Brief encounter

Ready to explore the jungle and armed with an image of the Congo’s lowland gorilla in his head, Andrew James sets out to get his shot.

… with the lowland gorillas of the Republic of the Congo. Andrew James heads into the jungle with a vision of his perfect gorilla shot in his head, and ants biting his ankles.

How long does it take to capture a photo? The technically minded among you might suggest that it takes as long as the shutter is open. One click and it’s done. One second, 1/30sec or maybe 1/2000sec? A cheap thrill and it’s all over. In one sense you’d be right, of course, but that brief moment when the shutter is open and the sensor sucks in the light is only part of the story and a very, very small part at that. 

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By Chris Coe

Chris is a professional photographer, and the founder of Travel Photographer of the Year. He has been working as a professional photographer since 1992, shooting both editorial and advertising photography, and has published over 50 books. He lectures on and teaches photography, mentors and is a competition judge.