It was early afternoon, and the light was still bright. The high-contrast was too much for photographing elephant, zebra or giraffe, but there were still some good opportunities to be had at the start of this afternoon drive.

A female baboon feeds on a sausage fruit in South Luangwa National Park

When I spotted this baboon sitting on a low branch, eating a sausage fruit, I drove closer to watch. It’s remarkable to observe the strength of a relatively small primate as it rips through the tough flesh of the fruit with its teeth.

As the sun dropped, it began to backlight the baboon, and I moved the vehicle to place a large dark green bush as the background to the shot. As the baboon ripped at the fruit, she had her head down, but occasionally she would look around while feeding. It was at these moments, that we had a chance to grab some interesting images.

In bright light, backlighting often leads to a horribly under-exposed subject. But if you are able to place a dark background behind your subject, you can show off the rim-lighting effect in the animal’s fur without losing detail in its face.

A female baboon looks up momentarily from her meal of a sausage fruit in South Luangwa National Park
There is just enough contact with her eyes here to ensure the viewer is engaged with the shot.