BBC Wildlife feature my Estonia tour images…

Posted in Conservation Photography, European Wildlife, Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

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I’m proud to say that BBC Wildlife Magazine has chosen to feature a selection of photographs taken by myself and Remo Savisaar during the trip that we co-led for Estonian Nature Tours in 2013. You can enjoy the gallery online at their website discoverwildlife.com

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If this taster of what Estonia has to offer excites you, Remo and I will be introducing guests to Estonia’s fantastic wildlife again in 2014. During this nine-day tour you will have the chance to photograph from hides, boats, vehicles, viewing towers and on foot as we seek out bears, beavers, birds and other animals in Estonia’s vast forests, bogs and wetlands. You can see the full itinerary and tour details on my website conservationphotojournalism.com

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For sale: Canon 400mm f2.8 lens…

Posted in Equipment, Photography, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

My Canon 400mm f2.8 lens has travelled with me throughout Africa, Europe and North America, in the process securing me award-winning photographs. Unfortunately, it’s now time to part company and so I’m looking for a new home for this super-sharp lens. See more details here…

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This is a fast lens for wildlife and sport photography. Its wide aperture frees up the camera to shoot to its highest potential. That same light gathering capability is also great for low-light photography.

The glass elements are in excellent condition and the lens has been kept in a camouflage neoprene coat since I bought it so the body has few signs of wear. If you’re interested, visit the sales page here…

Badger vaccination story wins BWPA

Posted in Conservation, Conservation Photography, European Wildlife, Exhibition, Photography, UK Wildlife, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

I’m proud and excited to announce that my badger vaccination story the alternative is a winner of the 2013 British Wildlife Photography Awards. The six-image portfolio picked up the top award in the Documentary category – my second win in as many years of entering the category (my last win was in 2011 as I served as a judge of the competition in 2012).

The set of photographs documents the process of trapping and vaccinating badgers against bovine TB. Many of the UK’s most influential scientists, NGOs and landowners – such as The Wildlife Trusts and The National Trust – believe vaccination is a viable alternative to culling. Yet, the government has chosen to press ahead with a cull in England, claiming that culling badgers is the best method for controlling bovine TB in Britain’s cattle. Find out more on the Badger Trust website.

This six image edit is taken from my autumn 2011 BBC Wildlife magazine cover feature Kill or Cure, which also featured as an online gallery on their website discoverwildlife.com. You can also see a more complete set of images on my website conservationphotojournalism.com

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the awards in London as I am currently working in Africa but I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all winners in the 2013 British Wildlife Photography Awards. Please support the awards by attending the exhibition as it travels around the UK and by buying the book on the BWPA website.

Why I choose Rohan…

Posted in Photography, Travel, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

From the Rohantime site…

(c) Sam Owen Photography

The huge bear lifted his head in my direction. He knew I was there but he couldn’t see anything thanks to my camouflage. As much as I wanted to sit and watch him feed, I couldn’t stay motionless for long. The mosquitoes were relentless and biting me through my clothing – from my face to my fingertips. I also had cameras and provisions on my back for the night ahead and in 30-degree heat, I was struggling to see for the mix of sweat and Deet running into my eyes. I made the decision to push on and seek refuge in my hide away from the insects and sun, hoping the bear would return to the clearing later and give me a chance to photograph him.

That encounter with a brown bear deep in Estonia’s Western Taiga forest helped me prepare for my upcoming African expedition. As a wildlife photographer I need clothing that will protect me against biting insects and help me cope with intense heat. That’s why I choose Rohan’s Overland shirts. I started wearing the short-sleeve versions while photographing African wild dogs in South Africa a couple of years ago in confidence that the UV-resistant technology would protect me during long days in the harsh African sun (having had a biopsy a few years ago, this technology is important to me).

This time around, not only will I be taking the Ultra Silver t-shirt to provide that extra layer of UV protection but I’m consciously adding the long-sleeve Overland shirt to my list of essential gear too. Over the next two months I will be dodging hippos while canoeing Botswana’s Selinda Spillway, photographing bird life and unparalleled elephant congregations on the Chobe River and tracking predators in Zambia’s Busanga swamps. With malaria a very real risk in these watery wildernesses, I’m going to need the Biteguard™ anti-insect technology of the Overland range as much as its UV protection. The neutral colour palette of the range is also an essential consideration for me when tracking dangerous game.

Because a large number of mosquito bites happen close to the ground, I need to be sure my legs are equally well protected. I count on Rohan’s Trailblazers trousers to deliver this through their Biteguard™ protection. These are without doubt the most comfortable trousers I’ve ever worn and the high degree of stretch in the fabric makes these the perfect trousers for any photographer who – like me – throws himself around a lot to find the best angle on a subject. The convertible option will also allow me to turn those trousers quickly into shorts – perfect for the African winter where cool, crisp mornings quickly give way to hot days.

