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Teeth!



An adult male mountain gorilla displays his impressive canine teeth, which- being vegetarian- they use primarily for fighting....
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An adult male mountain gorilla displays his impressive canine teeth, which- being vegetarian- they use primarily for fighting.
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Contest Finalist in Apes Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 6
Contest Finalist in Powerful Photo Contest
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My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 3Top 20 class
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Wildlife Photo Contest 2017Top 10 class
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11 Comments | Report
BrunoHeeb PRO
 
BrunoHeeb November 09, 2016
looove your style ,amazing shot
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier November 10, 2016
Thanks Bruno. Your gallery is terrific.
sweetpea72 PRO
 
sweetpea72 November 22, 2016
Wow Wow Wow... Amazin' shot シ
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier December 07, 2016
Thanks Melissa. I love your gallery and faded style- very unique.
KatieMcKinneyPhotography
 
KatieMcKinneyPhotography December 07, 2016
WOW this is amazing! Great work!
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier December 07, 2016
Thank you. What a gorgeous gallery you have!
ShellyRwanda PRO+
 
ShellyRwanda March 11, 2017
Fantastic shot.
chriswhittier PRO+
chriswhittier March 11, 2017
Thanks Shelly
bigghwaa
 
bigghwaa March 11, 2017
Nice nice
tiffanysalinas
 
tiffanysalinas June 06, 2017
Captivating
Dragonrider
 
Dragonrider April 28, 2018
This is amazing what a fantastic shot
garymintz PRO
 
garymintz July 16, 2018
cool shot!
SueBeePhoto
 
SueBeePhoto December 09, 2018
Amazing 😀
Pjerry PRO
 
Pjerry December 10, 2018
Impressive !!!
Guylaine1986
 
Guylaine1986 December 13, 2018
Great shot!

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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 10:30 AM.
Lighting
This was a typical overcast day and the overnight moisture (with or without actual rain) can be seen on this gorilla's brow having been moving through wet vegetation all morning. This shot was underexposed to make it appear a little darker than it actually was.
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. In this case I was just trying to get a nice portrait of this handsome individual when he opened up his mouth...to yawn. Yes, he was NOT charging ferociously, but gorillas, like some other animals, often yawn apparently in order to display their impressive teeth and intimidate others.
Editing
I try to minimize post-processing and keep my images to what I actually saw. In this case I also only had a jpeg and no raw file capture so processing was especially minimized to just tone adjustments trying to bring out some details from the shadows, and a slight crop off the top and bottom.
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 Mark III 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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