Gorilla February 2007

Old Aug 7th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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To add to the advice Jerry has given you, I would suggest taking one more 4GB card with you. We did four gorilla treks, and on two of them we completely filled up a 4GB card and had to switch in the middle of the time with the gorillas. We took two portable storage devices to empty the cards at night. We used the same camera that you have -- the Canon 400D.

I think it is very likely you will be shooting a lot of pictures at ISO800 and 1600, especially given the lenses you are taking. If you have the ability to rent or buy a 70-200 f/2.8IS for this trip, it would give you some more flexibility and low-light capability, because it is a bit faster than the lenses you already have. We shot all of our gorilla pictures with the Canon 100-400, which is also a pretty slow lens, and it became frustrating at times when we got motion blur on a good many shots.

Be sure to look at your pictures briefly when you take them -- you may need to adjust exposure compensation because of the dark fur on the gorillas. This is especially true because the 400D does not have spot metering. Of course, increasing exposure compensation will slow down your shutter speed, which again is why a fast lens really helps.

My suggestion for camera settings is to use Av mode, center AF point, partial metering, and leave the white balance on auto (you can always change that later if you shoot RAW). You can then vary your aperture and ISO based on prevailing light conditions.

Have a great time!

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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I second what Chris has said here.
Interestingly I only took approx 100 pics in total for each of the first two visits and about 180 on the third. Sometimes photo opprotunities just don't work out even if the experience is fantastic. Apart from our third trip to Amahoro that was certainly the case. But it did not take away from the whole experience at all.Just bear that in mind.EVERY trek will be totally different even if you visited the same family for months !!I didn't really get any shots of young babies that I would like to have done because the Mum's just weren't around for the hour we were there. So relax what will be will be and just savour every second you are with them - that's more imortant than any photo- look at them with your eyes not through the lens and you'll understand what I'm saying!!!
It is very special/
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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Jerry and Chris,
Thank you so much for your helpful advice which I will take on board. I was going to take my macbook pro notebook computer to download at night---do you think that would be ok to leave it in the lodge and I presume can charge batteries there. Have either of you used a stormjacket cover for the camera in the rain.
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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I don't know what lodge you are staying at, but I believe most of them have facilities for charging batteries. We stayed at the Volcanoes Virunga Lodge and they did have a place to charge batteries in the bar area.

I have not used the rain jacket you are referencing. But you are wise to consider something like that if you try to shoot in the rain. Take a look at this article on Luminous Landscape about how a variety of Canon DSLRs reacted to getting rained on for 90 minutes during a wildlife photo shoot:

Personally, I had decided before our trip not to shot pictures if it rained. We got lucky and had four rain-free treks.

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Old Aug 10th, 2007, 06:42 AM
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Superb photos, Jerry! Thanks for sharing them -- and thanks to all on this forum who have provided such practical and valuable advice about gorilla treks.

My son is planning to go on a trek in Rwanda in 2009 with Terra Incognita Ecotours, and I'm wondering if anyone on the forum has traveled with them or knows anyone else who has.

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Old Nov 6th, 2007, 03:23 PM
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Hi Jerry,

This time next week i will be in Rwanda, preparing for my first gorilla trek. I am extremely nervous and have never done any kind of travelling like this before. Your account and incredible photos of your trip to Rwanda have done wonders to put my mind at ease. I am now so excited i can't wait. I shall continue to read my gorilla books to learn as much as i can before i go.
thanks you so much
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Old Nov 6th, 2007, 10:54 PM
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Natasha, I'm so envious. I spent just a couple of days in Rwanda six weeks ago - for a single gorilla trek. I was fantastic. Rwanda is an amazing country, especially considering the events of 13 years ago. I'm sure you'll have a great time.
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