Mountain Gorillas, Uganda (above and below). Photographs by Mehmet Ozbalci.
Canon EOS7D, 100-400mm lens, f5.6 @ 1/160 second, ISO 3200

Okay, so there isn’t any mist in Mehmet Ozbalci’s gorilla photographs. Sorry! But there is something about them that is really important: gesture. Or expression, gesture and posture.

With modern cameras, it’s easy to get the focus right, but it’s still up to us to frame the photograph and press the shutter button at the right time. And this is a skill that wildlife photographers develop over time and which other photographers can compensate for by taking lots of frames.

If you’ve taken the trouble to visit a location like this, there’s little point in my mind just taking one or two shots. Rather, we should be taking one or two hundred shots in the heat of the moment and then spending a little quiet time during the editing sessions to work out which the best frames are. Usually it’s very obvious and it isn’t because the focus or the exposure is right, it’s because the subject has an interesting expression, pose or gesture.

Writes Mehmet, “Mountain gorillas live only in three countries in Eastern Africa: Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. These were photographed in Uganda while on a gorilla trekking excursion. There is a whole family of gorillas, from the Silverback (the head of the family) to the females and babies. Their behaviour is fascinating to photograph.”

Mehmet notes that close contact with the gorillas is limited to one hour, but that it is more than enough for photography. “The trek is very well organised. It is escorted by experienced rangers who are making every effort, cutting bushes and branches so we can view and photograph the gorillas easily. Porters can also be arranged to carry our equipment, during the trek, if required.”

I’m really looking forward to our time with the gorillas next year and the 100-400mm lens that Mehmet used for these photographs seems to be an ideal choice, allowing you to frame tightly or include the surrounding jungle as you choose.

And take lots of photographs to get just that right expression, pose or gesture.

If you’re interested in visiting Uganda (and/or Kenya), why not come along with Mehmet and me in June/July 2024! Spaces are still available. Click here for details...