Archive for 2012

Help…I’m drowning in nostalgia!

Posted in Photography, Travel, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

A quick glance around you in the run up to new year’s eve is likely to reveal newspapers each featuring special ‘2012 in review’ supplements, a television set showing one panel show’s ‘special Christmas edition’ after another (probably all filmed sometime in August), websites showcasing their ‘pictures of the year’ and a host of blogs by photographers reviewing their achievements in the year gone by. I was tempted to wade in and join the nostalgic party but if I – someone who neither owns a television nor buys newspapers – feel somewhat overwhelmed then I’m guessing you could do without one more person jumping up and down shouting “look what I did, look what I did”, right?

I also figured that if you did come to this blog expecting a what-was-what in the world of Conservation Photojournalism in 2012, it would be a lot simpler for you to use one finger to just scroll your mouse down the page and pick out the highlights that I bothered to write at the time, thereby saving ten of my fingers the effort of revisiting old news.

In the midst of all this nostalgia, I’m really looking forward to 2013. The first few weeks of the year will be taken up with a plethora of competition submissions of various sizes and guises, the completion of my first ebook and the launch of a range of high quality photographic prints for sale via my website. In terms of destinations, I will be exploring new locations like the Galapagos Islands and returning to old favourites like the Highlands of Scotland. I also have the first of my new photo tours to Estonia in partnership with Remo Savisaar running in May. Finally, with my African wild dog book Underdogs now firmly on the shelves of shops or (hopefully) living rooms, I will be putting the finishing touches to the proposal for my new, dream project and hopefully doing the first recce trip later in the year. Stay tuned…2013 is going to be a great year!

Get on top of your photography in 2012…

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

Do you want to take better wildlife photographs? There’s no better way of learning than in the field so why not join me on one of my exclusive photo trips? As a professional wildlife guide and award-winning photojournalist, I take pleasure in showing people the beauty of our natural world. I invite you to join me on one of my photo tours to Europe or safaris to Africa, created to offer you the perfect opportunity to experience some of natures most inspiring places and to learn how to better photograph its wild wonders.

Africa has a diversity of wildlife, breathtaking scenery and stunning lighting that makes it a favourite with photographers. Wanderlust, the world’s leading travel magazine, has selected my Land of Giants African photo safari as one of their top trips for 2012, as seen in their December 2011 issue. This exclusive photographic tour to the Limpopo Valley is led by myself in partnership with carnivore expert Dr Peter Neville. Check out my website for the full safari itinerary, trip information and how to make a booking with my expert travel partners Tracks Safaris.

Done Africa? Perhaps you’re looking for a new adventure? I’ve teamed up with leading Estonian wildlife photographer Remo Savisaar to offer just 6 people the chance to discover and photograph Estonia, one of Europe’s wildest countries. This exciting new 9-day photo tour combines specialist photographic tuition with expert wildlife guiding. So why not take a look at the itinerary we have in store?

With professional training and qualifications in both photography and wildlife guiding, coupled with experirience and an award-winning quality, I believe my photo tours offer the right package for you to improve and enjoy your wildlife photography. Working with leading photographers and guides adds even greater value to your experience. But don’t just take my word for it. Come and see for yourself.

More information on my website at conservationphotojournalism.com

2011…setting a challenging pace

Posted in Photography, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by Neil Aldridge

Before I came to my senses and picked up a camera I used to row internationally (yes, that’s right…I used to think that getting up before dawn and training twice a day most of the year was fun). One of the most annoying things about racing was always when an opposing crew would blast out of the blocks, intent on setting a blistering pace from the start and making you play catch-up. I guess it would be like an arch rival throwing a personal best in the first round of the Olympic javelin competition. Well, for me, the year of 2011 has been a bit like that annoying rival. It’s set a standard that’s going to take new efforts to beat.

