Selection of November 2018: Gelada Baboons by Roberto Marchegiani

Gelada Baboons by Roberto Marchegiani

I planned the trip to Ethiopia, in Simien National Park, at over 3000 meters of altitude, to photograph the Gelada monkeys in the rainy season and during periods of maximum instability, to try to find the most interesting conditions and especially the meadows and slopes completely green.

The gelada monkeys, the only herbivorous monkeys on the planet, are an endemic species that lives only in Ethiopia, mainly in the Simien mountains, in groups that at night find shelter in caves located void steep slopes, even more than 800 meters high, in the Simien mountains. These monkeys are very photogenic for the color of their thick mane, similar to that of the lions and for the red breast that looks like a heart. Every morning they go up from the slopes and then return at the sunset.

Near the equator, the sunrise and sunset don’t last very long, so I was very lucky to find these conditions; there was fog and many clouds and for a few minutes, just when the monkeys were on the slope, the sun appeared. Then I isolated this male against the edge of the slope with the sun behind using the wide angle zoom to the maximum possible width, to 14 mm, and under-exposing dramatically, shooting 2 full stops to not burn the picture completely. In fact, I preferred not to use the flash to give more natural feel and drama to the photo. The dynamic range of the Nikon D850 sensor at low ISO and post-production made this photo possible, in fact the dark parts (the monkey and the ground) were extremely dark in the raw and therefore it was necessary to selectively open the shadows and even to lighten one stop the dark parts.

Nikon D 850 - Nikon AFS 14-24 ƒ 8 F8 - ISO 125 - 1/2000 sec

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