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page 52 | | AUDLEY TRAVELLER | 43Travellers' Tales | Q&A | Final WordOver to youWe're always keen to read your stories and see photographs of your travels - do get in touch at and Peter travelled to Sri Lanka with AudleyT he hotel restaurant hadn't yet opened for breakfast when we climbed yawning into our safari jeep, and headed off towards Yala National Park in Sri Lanka for our second safari into this park.Our first trip there the day before had ended in a torrential tropical downpour, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Our guide had pointed out that leopards - like all cats - don't like the rain so our chances of seeing one was not likely. I was glad it wasn't a self-drive trip; I certainly wouldn't have liked to have driven back in the cascading rain. What we didn't know was that the previous evening's rain was actually going to work in our favour. Our chauffeur/guide Shantha, who was escorting us around Sri Lanka, sat in the front cab with the driver. Peter and I sat in the back of our eight-seater vehicle with the park guide, who had to accompany us on all our trips there. Our driver was not one to follow the others, so we soon went off on our own route. We'd only been in the Park for about ten minutes when, from the bushes at the side of the road, appeared a male leopard; I hadn't even had time to check the camera was set up properly. Our driver immediately turned the jeep for a better view. I just snapped away, not knowing how long the cat would stay there. But this chap was in no hurry to disappear. Last night's rain had washed away where he'd marked his territory, so he was going to re-mark it no matter who was watching.He sniffed, he sprayed, he rolled around in the grass and lay in the middle of the road in front of the jeep, but he stayed with us for a magical 15 to 20 minutes. As he walked up along the road our driver carefully followed him. As there was only the two of us in the vehicle (thanks to private vehicles) we were able to move around easily to see what he was up to. Looking at my images of the leopard now it seems that while he was there, he had kept his eye on us all the whole time. Then another jeep came up along the track behind us, our driver and guide tried to signal to them to slow down. But the leopard decided that the show was over and disappeared in to the shrubs - two steps into the undergrowth and it was invisible.But boy were we popular with the other drivers and guides when we stopped later that morning on the beach to eat our breakfasts. They crowded round to see my photos and the video Peter had taken of himOur third and last trip into Yala was later that afternoon, we saw lots of other animals and birds but no leopards - or so we thought. As we had left the park, in the failing light one walked boldly across the road in front of us. So our trip to Yala had rewarded us with two sightings of that elusive leopard. What a fantastic day.sri Lanka"Our Yala trip rewarded us with leopards"Looking backLesley's photographs of one of Yala's leopards

44 | AUDLEY TRAVELLER | Creating an atmospheric portraitOne way to cheat a detail-dense portrait that's also full of the subject's personality is to shoot wide and in close-up. Get really close to your subject - with their permission first - with a wide-angle lens or the widest part of a compact zoom (ideally 28mm or below). This should accentuate their strongest features - their eyes, expression or clothes. But avoid tilting the lens, as this can cause unflattering distortion.SkiesA good sky can really make an image. There is nothing worse than a dull grey or bland blue sky lacking in interest. Clouds play an important part also in casting shadows on the landscape before you, adding form and dimension. If you have a great sky then let it have its say! Try devoting two thirds of the image to the sky."Madagascar was like five holidays in one"Wow! We had to kick ourselves - we were finally here in Madagascar, experiencing this fascinating environment, seeing the most amazing species and meeting such wonderful people. We had chosen to restrict our three week visit to five different parts of the country: Andasibe and Mantadia, Pangalanes Canal, Masoala, Majunga and Manafiafy in order to see different environs but to have sufficient time to fully appreciate each. This was like five holidays in one. We'd watched so many documentaries on Madagascar before leaving so you'd think we'd have known what to expect but there is nothing quite like experiencing the sights, smells, sounds and ambiance for yourself. Flying into Antananarivo, known as Tana, we were staggered by the number of large fires burning across the island, and more so by the scent of wood smoke as we made our way across the airport apron to the arrivals hall. In fact, this burning was to make an impact on us throughout the following three weeks.Meeting lemurs Our main reason for deciding to go to Madagascar was, like many, to see at first hand the curious and unique species which are endemic to the island. We saw so much it's difficult to know where to start. The call of the indri which can travel over three kilometres is amazing and has to be heard to be appreciated. It makes you shudder. But that was nothing like arriving in the forest to be greeted by Kay and Richard Tremellen-Frost travelled to Madagascar with Audleytheir iconic cries. There was just us, our guide and the forest guide; the noise of the indri was getting increasingly louder to the point of deafening. The forest guide hurried us up, breaking through deep foliage and trees to all sides. And then right above us were three large black-and-white fluffy creatures munching on the leaves. The first time you see any animal in the wild is breathtaking and this certainly was. We spent a lot of time throughout the holiday just watching in sheer wonder. Diademed sifaka, Coquerel's sifaka, brown lemurs, black and white-ruffed lemurs, red-ruffed lemurs, woolly lemurs, bamboo lemurs, Western Milne Edward's sportive lemurs, and the nocturnal Goodman's mouse lemur kept us occupied and amused for hours. MADAGASCAR