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chriswhittier

Lying Eyes



A mountain gorilla's piercing eyes shine through the vegetation as he lies down to rest.

A mountain gorilla's piercing eyes shine through the vegetation as he lies down to rest.
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Awards

Winner in Through the Leaves Photo Challenge
Contest Finalist in Monkeys And Apes Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in The Animal Eye Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in The Black Color In Nature Photo Contest
Member Selection Award
Contest Finalist in Evocative Wildlife Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Social Exposure Photo Contest Vol 5
Winner in Beasty Eyes Photo Challenge
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Peer Award
Superb Composition
sbowden KoralC johnmailmacandrew pchiuppiphoto merleannwrightingle henrydemarco gaylepatrick +66
Top Choice
juliabrkl Shreyasshahane Ponychef bethanybarrows laurieleigh_0232 jnmayer Lpepz +43
Absolute Masterpiece
Jenath0906 ricklecompte Parallel nataliehall Morgado Sniperspawk9 62dingos +38
Magnificent Capture
carolcardillo EyesFocused Darleen garrychisholm PONGO_57 Gilleroo1 deusmoto +23
Outstanding Creativity
annayakovleva TasosTsoukalas saintgiggles DonnaTurner thecatsmeow Jovana_pinter Veija +15
All Star
lisaladouceur MIsabel noneoftheabove llowzz traceymcdonald shema terrysigns13 +3
Superior Skill
JmDreams Lauran Yayo frankfimbrez Rittik_97 nornots MikeW +1
Genius
johannesoehl

Submitted to Photo Contests

Top ClassTM

The Swag ProjectTop 10 class
The Swag ProjectTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 6Top 10 class
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 6Top 10 class week 1
Unique Sceneries Photo ContestTop 10 class
Unique Sceneries Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Unique Sceneries Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Wildlife Photo Contest 2018Top 10 class
Wildlife Photo Contest 2018Top 10 class week 1
Everything Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class
The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1Top 10 class
Everything Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1Top 10 class week 1
Explore Africa Photo ContestTop 10 class
Explore Africa Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
ViewBug Photography AwardsTop 10 class
ViewBug Photography AwardsTop 10 class week 1
Composing With Rule Of Thirds Photo ContestTop 10 class
Monkeys And Apes Photo ContestTop 10 class
Composing With Rule Of Thirds Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Monkeys And Apes Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 3Top 10 class
Monkeys And Apes Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 3Top 10 class week 2
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 3Top 10 class week 1
Wildlife Photo Contest 2017Top 10 class
Wildlife Photo Contest 2017Top 10 class week 1
World Photography Day Photo ContestTop 10 class
World Photography Day Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
World Photography Day Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 2Top 10 class
African Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class
African Wildlife Photo ContestTop 30 class week 2
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 2Top 10 class week 2
African Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 2Top 10 class week 1
I Love Photography Photo ContestTop 10 class
I Love Photography Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Monthly Pro Vol 28 Photo ContestTop 10 class
Monthly Pro Vol 28 Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Eye To Eye Portraits Photo ContestTop 10 class
Image of the Year Photo Contest 2016Top 10 class
Can You See Me Photo ContestTop 10 class
Image of the Year Photo Contest 2016Top 10 class week 1
Eye To Eye Portraits Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Can You See Me Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Eye To Eye Portraits Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Can You See Me Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
The Animal Eye Photo ContestTop 10 class
The Animal Eye Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
The Animal Eye Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Our Natural World Photo ContestTop 10 class
Composition Techniques Photo ContestTop 10 class
The Black Color In Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class
Our Natural World Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Composition Techniques Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
The Black Color In Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class
Composition Techniques Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
The Black Color In Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class week 2
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class week 1
Clash Of The Pros Photo ContestTop 10 class
Clash Of The Pros Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Clash Of The Pros Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class week 3
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Covers Photo Contest Vol 32Top 30 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 32Top 30 class week 2
Social Exposure Photo Contest Vol 5Top 10 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 32Top 20 class week 1
Social Exposure Photo Contest Vol 5Top 10 class week 3
Living Creatures Photo ContestTop 20 class
Living Creatures Photo ContestTop 10 class week 3
Freshmen 2016 Photo Contest Vol 2Top 30 class
Freshmen 2016 Photo Contest Vol 2Top 30 class week 2
Living Creatures Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 12Top 20 class
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 12Top 20 class week 3
Living Creatures Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Monthly Pro Vol 23 Photo ContestTop 20 class
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 12Top 20 class week 2
Monthly Pro Vol 23 Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 12Top 20 class week 1
Monthly Pro Vol 23 Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1

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14 Comments | Report
Merbert
 
