Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda 2019
I have travelled north from Kigali to the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda 6 times over the last 8 years and I have generally failed to come home with anything that does Africa's "Jurassic Park" justice. There are many reasons - including - of course - my own ineptitude.
A big issue is that these magnificent mountain #gorillas are only accessible in mid morning and if the sun is out, the rainforest floor is not an ideal canvas on which to work - it's a nasty cocktail of overexposed and underexposed. Then there are compositional puzzles - it is difficult to have a sense of proximity and a sense of place in the same image - the forest can be exceptionally dense and this works against offering a wider contextual narrative. In my experience it does not pay to be greedy visually here.
Thirdly, the encounter is so other worldly that it takes time to work out what to actually do with the camera - and every cameraman - no matter who they may work for - only has just an hour to work. It can be a battle against time with a troop of 22 or more gorillas to think clearly about what to do.
So before I arrived late notice on Monday, a few decisions had already been made. We would go when the chance of cloud cover was best and we would only focus on the lead Silverbacks. Most importantly I knew there was no point in deciding prior to the hike what lenses to take, as we would have no idea what sort of topography the trackers will find the gorillas in. But I knew I could leave some gear half way up the mountain and then work with whatever the layout dictated. In other words, this year the goal is to be spontaneous and not prescriptive.