Archive for BBC Wildlife

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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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.

My Okavango Delta gallery is online on BBC Wildlife website…

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

Selinda Spillway © Neil Aldridge

A choice selection of photographs from my Botswana travel portfolio published in the March 2013 issue of BBC Wildlife magazine is now online at discoverwildlife.com – the website of BBC Wildlife. This portfolio compliments the insightful piece by editor Sophie Stafford that uncovers the intricate relationship between the wildlife of northern Botswana and the water that feeds this parched land.

© Neil Aldridge

The story tells how recent research has mapped the movement of animals in relation to the flood cycles of the Okavango Delta and how the dynamics of the Selinda region to the east of the delta has changed now that the Selinda Spillway is flowing again for the first time in 30 years. The story’s sub-plots include how one of the Okavango’s smallest inhabitants – the termite – influences the lay of the land, creating islands that are used by birds, colonised by plants and fought over by leopards as prime hunting territory.

© Neil Aldridge

This is the latest selection of my work to feature on the BBC Wildlife magazine website and follows 2012’s British Columbia portfolio, a badger vaccination portfolio, which accompanied my Autumn 2011 feature in the magazine, and a selection of African wild dog images from my book Underdogs. A second gallery featuring the Bushmen of the Kalahari will be online shortly, so be sure to keep an eye on discoverwildlife.com

Botswana travel feature in BBC Wildlife…

Posted in African Wildlife, Conservation Photography, Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2013 by Neil Aldridge

In April 2012 I travelled to northern Botswana for BBC Wildlife magazine to photograph the intricate relationship between wildlife and water and see how the annual flooding of the Okavango Delta dictates animal movements and behaviour. I’m pleased to say that this portfolio features in the March 2013 issue of BBC Wildlife.

© Neil Aldridge

The photographs illustrate editor Sophie Stafford’s insightful travel feature, which covers research surveying how wildlife populations have changed and moved with recent flood patterns. You can see a selection of photographs from this story in a new gallery on my website. In this gallery, I show how Selinda lions spend their free time, how the yawn of a hippo can make you think twice about getting closer and how one of the Okavango Delta’s smallest inhabitants influences the fortunes of the region’s wildlife.

© Neil Aldridge

Botswana is an incredible country and remains my favourite location for photography and wildlife watching. If you’re thinking about going, be sure to pick up a copy of the March issue of the magazine and give Sophie’s article a read. Also, keep an eye on my website for upcoming photography tours to Botswana.

See more on my website conservationphotojournalism.com

2013 BBC Wildlife Calendar…

Posted in Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

The December 2012 issue of BBC Wildlife magazine goes on sale this week. As well as exceptional features on Ethiopian wolves and giant otters, and a portfolio on winter in Siberia, the issue includes the 2013 edition of the sought-after BBC Wildlife Calendar. I’m really proud to say that two of my photographs feature in the calendar – a malachite kingfisher snapped in the swamps of Botswana’s Okavango Delta earlier this year and a portrait of a white rhino, taken in the home of rhino conservation – South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park.

As you would expect from BBC Wildlife, the calendar – which marks the magazine’s 50th anniversary – is full of wonderful wildlife photographs taken from the equatorial waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve to the frozen wilderness of the arctic circle. Pick up a copy and be inspired.

See these photos and more on my main website…

If you do one thing…

Posted in Conservation, European Wildlife, Take Action, UK Wildlife, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

Sign the e-petition to ask politicians to stop the cull of badgers. The petition needs at least 100,000 people to sign it before government will consider debating the issue in parliament. However, because the badger cull debate has already seen its fair share of u-turns and ignoring of scientific findings by authorities, those of us fighting the cull want to see as many signatures recorded as possible, making public opinion on the matter simply impossible to ignore.

I am going to assume that because you are on my blog, you are either my mother or you have at least some interest in wildlife and conservation. I am also going to assume that because you are still reading this piece, you find the issue surrounding the badger cull in Britain of interest. In which case, I will ask you again to please sign the e-petition.