Merbert September 02, 2016
What a special Photo!!! Well done and thanks for sharing. Would love to see them one day.
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier October 05, 2016
Thanks Merbert- it only takes a plane ticket...and $750 permit. I love your droplets.
p_eileenbaltz PRO
 
p_eileenbaltz September 16, 2016
Beautifully captured! Congratulations on your Challenge Win. :)
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier October 05, 2016
Thanks!
kimberlypinz
 
kimberlypinz October 04, 2016
I adore this shot. It evokes great emotion. One can see the soul through his eyes. Can't say enough.
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier October 05, 2016
Thanks Kimberly. Your gallery is great!
MikeW PRO+
 
MikeW October 31, 2016
Just lovely! Works so well in amoung the leaves
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier October 31, 2016
Thanks Mike. Your gallery is great and your portraits are inspirational to folks like me afraid to shoot them!
fionaanderson
 
fionaanderson December 04, 2016
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
fionaanderson
 
fionaanderson December 04, 2016
What exceptional beautiful images you take especially the wildlife, this photo is so moving. You capture the soul of the animal. You are an inspiration to an amateur wildlfe photographer like me. Fiona
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier December 04, 2016
Thanks Fiona!
Pamelabole PRO+
 
Pamelabole December 08, 2016
Wow....amazing capture....love the colors and those eyes!!! Congrats on being a Contest Finalist!! : )
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier December 09, 2016
Thanks Pamela.
Nayeefa
 
Nayeefa December 09, 2016
Hypnotic! Hats off to your photography!!
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier December 09, 2016
Thanks so much!
jamiesarkett
 
jamiesarkett December 30, 2016
Congrats - beautiful image
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier December 31, 2016
Thanks Jamie.
lucyolguin
 
lucyolguin May 02, 2017
Omg that's gorgeous!
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier May 02, 2017
Thanks Lucy
Jerome_barbara
 
Jerome_barbara June 15, 2017
To capture this expression in the wild. Beautiful life experience.
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier July 10, 2017
Thank you. Was fortunate to work with them for many years.
Pamelabole PRO+
 
Pamelabole January 25, 2018
Love this......so well done!! Congrats on your well deserved challenge win!! : )
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier January 25, 2018
Thanks again!
garrychisholm PRO
 
garrychisholm January 26, 2018
Superb image Chris, absolutely top class
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier January 26, 2018
Thanks Garry. Your gallery is terrific.
were_underthesamesky
 
were_underthesamesky April 09, 2018
Wow so great¡ I was stunned.

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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, one of the last remaining refuges for these critically endangered mountain gorillas. I was fortunate to be working there for many years as a wildlife veterinarian assisting with their care.
Time
It usually takes a few hours hike to find the gorilla groups and departing from Park headquarters after a briefing means most visits occur around midday. This day was no exception with this image shot around 11 AM.
Lighting
This was an overcast yet relatively bright day and this gorilla group was in a fairly open area- a rare good lighting opportunity with gorillas. Catching some bright sky in gorillas' eyes makes for an ideal capture like this.
Equipment
This was shot handheld without flash (like all of my gorilla images) with a Canon 5D and Sigma 70-300 lens. Tripods and flashes are both generally prohibited when shooting wildlife such as gorillas because both can be perceived as threats to animals that are at risk of being shot and killed by armed poachers.
Inspiration
As a wildlife veterinarian working with these incredible animals most of my early photos were just to document injuries and illnesses. I was inspired to tap into my artistic training when I read a quote from a photographer friend saying that most people who work with gorillas are not good photographers. I took that challenge and started looking for opportunities like this while I was doing my work, which occasionally allowed for some artistic photography.
Editing
I missed the exposure on this shot so had to darken in post-processing to make up for that mistake (very glad I was shooting raw at the time!). I also took a little yellow out of the vegetation to bring out the green and cropped a little from the top and right edges. To me, over-processed images are very obvious and very artificial so I try to minimize processing and allow the camera to capture what I see.
In my camera bag
When I took this it was only my 5D (with obligatory battery grip) and single zoom lens along with extra batteries, memory cards.... and a rain cover! I prefer to be that light but now sometimes carry that same 5D as back-up for the newer MarkIII along with one of my much better zooms. When I'm out shooting wildlife I don't even bother to carry a wide angle lens as my pocket Canon Powershot and even my Lumia phone can both shoot raw files. I do sometimes use my Canon EF 24-70 L lens for landscapes and close-ups and love my Slik tripod, but rarely have the opportunity to use it. I also toy with a circular polarizer sometimes but otherwise avoid filters.
Feedback
For me, wildlife photography is the nexus of opportunity, patience, and timing. Being in the right place at the right time with the right kit is half the battle, the rest is about waiting for, or better- anticipating, the right moment. I've never been one to rattle off a 100 frames hoping for one that is ideal, especially around animals that appreciate calmness and quiet. Instead I usually trust my knowledge of animals' behavior to sense how they might move, what they might do next, etc. Most importantly, the only way to have the opportunity is to go visit magnificent animals like these, which, when done right, also benefits their conservation- a proverbial win-win!

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