Verreaux’s sifakas are found only in southern and southwestern Madagascar. They are not as endangered as many of the island’s lemurs, but their numbers are falling, mainly because of deforestation. They are most often photographed crossing open areas of ground, jumping upright, as if on springs. But when Heinrich found a group feeding in trees in the Nahampoana Reserve, what impressed him was the extraordinary way they use the technique to leap from one tree to another. ‘They spring off their back legs, then twist in the air to land perfectly on the next trunk,’ says Heinrich. The photographic conditions were ideal – the sifakas in shadow and a bright background behind – enabling him to use a slow shutter speed for the background effect of movement and a flash to freeze the leap.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 16-35mm lens; 1/12 sec at f9; ISO 100; two Quantum flashes.
Nahampoana Reserve, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar