Gaye’s interest in photography started at an early age, spending many happy hours watching her grandfather take photographs with his Kodak Box camera. Until recently Gaye used a Canon film SLR and regularly developed her black and white photographs. When she joined the Windsor Photographic Society 2009 she embraced the digital age with a new Canon DSLR, however she still occasionally uses her film camera.
A few years ago Gaye travelled to Central Africa and seized the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream to visit the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Mountain gorillas live in the Virunga volcanic mountains which straddle the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. They are one of the world’s most endangered species, with approximately 700 remaining and nearly half this population live in the dense mountain jungle of Parc National des Volcans in the North Western corner of Rwanda.
Rwanda, also known as the land of a thousand hills, is a spectacularly beautiful country. The sight of the Parc National des Volcans in the early morning shrouded in mist is absolutely breathtaking. The trek to locate this group of gorillas took several hours through dense vegetation; there are no paths and the guides occasionally had to use their machetes to cut through the undergrowth.
To finally stand within a few meters of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat creates an extraordinary feeling of joy and is indeed a privilege.
They are peaceful creatures; living in stable family groups which are led by dominant silverbacks. This collection of photographs was taken of Group 13, simply named after the original size of the group when it was first discovered, however it has now grown to 22 individuals.
An adult male can weigh up to 195kg, a female up to 100kg. The mountain gorillas are almost exclusively vegetarian and are quite destructive eaters, which makes them unpopular with the farmers lower down the mountain slopes, as they can ruin a whole field just to eat one plant. For this reason, and also because of poaching, the gorillas are very carefully protected.