ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Photographing Chimpanzees

Updated on September 1, 2014
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) | Source

Our chimpanzee cousins, assuming you believe that humans are descendants from apes, involves going to your local nature park, zoo or nature preserve and photographing these often gracious apes. Unlike most animal photographic projects which involve photographing animals and avoiding the inclusion of any parts of the enclosure, this one counts on you purposely including parts of it.

It is difficult and expensive to travel to the chimpanzee's natural environments so parks provide a viable alternative and because these creatures can often be very playful, these locations can prove to be very amusing and a reliable source of good images.

Your project should begin by identifying some of the behaviors of these chimps and some of the meaning associated with each individual behavior. Also research their family hierarchy and this will give you a good idea of what to look for.

Recording images of their facial features is important as they can appear to be very demonstrative. A good tip is to record images of their eyes in close up with the aid of a zoom lens. Their eyes much like our eyes can often show emotion and intention.

Most captive animals are very used to human presence and they often just ignore us and go about their business. This are very good opportunities to catch them doing any of their activities. Good images are those that record instance of interaction between males and females, females and their young , interactions between young ones and young ones often playfully annoying the adults.

Although some of the facial expressions that you will see seem to mimic our own they are often something else completely. For example when they grin and appear to be smiling it is really a sign of fear or discomfort. Pay attention not to label your images incorrectly and this is where research often comes into play.

AS far as including parts of the enclosure do so with the goal of showing how they use it to their advantage like what are their favorite resting places, their play area and primary vantage points from which to survey their environment.

Chimps, much like ourselves, avoid the midday Sun and will find shaded ares to get away from it. This can prove to be a challenge for the photographer since using your camera normal readings may give you areas of underexposed and over exposed elements.

Focus on the main subject; the chimpanzee(s) and lock the readings, then shoot as you would normally do. This will ensure that your main subject is appropriately exposed and you can always crop the image if you need to.

Interesting scenes can present themselves when conflicts due to positioning within the pride arise as often you may witness fight between males and some females. Scenes featuring females coming into heat and male courtship attempts can be valuable shots to submit to most nature publications and stock photography houses. Try not to miss any and always be attentive to your subjects.

This project like most others requires you to be on location for an extended period of time so patience is a virtue and so is persistence. Your subjects are not going to pose for you and rarely act in photogenic behaviors. Let them get used to seeing you and sooner or later you will just become part of their "surroundings" and more opportunistic scenes may present themselves to you.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

Most parks and zoos have special viewing times that are available at a special rate. Photographers are always welcomed. It is worth investing in the time and money to be allowed to take your photographs during these times which are mostly before the park opens and right after it closes to the general public. Some even include feeding times and these can provide a bounty of good images.

Another alternative which I have personally found worthwhile is to join your local zoological society and they often include benefits not available to most, with access to the park during non regular hours and year round fee free entrance.

Most of the time the price for joining one such organization is a little more than $150.00 for the year with certain exceptions and when you consider how much the fee is for a one time entrance this makes sense.

Take advantage of such deals. Remember that it will allow you shooting times when the zoo or park is less busy, often provides a knowledgeable staff member which can provide valuable information and insights into your subjects behaviors, and gives you the opportunity of photographing a host of species as many times as you want.

CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

Does this appeal to you?

See results

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 6 years ago from California

      Great Hub. Jane Goodall's books are an excellent resource for looking into the lives of chimps too. Her books are a great read! Voted up.

    • MichaelGallinger profile image

      MichaelGallinger 6 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Nice, love your writing skills, I am a fan.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Love the kissing picture! These are great.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)