In the realm of wildlife photography, achieving the perfect shot involves immense effort and dedication. It often necessitates spending prolonged hours awaiting the right moment when an animal emerges or enduring adverse weather conditions. For a particular photographer, her perseverance bore fruit when she had a remarkable opportunity to witness a silverback gorilla displaying its dominance up close in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park—an exhilarating yet tense encounter.
This captivating interaction was fortuitously captured on video and subsequently shared by photographer Richard De Gouveia on Instagram. “Upon our initial arrival, the sky was overshadowed by dark clouds, and the foliage was dense. The trackers were diligently seeking suitable vantage points for us as the gorillas foraged, all while the storm approached,” he recounted. “What commenced as a light drizzle escalated into an intense downpour, prompting the gorillas and us to seek shelter.”
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In the recorded footage, the silverback gorilla comes into the foreground, presenting his profile to the camera. Simultaneously, the photographer, camera in hand, observes from the background. Unexpectedly, the gorilla charges towards the area where the photographer is stationed, beating his chest in a display of dominance.
“While attentively observing another gorilla, the silverback advanced from behind us, putting on a display that our composed and unflappable guest won’t soon forget. She skillfully handled the moment,” wrote De Gouveia, who also serves as a guide. “Following this, she tactfully ensured we maintained a safe distance from the gorillas.”
De Gouveia elaborated on the expedition, shedding light on their approach to balancing the needs of both photographers and the animals. “In principle, we strive to maintain a significant distance, but practicality sometimes dictates otherwise. Masks are vital in minimizing the risk of transmitting our ailments to them, and we maintain distance to the best of our ability,” he stated. “We are restricted to one hour with the gorilla family, as beyond this point, the potential for disease transmission dramatically rises.”
While this encounter concluded peacefully, it serves as a reminder of the immense efforts that wildlife photographers invest to bring us closer to the intriguing lives of animals we might otherwise remain unfamiliar with. Their dedication, akin to those in scientific domains, should be duly acknowledged and appreciated.