Madagascar: More than just a kid's movie!
Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island country and one of the most fascinating due to its unique origins, geography, flora and fauna. For those looking for a spectacular wildlife experience encountering animals full of character and playfulness, the chance to spend time with some of the 60 known lemur species which are only found on this island is an experience to cherish. Many lemurs are fast-moving and shy, living in remote areas that are hard to access, all of which makes photographing them a challenge.
We’ve put together a list of first-hand experiences and tips which will help you to get that perfect lemur shot when travelling in Madagascar. Read our top ten tips to getting the best lemur photographs below:
All throughout Madagascar you’ll benefit from the experience, knowledge and expertise of your local guide. Each national park and forest has unique flora, landscapes and species of lemur, and a specialist guide who is an expert in the local area is a must to make the most of your time and to be able to find the best locations where lemurs can be found. Your local guide can also introduce you to camouflaged chameleons, insects and frogs along the way and their knowledge of flora and fauna can enhance your experience. This use of local guides in each region is mandated by the government, which means that you can also rest assured that you are supporting the local community directly simply by visiting the area.
Get level with your subject
If anyone has tried to take a photo of a bird up a tree you may realise just how hard it is to take a picture of a dark object against a light background. If at all possible, try to get on the same level as the subject you want to photograph by climbing a rock or moving to higher ground. This will help with the lighting conditions and also give you a unique angle. Make sure you don’t go scaling trees with your bare hands though – we’ll leave those stunts to the professionals!
Most wildlife photographers will tell you that they take thousands of images and spend weeks in the wilderness to get that amazing shot. Even if you don’t have that sort of time, you can still slow down to allow the creatures around you to relax and become accustomed to you being in their environment. This will encourage them to behave more naturally in your presence and you may be able to get that ultimate photo!
Shoot burst mode
Lemurs can be fast if they’re on the move! If you’ve encountered a speedy lemur you’d like to photograph, using burst mode can be handy. Burst mode will take several pictures in quick succession and you may find one which is the money shot.
As with any wildlife, the quieter you are the more relaxed the animal will be. Put your camera or phone on silent so as not to disturb them with beeping, and keep your voice low and any movements to a minimum, no matter how excited you are!
Get close, within reason
Sometimes it’s the detail and closeness of a photo which makes it the most beautiful. A zoom lens is a great way to get close to the subject you’re photographing while not encroaching on an animal’s space or putting yourself in harm’s way. Remember, the only good animal encounter is an observational one.
The Eyes have it
The eyes are the windows to the soul after all! Focus on your subject’s eyes and wait till the Lemur looks in your direction to capture its colour and glint.
Take the time to observe movements
If the lemurs are on the move, watch where they are heading and try to move ahead of them so that you can capture a photo as they move past you. Again, be mindful not to corner or trap them, and always have respect for the animals and allow them the right of way.
Nobody wants to be that person! The on who ignores signs saying ‘Do not feed the animals’, shouts too loudly in excitement, pushes in front of others, or scares the wildlife by getting too close to them. Everyone wants the perfect photo, so take your time, be courteous and respectful in the lemur’s home and that amazing shot will come to you!
Put down the camera
It can be easy to forget to put down your camera and simply take the time appreciate the moment and your surroundings, but it’s important to stop and breathe in the excitement of finding yourself in Madagascar! Remember to “Embrace the world, enjoy yourself and be responsible.”
How to plan your trip to Madagascar
Adventure World Travel can tailor a private trip to Madagascar to visit Perinet Special Reserve, Mantadia National Park in Andasibe Reserve and Ranomafana to see lemurs, as well as Isalo National Park, Madagascar's Grand Canyon.