bwindi. I know how very impressive the visit to this gorillas is. I only saw a part of the silverback, hiding between the bushes.
You made a wonderful photo. He's looking at you! Amazing shot.


  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2007-02-12 11:00]

Hello James,
What a very nice experience for you to see the gorillas. It is very special because you can see that he has eye contact with you. And you can also see the power of the gorilla. Great job. Nice POV and BG.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2007-02-12 11:03]

Hi James,

A superb shot of this Gorilla,well captured with good eye contact,the colors and details are amazing,I understand this must have been an exiting experience,I liked the note as well,TFS


This is really treknature.
Thanks for giving us the chance of sharing a bit your experience.
It is an impressing animal, beautifully captured.
Very nice work, congratulations.

Hi James,
Most interesting picture.
I read your note more than once; a very good one.

Hi James,
That's an impressive shot! I could easily imagine that's an amazing experience. Very well composed and POV. The colours and details are excellente. Well done James!

PS Very interesting note ;-)

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2007-02-12 15:14]

Hello James , Fantastic shot what a big boy , great pose colours details and his eyes he looking to you very good ,tfs Greetings Teunie .

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2007-02-12 15:27]
  • [2]

Razor sharp capture James with a imposing specimen.

I like it a lot: composition, POV, DOF, focus, sharpness, color, lighting, background, framing and notes

I don't like it: nothing to quarrel.

Really a grandiose image with technical and aesthetic squality. Congratulations and greetings... Ricardo

Hi James

This is an excellent shot. I don't recall seeing a Silverback on here before, so congrats! Very good eye contact made here. :-)

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-02-13 1:50]

What an amazing capture, James.
It must have been a thrill to see such a beautiful specimen out in the wild.
An impressive beast with a very expression face and stance.
Good details and POV.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-02-13 8:08]

Hello James,
What a chance of a life time you sharing with us with this superb capture. The composition, colors and detail are all amazing, thank you so much.
Points tomorrow.

Hi James.
Wow. You deserve a smiley just for enduring all that, not to mention a great pic. A really wonderful capture of a really unique animal. Thanks for bringing it to us.
Regards, Steve.

This is a very nice shot of the silverback out in the open. You are very lucky it came out of the forest. Thank you for sharing this great capture. :)

Excellent shot, though I prefer the 2nd one.
excellent note and good advice about the porters I think.
Regardless of your tribulations, what an experience. to be with a gorilla in the wild, I wish.

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