If you’re still uncertain about what you’re signing and fear that you may be aligning yourself with extreme animal rights activists and an anti-farmer movement, fear not. The petition merely requests government employs an alternative approach to culling badgers in the control of TB in cattle. Vaccination is already a viable alternative but it is being developed even further with plans to make an oral vaccine for badgers widely available. Those of you that follow my work will recall my 2011 BBC Wildlife feature that highlighted vaccination as a viable alternative to culling. There is further information about all of the options and science on the Badger Trust website.

The UK has already extirpated a long list of animals, many of which were seen to be somehow incompatible with humans and our farming practices in particular. Don’t let the badger join the lynx, white-tailed eagle, osprey, wild boar and wolf. Sign the petition!

See my latest work on the BBC Wildlife website…

Posted in Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

A selection of some of my latest work is currently online on the BBC Wildlife magazine website discoverwildlife.com. This online gallery showcases 14 of my photographs from my recent visit to British Columbia. The portfolio is a cross-section of the mammals, birds and habitats that I encountered. A more comprehensive selection of shots can be seen in the North American Wildlife gallery on my website.

This is the latest gallery of my work to feature on the BBC Wildlife magazine website and follows a badger vaccination portfolio, which accompanied my Autumn 2011 feature in the magazine, and a selection of African wild dog images from my book Underdogs.

See more of my work on my site conservationphotojournalism.com

Botswana…dream-maker, equipment-breaker (Part Two)…

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

As I wrote last week, for all of its beauty and allure, northern Botswana can hold some valuable lessons for the photographer. From the dry Kalahari desert to the lush delta of the Okavango, it is a land of contrasts. And so it is from my encounter with this lethally-dry Kalahari dust in my last post that I take you to the cool, refreshing domain of the hippo and crocodile.

In order to tell the story of northern Botswana’s wildlife and wild places you have to think water. As a photographer, there are a few ways to capture the importance of water to the region and its wildlife. One approach is from the air. Picking out hippos and herds of elephants in the vast landscape of channels, swamps and islands makes aerial photography here a real treat. The other approach is from in the water. Now, I’m no David Doubilet and the remit for my commission in northern Botswana was almost exclusively terrestrial. As a result, my already heaving luggage wasn’t going to contain a sturdy, professional underwater camera rig. I did manage to squeeze in a flexible ewa-marine housing for my slr though. The only problem with this particular housing is that it has no way of accommodating a flash unit and despite shooting in the crystal-clear waters of the Okavango Delta, additional lighting was essential to the kind of shot I had in mind – a split-level view of the delta’s water lilies in flower and the tangled network of roots and reeds beneath the surface.

Planning ahead (or so I thought), I packed a dozen clear freezer bags and a LOT of tape. My plan was to waterproof my flash unit in the freezer bags, run the off-camera chord out of the top of the underwater housing (which could remain open seeing as I was shooting split-level) and secure the flash underneath the housing using the tape. I had used a similarly ‘Heath Robinson’ set-up in the past to shoot water-level shots of white-tailed eagles in Scotland and so I had reason to be confident.

The strong pre-flood currents flowing through the delta washed me along until I found the right spot to stop and try my hand. Hippos had opened up a channel through the papyrus reeds where it was shallow enough to stand. The temperature of the water made it a pleasure to stay in and search for the right composition while the afternoon light seemed just right for photography. With the support crew on hippo-watch, I was loving every minute of it. When I started to notice my flash strobing by itself though I couldn’t help think that perhaps the inviting waters had made me too comfortable. I had been in the water for so long that my home-made rig had lost its ‘infallible’ waterproofing and the unit had begun to short-circuit. Back on the boat I rushed to get the batteries out and get the unit drying in the sun. Knowing what was still ahead in my itinerary and my regular use of flash to fill the dark shadows created by the harsh African sun, I couldn’t afford to lose my flashgun at this stage.

Back at Xigera lodge, I was finally able to check the results of the afternoon’s escapades. Luckily, not only did the flashgun make a full recovery but I discovered that the flood-induced short-circuit had happened after I captured the scene I had envisaged in my head. To see the full results of this shoot hosted and supported by Wilderness Safaris and Botswana Tourism, you’re going to have to wait a little longer for them to be published in print, so keep an eye on this blog for more news…

Visit my main website at www.ConservationPhotojournalism.com

Botswana…dream-maker, equipment-breaker (Part One)…

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

As the old adage suggests…if you can see the white of the eyes then you’re pretty close. This is even true in the case of elephants. For the most part, an elephant’s eyes seem tiny compared to their colossal grey bulk and are lost somewhere amongst cavernous wrinkles and behind a curtain of wiry eyelashes. It was this white of an elephant’s eye that I was seeing through my viewfinder. That’s how close we were after spending several frustrating days searching for that shot which captures the essence of northern Botswana more than any other – thirsty elephants reveling in water.

Northern Botswana is not only one of the world’s premier wildlife-watching locations, it also  happens to be my favourite destination for photography and wildlife. As a result, being on the Selinda Reserve to the east of the Okavango Delta with the inspirational Great Plains Conservation and Botswana Tourism as my hosts, I was in my element. Our guide Reuben was making my job a lot easier too. Always thinking one step ahead by considering the light and lay of the land, he instinctively placed the vehicle in the right place each time without me needing to ask. Our only problem was that the resident elephants were being unusually skittish and seemed to be thinking even one step ahead of Reuben. Finally, after combing the reserve by boat and truck, we chanced across a relaxed herd approaching the water.

I lifted my chunky 400mm f2.8 lens and rested my beanbag between it and the side of the vehicle to give me a steady platform. All lined up while quenching their thirsts, the herd of pachyderms was performing wonderfully. Just as I pressed the shutter to fire off the first frames though, my camera all of a sudden became strangely light in my hands and the view through the viewfinder became nothing but a white blur. My five kilogram lens had inexplicably unclipped itself from the teleconverter and tumbled the best part of two metres off the side of the vehicle. After some initial muted cursing and a scrambled recovery of my most prized piece of gear from the sand below, I was able to come up with one positive from this embarrassing blunder – at least we weren’t shooting from a boat as we had been doing the previous evening. It turns out that an accumulation of Kalahari dust had made the clip holding the teleconverter to the lens stick and fail.

Painful lesson number one learned…keep your gear as clean as possible or you’ll spend several lonely hours picking sand out of every corner, crack and connection while everyone else is having a good time! I guess at this stage I can also pay homage to the build quality of Canon equipment if a lens can just be picked up and dusted off after such a sickening tumble to the sand below.

Lesson number two was as potentially disastrous but more a result of my own over-confidence. Check back soon for how not to waterproof a camera…

Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com

Underdogs reviewed in BBC Wildlife…

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

A review of my new African wild dog book Underdogs features in the February 2012 issue of BBC Wildlife magazine. The book fills the much sought after ‘Picture Book Choice’ slot with the following review:

“This is a book with heart. Photojournalist Neil Aldridge’s love of wild dogs shines through his beautiful images and passionate prose. Majoring on the species’ fight to survive – as poignantly illustrated by alpha female Stellar and her pack – this timely book highlights current conservation efforts, and offers a glimmer of hope for the future.”

This review follows a recent online gallery that can be seen on the magazine’s website discoverwildlife.com. The latest issue of BBC Wildlife is out now and features a touching image of lions by Andy Rouse on the cover. There is a special BBC Wildlife reader offer on Underdogs throughout February through NHBS. Underdogs is also available to buy on my website and on Amazon. With a donation from sales made to wild dog conservation, I urge you to please help this highly endangered carnivore by ordering your copy today.

Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com