Wednesday HDR – Gorillas Mull Extinction

A damp fog blankets the clear-cut hills outside Parc National des Volcans in southeast Rwanda as we trek in, two of a group of eight, with an additional crew of guides and porters. We come upon a family of gorillas, but one male remains solitary, arms crossed across his chest. Pensive, it would seem.

If you're going to trek to see the mountain gorillas of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, time to get a move on.

This week's HDR photo, below, in which our hero seems to fulminate on the encroachment of those demanding humans, visible just on the next ridge, is a perfect illustration of the perils this dwindling community of 800 or so gorillas faces. A report just issued by the U.N. titled "The Last Stand of the
Gorilla – Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin"
suggests that "Gorillas may disappear
across much of the Congo Basin by the mid 2020s." Download the report, or read a story about it.

Gorillahdr72dpi

Click the photo for a much larger, higher-res version. And continue below the jump for tech details on the HDR photo itself.

Looking for more realism on this one, I followed a method described by R. L. Hanson (here's he is on Flickr) in one of his HDRSpotting submissions. It's an HDR from a single RAW shot, under and over-exposed at -1, -2, +1 & +2 and tonemapped three ways in PhotoMatix. Once "normal," again in high contrast and again very vividly, then, with each version in a separate layer in Photoshop, blended to order. Check it by clicking on the photo for the much larger view. When you click the photo, you'll click through to EarthPhotos.com. If you click again on the photo you'll get the option to see it much larger still.

Here's the HDR again, and then the photo as shot, for comparison:

Gorillahdr72dpi

Origgorilla

See about 200 HDRs in the HDR Gallery and more gorillas in the Mountain Gorilla Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

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