For most people, trekking to see gorillas and chimps in Uganda is a once in a lifetime experience and you want to come home with a plethora of memorable shots to show your family and friends. But what is the best way of getting these snaps? This guide will share with you our top tips for which lens to use when gorilla trekking and much more to ensure you get some great snaps from this once in a lifetime experience.
What you need to know about photographing gorillas?
Firstly it is important to remember that you only get 1 hour with the gorillas as stipulated by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA). You need to maximize your time to make sure you get plenty of pictures but also time to appreciate these majestic creatures. Once you are with the gorillas however, they are not difficult subjects, unlike chimps who run up trees, through the undergrowth and basically don’t stay where you want them, gorillas are more docile and an easier subject.
What is the best lens to take gorilla trekking?
When going gorilla trekking and want to take great gorilla trekking photographs you need to take the right lens with you. So what is my number one tip – only use one lens!
This was a controversial decision in our household and was different to most people on our trip who took a minimum of two other lenses with them.
Why then do I say this?
Fair enough, several lenses give you more options in terms of shots, however unless you are a professional and can change your lenses over in a matter of seconds, you are likely to miss your shot. A number of people on our trip missed some great moments, because they were busy changing lenses. I took with me a Tamron 18-270mm lens which I found got me all the shots I needed. I found this multipurpose lens was the best option for me but think about what type of photos you want to take and choose the best lens to suit it.
Other Top Tips for Taking Great Gorilla Trekking Photos
Light levels can be low depending on where the gorillas are on the day you visit. If you are not confident photographing in low light levels I recommend reading up before you go. That way you are guaranteed to get great photos wherever the gorillas are
Be sure to check your focus regularly as there is a lot of foliage around aswell as flies around the gorillas. You don’t want to come back with out of focus shots!
What to take with you for taking great gorilla trekking photos
Other than your lens I recommend taking a comfortable case for trekking. There is nothing worse than having a strap that rubs or doesn’t sit right while you are running across the forest floor or climbing to see the gorillas. Also be sure that it gives your case enough protection as the trek to see the gorillas can be difficult in places. For the same reason also make sure you have a lens protector. Chimps in particular move quickly, and you will be running after them. Make sure you protect your lens in between shots
Remember to take time to just be in the presence of these animals – you may not go again, and while photographs are an amazing keepsake, nothing can beat the experience of being in the moment with these creatures!
Don’t be afraid to take lots of shots. That perfect one is hard to come by so take as many you can to give yourself plenty to choose from! If you are taking lots of photos be sure to take lots of memory cards.