The heat was also the defining factor when deciding to travel with Rohan’s Freight Vest. I’ll be honest, I used a similar vest made by another manufacturer for years but found it stifling and heavy both on location and while travelling through airports. While I’m walking in the Kalahari Desert in a few weeks time I’ll be grateful for the Freight Vest’s breathability, as well as the conveniently sited pockets large enough to carry my spare DSLR cameras, lenses and batteries.

Having this vest with me will mean I will have the flexibility to leave my camera bag behind if I want to and shoot with more freedom, spontaneity and creativity. I guess those three words sum up how many of us like to travel these days too. Thanks to Rohan, I now can…because I just can’t afford to stop and worry if my gear is going to stand up to the challenges I set it.

Read the full piece and see the Rohan range at Rohantime.com

Hurry…two signed, framed A1 prints for sale…

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

I’m selling two signed, framed prints of African wild dogs from my award-wining project Underdogs. The photographs have great impact at 36in x 24in in size and are tray-mounted in top quality wooden frames. The first is my image ‘survivor‘ from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and International Conservation Photography Awards. The second image is of a young pup exploring the world outside his den in Botswana. I have personally signed both prints and these are the only pictures of mine produced like this.

Both sales end soon on Tuesday the 30th of July. Click on the images below to see more about each lot…

(c) Neil Aldridge

(c) Neil Aldridge

What do you do when you meet a hero?

Posted in Conservation, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

So last night I had the privilege of meeting Sir David Attenborough at a Galapagos Conservation Trust event at BAFTA on London’s Piccadilly. The question is: what do you do when you meet an inspiration, someone who through their life’s work has influenced your decisions about your own career? Some people go quiet in awe, some people go straight in for the autograph, others ask for their photograph to be taken with that person.

So what did I do? Happily, I don’t actually get star-struck and so it was none of the above. As he had given so much to an appreciative audience on a fantastic evening barely three weeks after having heart surgery, I chose to give something back to him – something he could take away – in the form of a signed copy of my book Underdogs with a personal letter of appreciation slipped inside. My love for African wild dogs and my drive to understand them and share their plight has been influenced by memorable scenes in series such as Trials of Life and Planet Earth. Beyond that though, Sir David’s greatest influence on my own work has been in his ethical appreciation for the natural world around him and avoiding sensationalising wildlife encounters by provoking behaviour just for better ratings.

Sir David continues to lead his field of wildlife film-making and he uses his position to engage people in the most uncomfortable and pressing issues facing our own species and our planet. His recent heart surgery should also come as a reminder that he is merely human. For those reasons, among many more, he needs to be respected and treated with dignity. I hope that others will remember this if they should ever get the chance to meet this incredibly inspiring man. While I completely understand the desire to have a record of such meaningful events in life, a digital photograph could be lost on a phone or stolen on a laptop whereas a shared moment with a warm handshake and the exchange of a few sincere words will stay with you for ever. I know it will stay with me. I just hope he likes the book…

One last push – please help by donating…

Posted in African Wildlife, Conservation, Conservation Photography, Photography, Take Action, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

© Neil Aldridge

When I set out to photograph my African wild dog project Underdogs four and half years ago I did so with two goals – to raise awareness of this incredible species and to make a financial contribution towards their conservation. Now, with a major new project on the horizon, I am launching one final push to raise funds for their protection. Please donate to my campaign on indiegogo.com. 100% of the money raised will be donated to wild dog conservation projects in Africa and used to send you ‘perks’ – personal thank yous for donating.

This project has been everything from exciting and fun to testing and emotional. The highs of winning international awards with photographs from this story contrast severely with the lows of coming to terms with knowing that every dog that I followed day-in-day-out in South African has since been killed. I am proud to think that the project has succeeded in raising awareness of the wild dog’s plight. Millions of people around the world have seen this work through international exhibitions, sales of my book, magazine features and online galleries. However, it is contributing to efforts on the ground that will make the greatest impact to the future of this species and this 48-day campaign aims to achieve just that.

Please donate what you can. If you can afford to give between £10 and £25, I will send you a print of one of my award-winning photographs. Any donation between £25 and £100 will see you receive a signed copy of my African wild dog book Underdogs. Donations over £100 will earn you a signed copy of my book and a print of an award-winning photograph in recognition of your generosity. I understand that not everyone can donate but that doesn’t mean you can’t help. Please send this link to others who may be able to contribute.

The African wild dog is in trouble. There are as few wild dogs in Africa as their are Tigers in Asia but, as pack animals, only a small number will ever breed. This means that the future of the entire species rests on only about 10% of the total number of wild dogs remaining – so about 400 individuals. We need to help equip those with the skills to save the species with the right tools. On the campaign page you will see a list of things that I am aiming to help projects access. Your help is appreciated and will make a difference. Thank you!

To donate, visit indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-african-wild-dog/x/3412838

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