Another way of looking at it is that 2011 has been a pretty good year. More than two million people around the world will have seen my African wild dog image Survivor from the 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition during the competition’s traveling exhibition. Winning this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards documentary category for my country shoot portfolio was also a fantastic honour. This win brought another of my conservation stories to the fore shortly after my BBC Wildlife Magazine feature on the badger ‘cull versus vaccination’ debate hit the shelves – and the magazine’s front cover – in the autumn. However, my third conservation photo story to make it into the public domain was my biggest story of all and the culmination of three years of work. In December my African wild dog book Underdogs was published and, well, it’s a little early to say how it’s gone down but no doubt the reviews will soon start trickling in. I also supported the launch of the book with a talk at the Natural History Museum and this talk wasn’t my only event at this world-renowned institution in 2011 as it followed a short series of photo workshops earlier in the year.

After all of that it probably sounds like I haven’t actually done much photography in 2011. And that is largely true. Being a photojournalist I do spend a lot of time in front of the computer and this year a lot of that time was spent writing Underdogs. I did get to some wonderful locations though. Scotland and Estonia both cemented themselves as favourite locations and made their way back into my plans for 2012 based on what I saw, who I met and the shots I got.

Perhaps I have been a little harsh on 2011 calling it the ‘annoying rival’. After all – coming back to my racing – I remember that there never was a better feeling than coming from behind to beat an opponent. I guess in my celebration of the year that has passed I am just a little daunted at the work that lies ahead of me to make 2012 even better. But then that’s the nature of wildlife photography. Boundaries are being pushed and new markers set in the sand all the time not only by technological advances in equipment but by the techniques and wonderful imagination and innovation of other photographers.

So am I up for the challenge to put 2011 in its place? You bet! With Wanderlust-approved photo safaris in Africa, a brand new photo tour to Estonia in conjunction with Remo Savisaar and some ambitious projects to test my photography, equipment and field skills all in the pipeline, 2012 already looks like it’s going to be a fantastic year. So happy new year and stay tuned…

Keep up to date on my main site conservationphotojournalism.com

Dr Neville, I presume?

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by Neil Aldridge

Okay, so my first meeting with Peter Neville overlooking the mighty Limpopo didn’t quite have the historical gravitas of Stanley’s famous meeting with Livingstone on the banks of Lake Tanganyika in 1871 but that doesn’t make it an insignificant one. In 2009 I was in the Limpopo Valley photographing African wild dogs for my book Underdogs (a book that Peter has since penned the foreword for) and he was in the valley leading a safari with guests from all over the world. It was abundantly clear that Peter shared the same enthusiasm and passion for this Land of Giants as I. If his continuing support for African wild dog conservation efforts in the area didn’t prove it, then the fact that he returned each year with guests to share with them the splendour of this overlooked corner of Southern Africa certainly sealed the deal.

Thankfully, Underdogs and African wild dog conservation are not where our professional dealings ended. Our passion for the Limpopo Valley and mutual understanding of the importance of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area have inspired us to combine our collective guiding skills with my wildlife photography experience and Peter’s knowledge of animal behaviour. As a result, we are proud to be able to announce our 2012 safari dates. A full itinerary and contact details are available on my main website.

Highlights of the trip include the chance to photograph many of the natural world’s true giants all in one valley – big cats, great herds of elephant, huge baobab trees, large birds of prey, the striking kori bustard (the world’s heaviest flying bird), the ostrich (the world’s largest bird), the massive eland (the world’s largest antelope) and the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe. On top of that, the valley boasts a bird list of around 400 species.

The sandstone hills and ridges that line the valley are not only home to leopards and black eagles, they also bear the evidence of the valley’s rich bushman past through rock paintings and archaeological artifacts. We will be exploring these hills and working on elements of landscape photography while watching animals on the plains below. The African sun washes these sandstone rocks with a golden hue at sunrise and sunset and makes landscape photography a true pleasure at this time of year.

The Limpopo’s riverine forest supports great herds of elephant and our final destination hosts the greatest concentration of African elephant on privately owned land. The chance of seeing and photographing rare and endangered animals like the African wild dog also makes this a particularly special place to visit. So why not join us?

Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com