Russian contributor Andrey Gudkov’s portfolio is a up, close and personal insight into the playful characteristics of the animal kingdom. From Komodo dragons fighting, baby leopards playing and buffalo running literally for their lives, he captures ever element and essence of the world’s wildlife. We asked him to give some background into how he manages to get so close to his subjects, focusing in on the lemurs of Madagascar.

“This is the ring-tailed lemur and the pictures here were taken in Madagascar, in the Berenty national park, one of the best places in Madagascar to observe ring-tailed lemurs and the dancing lemurs – sifakas.

Ring-tailed  lemurs live in small groups. They are very mobile animals. I traveled to this park several times and observed them, trying to understand how to picture them in the best way possible in order to show, first of all, their distinctive features of character and their pose and expression of a “face”.

Ring-tailed lemur on the ground. Madagascar. An excellent illustration.

Finally, I understood that the best way to show one ring-tailed lemur to a viewer is through the eyes of the lemur himself.  For this purpose I put the camera on the ground, using a wide-angle lens and used a remote control with the camera to run lock and focus.

Two ring-tailed lemurs playing with each other. Madagascar. An excellent illustration.

After a while, several curious lemurs began to gather around my  camera lying on the earth, they started to to sniff at it, muzzling into  lens.  I only had to push the button and take the photos.

This is  one of lemur’s species, Sifaka Verro. It is also called “the dancing lemur”.  The animal got its name for its specific way of moving on the ground. Sifakas overcomes a distance with jumps similar to that of a ballerina’s – hands apart, legs are crossed together, all movements are smooth.

Dancing Sifaka jumping. Madagascar. An excellent illustration.

One of animals’ habitat is the South of Madagascar – the national park of Berenty.

Something specific to Sifaka Verros inhabiting Berenty is that they spend the night in high trees in a  small forest adjoining the park. And they feed on the other side of the park on other trees which abound in the flowers, fruits and leaves lemurs have fallen so much in love with. These two areas are divided by open areas of a road and a wasteland. Every morning groups of these animals cross these areas by jumps which are so similar to dances. A  photographer’s task is  to wait for this moment, and to photograph Sifaka from the lowest point.”   

A big thank you to Gudkov for speaking with us! Discover more of his amazing photos on his Fotolia portfolio here.