A gorilla stares intently in the Seattle Zoo. Canon EOS XSi EF-S 75-300mm f/4-5.6 at 250mm f/5.6 1/45 ISO 800
His eyes stare out intently, not at me, not at someone else but out into the middle distance. Out to the place in his hindbrain where the pack lived in lush tree covered hillsides. Out to the place where his father was king and his family moved in freedom. It is a dimly remembered reflection seen through a glass darkly but it is there, deep down in his DNA every cell in his body reminding him of what he could be.
Visiting a zoo is interesting and exciting but always a little sad. The people who run the Seattle Zoo do a very good job at producing interesting and stimulating enclosures for the animals but still… I wanted a photo that captured this tension and when I saw this gorilla I hoped I might catch it. The zoo has thick glass windows that look into the gorilla’s den and this always produces issues of reflection and dirt on the glass. The other concern was that it was quite dark in the area where I was shooting but there was just enough light for my lens to capture even thought the maximum aperture was only f/5.6. After I got the image home I cloned out the reflections and dirt on the glass in Aperture. Luckily these where mainly in the side of the photo that I wanted to go dark. I then exported into Nik Silver Efex Pro and darkened the left side of the photo. I was really happy with the way that the texture of the skin came through and the way that the his face is in the borderland between dark and light. It adds to the tension in the image of a wild thing not living in a place where he belongs.