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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 | | AUDLEY TRAVELLER | 45We'll send you a voucher to create a photobook with Bob Books in return for any article or photo that we publish in Travellers' Tales. To share your tales and photos, visit Books photobookGet low down and dirtyThere's a saying among pro wildlife snappers that you're not taking great pictures unless you're lying down. If you get down to your subject's eye level, or lower, it gives your subjects more impact and dignity - and also lets you connect with the nature around you too. It also adds atmosphere to the image by helping throwing foregrounds and backgrounds out of focus. "We wanted to see Madagascar's curious and unique species that are endemic to the island"ourselves that this is the only place in the world where they exist. And then we asked ourselves how long they could exist. The burning that we had witnessed when flying into the island was widespread; there is a longstanding 'slash and burn' mentality as they believe that burning the land will regenerate grass to feed animals.However, the grass only re-grows once and then it turns into 'bad lands'. We travelled through kilometre after kilometre of land that had been burnt and was fit for nothing, As far as the eye could see was a vast plain, peppered with satrana, which are fire-retardant palm trees. With increased population (there is no birth control) there is a constant need for wood and food and this has led to severe habitat destruction and hunting.Although felling precious timber had been banned by the previous president, the collection of small quantities of precious timber from national parks was re-authorized in January 2009. This has And an early morning start to visit Lemur Island, Andisabe was well worth it - these lemurs are habituated but only because they are rescued. For anyone concerned that 'habituated' means kept as if in a zoo, that is certainly not the case. They live on an island and they are safe - they don't like water so won't cross it but they are free to roam and they were certainly relaxed and happy. But you can feed them and, as a real bonus, we had them all to ourselves!Equally fascinating were the insects: the huge spiders, millipedes, centipedes and in particular the endearing giraffe-necked weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa), which counted as one of our favourites. Its name is appropriate as it has an extended neck much like that of a giraffe. The female rolls a leaf of a plant to lay an egg inside it. She then cuts the roll away from the rest of the leaf for the egg to hatch. We lost count of how many different lizards, geckos, iguanas and chameleons we saw of a variety of sizes from the smallest chameleon in the world to the large Parson's chameleon. The birds too were plentiful and stunning: bright coloured bee-eaters, pygmy kingfishers, various species of vanga, sunbirds, collared nightjars, Madagascar scops owls, paradise flycatchers to name just a few. Alien Landscapes Seventy to eighty percent of flora and ninety percent of fauna is endemic to Madagascar. It was so easy to take it all for granted and we had to constantly remind Madagascar's foliage hides an astonishingly dense amount of species including (from left) brown lemurs, scops owls and chameleons. All images by Kay and Richard Tremellen-Frost