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Judge and Jury - David Yarrow

David Yarrow

Judge and Jury

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JUDGE AND JURY
Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda - 2019

Finding a silverback gorilla high up in the volcanoes of Rwanda in a position offering a sense of place and a wider narrative is a tough ask. It’s effectively a numbers game in that the more times you make the trek, the greater t... show more
JUDGE AND JURY
Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda - 2019

Finding a silverback gorilla high up in the volcanoes of Rwanda in a position offering a sense of place and a wider narrative is a tough ask. It’s effectively a numbers game in that the more times you make the trek, the greater the chance an opportunity will arise. After 10 trips, I had not had a break. There had been 10 encounters, but they were always in dense forest with little or no backdrop.

Some of the guides knew my frustration at the lack of depth I was finding and suggested a troop—the Umubano gorilla family—that was quite far west of the group of volcanoes. I agreed to give it a go, but was curious when I was told that I was the only one making the trip that day.

When I set off from the village of Bisate at 7:30 a.m., it quickly dawned on me why I was alone. This was going to be one hell of a climb, and I was already at 9,000 feet. Normally the wall crossing to the rain forest is about 20 minutes from a drop-off point, but the day I went it took 90 minutes—all uphill. But when I reached the wall and looked up to the rain forest, I could see why the area had potential. There were plenty of ridges and lookout points. It was still dense, but there seemed more room to breathe in places.

I left most of my gear with my porters and took just one camera and my trusted 58mm lens. When I reached the troop, they were on the move and I focused on the lead silverback. And so it was that I got my moment. The perspective was exactly what I had been looking for.
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