Your hour with the gorillas will fly by and you’ll certainly want some good photos as a memento.

If you are lucky you’ll find your gorilla family out in the open on a sunny day in perfect conditions for photography. But depending on your location and season it is likely to be fairly dark and gloomy under low-lying mist and dense forest canopy.

As the name suggests, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be dense and dark. In Rwanda, the lighter bamboo vegetation usually makes for better photographs.

You may be on the move with the gorillas, so it’s best to get organised and think about your photography in advance. Once you meet the gorillas, remember to get your photos out of the way so you can spend plenty of time out from behind the camera lens.

Flash photography is strictly prohibited. You’ll need to disable the automatic flash and any focusing lights.

Make sure your batteries are charged the night before and that you have plenty of space on your memory card—or bring spares. (Note that remote lodges may not have reliable power.)

If you have a film camera, take fast film (400-1600 ASA). Experienced photographers recommend shooting at ISO 1250 or above in the forest.

Serious photographers will probably bring more than one camera body as changing lenses while the gorillas (and you) are moving around can be difficult. Take a zoom lens, wide angle lens and a fixed focal length lens.

Professional filmmakers will need to apply for filming permits in advance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or the Rwanda Development Board.

About the author

Gorilla Photography Tips

Charlotte Beauvoisin

Charlotte is a travel journalist and guidebook author based on the edge of Kibale Forest, Uganda. She is an expert contributor on East Africa for the Bradt Uganda Guidebook and has written for Lonely Planet, The Daily Telegraph and Fodor's. She also volunteers with Conservation Through Public Health where she works with Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Uganda's most prominent gorilla vet.

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