Photographing chimpanzees is challenging.
To help us create images worthy of sharing with our followers, the sanctuary has a small collection of donated cameras and lenses (some of which were items on our Amazon Wish List). Unlike those versatile zoom and prime lenses, macro lenses are specialized for close-up photography and are currently absent from our regular kit. In order to play around with one at work and in the field, I personally rented a compatible one from an online retailer and brought it to the sanctuary for a couple days.
Macro lenses are functionally unique because they can zoom in on things close to the lens, yielding a final image that is literally larger than life. This practice is generally known as “macro-photography” and gives the associated lenses their descriptive name. (Perplexingly, “micro” and “macro” lenses are the same thing; Nikon uses the former prefix for their lenses while Canon and Sony employ the latter).
If this is a topic that piques your interest, I highly recommend going to Instagram’s feed for the popular hashtag: #macrophotography. Some of the most common subjects include insects, eyes, flowers, mushrooms, water droplets, and food items.
Conveniently, most macro lenses also take sharp portraits of larger subjects (even though many of these are technically not “macro” images).
I have included some of the portraits I opportunistically captured of the chimps with the borrowed macro lens. I hope you all enjoy them!