I always have fun photographing baboons. Their faces are expressive and their interactions remind me of a big family get together. Best of all, they travel in large troops, so if you miss a shot, you have several hundred more chances. Photographically, the problem is that it is easy to photograph baboons, it is hard to photograph a baboon. Removing all of the distractions and focus in on a single behavior or interaction is a serious technical challenge. The solution is a long lens and a lot of patience.
The large male baboon shown above is a good example. Using a long lens (300mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter) I was able to narrow the angle of view, thereby removing the visual distractions. Next I focused on the face, which presented an additional issue, limited depth of field. Long lenses have reduced depth of field and it is essential to control which part of the scene will be in focus. Each twist of the head shifted the point of focus and changed the image. With wildlife, the key is to get the eyes sharp. From that point on, it became a waiting game for when all the elements come together: the head turned in the right direction, the expression interesting, and the eyes in focus.
The image was captured using a Canon 1Ds mark 3, 120-300mm Sigma lens with a 1.4 teleconverter, at 800 ISO.