Impenitrable Means Impenitrable

There is a nice article at TheAtlantic.com today called Mountain Gorillas at Home. My gorilla photography pales before it so I will spare you of anything more than a link, below, but the area around the gorillas is interesting in its own right. Here are a couple of shots of where the Uganda gorillas live (there are also gorillas in Rwanda and Congo). This is a place called the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Strictly speaking, it’s not quite impenetrable. There is this road through it:

Adjoining the forest are heavily farmed, terraced fields. The hills are really steep, as you can see here:

We visited the gorillas in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda, farther down the road (See the Mountain Gorillas Gallery at EarthPhotos.com). Here are a few things I wrote at the time, when CS&W was on Typepad. I guess they ought to still work: 12345678.

And while we’re here, apropos to nothing except that I just ran across this photo, and it’s also from Uganda, here is the only galloping hippo I have ever seen:

Click ’em all to enlarge them. And have a look at more in the Uganda Gallery and the Rwanda Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

Friday Photo #18, the Virunga Gorillas, Rwanda

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This photo is from one of two mountain gorilla treks we took in 2008 in the Virunga mountains of Rwanda. Click to enlarge. More photos from those treks here. And if you’re considering a trip, here are some tips I wrote, mostly on my experience with taking pictures in the jungle. See more of Rwanda in the Rwanda Gallery at EarthPhotos.com. Here are links to some of the other stories I wrote at the time: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. And here are all the Friday Photos.

Wednesday HDRs – Animals

Sometimes HDR processing works and sometimes it doesn’t seem right for the subject matter. Animals, I’ve found, are hit or miss. Here are eight that made the grade, starting with one of the tree climbing lions in Ishasha, Uganda. That photo was published in Afar Magazine. The grasshopper lives in South Africa, the parrots in Antigua, Guatemala, the silverback mountain gorilla in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda, the ram with a view in the Taronga Zoo, Sydney, the hippo family along the Kazinga Channel in Uganda, the beasts of burden at the Mercado in Addia Ababa, Ethiopia, the horses in rural Finland, and the colobus monkey was just hanging out in a tree by the road in rural Uganda. All the photos link to larger versions in the HDR Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

As in most cases, all of these were tonemapped in Photomatix and finished in various versions of Photoshop with various iterations of Nik software.

One other thing: EarthPhotos.com is looking a little strange as we continue to wrestle it into a fresher new format that will compliment CS&W. Thanks for bearing with us.

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Animals – Wednesday HDR

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The cheetah and the grasshopper live in South Africa, the baboon and flamingoes are from from the Tierpark Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany and the gorilla at bottom lives in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda. More gorilla photos here. All processed in Photomatix and Photoshop. Click 'em to make them bigger. More HDRs here.

Rwanda Gorilla: Wednesday HDR

Continuing this little run of wildlife from last week and Monday, this week's HDR is from Rwanda, where this endangered silverback mountain gorilla lives in Parc National des Volcans.

Perched on a slippery vine covered slope isn't maybe the best place to take several bracketed shots of living, breathing – and moving – wildlife, and so this HDR was produced from a single shot, re-exposed and recombined in Photomatix Pro, then finished in Photoshop CS5. Click it to make it bigger.

See related photos in the HDR Gallery, Rwanda Gallery and Animals and Wildlife Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

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Our silverback friend presents a good opportunity to introduce a series of posts we'll start here in a day or two. Over the course of a week or so we'll post several short vignettes from Africa, taken from previous safari trips.

Wednesday HDR: Lions of the Ishasha Wilderness

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This was a fun day in the Ishasha Wilderness, part of the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. We were on the way down from Kampala to Rwanda to see the Mountain Gorillas around Mt. Sabyinyo and stopped to see these guys overnight, staying at the Ishasha Wilderness Camp. Ishasha is known for its tree climbing lions, some of whom we'd seen even before we got to camp. 

These guys posed for us the next morning in a field full of very wary kob and other smaller animals. For the HDR we re-exposed and combined a single RAW, tonemapped it in Photomatix, added the sepia effect with Nik Software and blurred the acacias in the background in Photoshop.

See more of the Ishasha Wilderness in the Uganda Gallery and 225 more HDR photos in the HDR Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.

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.

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

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