New Pictures: Rescued Chimpanzees PLUS Photography Tip

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 20, 2014

Category: General

Hi Folks

Thanks for stopping.

Thanks too, to each every one of you that has commented on social media where I’ve posted these recent Ape Portraits taken at the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset, UK; it’s wonderful to read that the portraits have moved so many of you.

Today I’d normally have a brand new episode of my weekly podcast / show for you but yesterday I flew to Glasgow for the day and didn’t get back until quite late. Consequently I didn’t have time to sit and record a video however I’ll have some content online by the end of the week so be sure to check in.

This week I’ll be giving an overview of the retouching from start to finish on these new Chimpanzee portraits but today I thought I’d give you a look at how I actually photographed the Apes in their indoor living quarters from behind the thick safety glass and show you the before and after images.

ape_1Photographing through thick safety glass from within an area with lots of light leaking in, smudge marks on the glass and so on is actually quite a simple process…

The trick is simply removing the lens hood and gently pressing the lens tight against the glass and holding it there, taking care to place it very slowly so as not to knock the glass and startle / upset the Apes (see picture below)

As for camera and settings, for these pictures I used…

Canon 5D MK III
70-200mm f/2.8 IS II

To give myself the flexibility of maybe adding in new backgrounds I set my aperture to f/8.0 and iso way up to 3200 so as to get a decent shutter speed; however saying that I did bracket for 5 shots each time too.

lensWhen it came to the retouching for these portraits I decided to add in a plain simple white background because to me they are all about the expression and that is what I wanted to focus on. Also because of the lighting from outside behind Zeyden she has highlights and rim lighting so adding in a white background I feel works a lot better as opposed to adding in a black background. On those occasions where I would add in a black background I’d choose portraits with a lot more shadow…if that makes sense.


I’m including these portraits and others that I want to do at the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre into my Animals project and my reason for this is that although not living in the wild, the Apes are FREE from the pain and suffering they’ve endured at the hand of man as they are now living at a truly wonderful rescue centre.


I hope this come across in the way it’s intended but this is the first time I genuinely feel moved by any picture I’ve produced and that may sound kind of strange I guess so I hope you get what I mean by that.

Right that’s all from me for today so whatever you’re up to, have a good one and I’ll catch you back here next time.


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  1. Brian

    Beautiful shots Glyn! Thanks for sharing! I’ve really enjoyed seeing your animal series come to life.

  2. Jim Hutcheon

    Simply stunning, as ever!

  3. Martin Woolfe

    Glyn you have surpassed yourself this time, and managed to catch the emotion of the animal, your retouching shows a real empathy and humanity for the subject matter.

  4. Sheila Mullis

    Simply beautiful…both the images and the subjects. I absolutely understand being moved by a photo…and it doesn’t sound strange. It’s that image that makes you see the greater purpose of what you do. That image that makes others ‘see’ your subjects as more than just a pretty picture…makes them want to do something to improve their lives. If your images move just one person to make a difference for other chimpanzees, than you have accomplished a great thing. 🙂

  5. Mike Butcher

    That’s awesome, Glyn. More power to your elbow.

  6. Stu Cosgrave

    Love how simple these portraits are, and yet very powerful. Very nicely processed aswell Glyn. Nice one!



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