Monday, October 29, 2007

It's a girl!

One of my favorite places on Planet Earth as many of you know is the Woodland Park Zoo.
I am so blessed to have been accepted as a volunteer photographer there. I love all of the animals there but I have always been particularly fond of the Gorilla families. Amanda is a 37 year old Gorilla and last week she gave birth to an adorable female gorilla. Timing is everything. I had a few appointments in Kirkland, WA this afternoon. Since I was down that far south I thought I would take a chance and see if she was out. The keepers have been keeping Amanda and her baby inside almost all of the time. My friend Ryan Hawk is the main photographer at the Zoo. He had been allowed inside with the Gorillas to acclimate Amanda to his presence so when she had her baby she would be somewhat used to him. She had her baby and Ryan got some great video footage of her the day after she was born as well as a beautiful still shot seen on the main Zoo web page. After that, she hadn't really been seen. Ryan spent a day outside when they let them out for the first time waiting patiently for her and just caught a glimpse here and there but no solid sightings.

Today I showed up and wasn't too optimistic about the keepers letting them out as the weather was looking a bit ominous. When I arrived there were no gorillas in the habitat. I noticed some carrots and broccoli on the ground however which told me they were about to let them out. I took a seat and waited. About 10 minutes later, Ryan and his posse arrived as the main keeper had apparently called him to say they were letting her out. About 10 or 15 minutes after that she came out and gave us the pose shown below with both Mom and Baby. Check out how they were both staring right at me! It was a neat moment for sure. Seconds later, Amanda packed up and headed out of sight behind the bushes.

I waited around another 20 minutes or so and my patience paid off. She walked right up to the glass, plopped down on the ground and started to nurse. I was able to get right up next to her to fire off the close up shot seen below. Wow! I was so excited to get this shot. It was truly a special moment and one of the highlights of my highlight filled photography career.

Take care,



Hawk said...

Mat, you nailed that overhead shot of the nursing. Glad you could be there for the few minutes she came out to be seen!

D. Dow said...

Mat, great captures of the baby.

Anonymous said...

Mat,so glad you were at the Zoo today.My timing was terrible & I missed seeing Amanda & baby girl twice but your photos MORE than made up for any shots I could have taken. Thank you so much for being there & giving me your card.

Happy [Camera] Shoting!

Victoria, the Bubble lady

emilie inc. said...

These are beautiful, Mat!