NOW SHOWING AT OUR GALLERY IN CHALFORD:
Stereoscopic Vision | A Spotlight on the Chameleons of Rwenzori
Statuesque creatures, radiating luminous vibrance from every cell, chameleons are mesmerising subjects to photograph. Their jewel-like pigments glow from each tiny chromatophore, saturating the eye with living colour and detail.
In the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains where I was searching for prime examples, I set up a temporary outdoor studio. Their ponderous movements make live chameleons brilliantly obliging animals in front of the camera, except when it’s feeding time – but I had great fun photographing this in the wild. Anything below 1/1000th of a second failed to record their ballistically extruding tongues. And it’s fascinating to watch – bodies tense and still, eyes intent, their heads recoil before they fire their gluey catapults at their prey. I never saw one miss.
Back in the UK, the collection of dead chameleons needed the ultimate studio set-up. Lighting had to be perfect and the multiple 200 mega pixel focus-stacked files meticulously stitched together. Each fragile specimen had to be extracted from its jar of spirits and carefully placed and once photographed, quickly returned to its smelly sarcophagus. Though they provide a bit of a contrast to the live animals, these dead ones are elevated by a certain opalescent quality, beautiful in its own right.