2022 Edition

Mathieu Courdesses

Black and Wild, 2019

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Category - Beneath the Canopy

Public Award
Black and Wild, 2019

The tracker team, the ranger and I are heading to another family of gorillas through the jungle. The hope of finding their trail is gradually lost. Suddenly, 8 short percussion drums resounded in the distance. “They are beating on their chests, they are close,” the ranger tells me. The sound can be heard over 500 metres away. Finally, we find them. This silverback male gorilla is from the largest family in Volcanoes National Park and is one of the oldest gorillas in the mountain. Before we can photograph his group, we must first ask his permission and obtain a grunt from him. I growl, in my deepest voice, and the response is immediate: he accepts my presence. This photo shows the first moments before the encounter, when tension and doubt dominate, and offers a different vision of this wild animal, about to consent to our human presence.

200 mm f/2 Lens - 1/1600 sec at f/4.5 ISO 250