Archive for Estonia

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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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!

International Conservation Photography Awards

Posted in Conservation, Conservation Photography, Exhibition, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

Six photographs from my African wild dog book Underdogs have won an award at the International Conservation Photography Awards in Seattle, USA.

In total, seven of my images feature in the winning portfolio currently exhibited at Seattle’s Burke Museum. You can also see the images on the competition’s website icpawards.com. The six African wild dog photographs feature in the Documenting a Conservation Project category. My image of the colourful Viru bog in Estonia features as highly commended in the Landscape category (join me in Estonia in 2013).

The awards were held at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on Friday the 29th of June. I also presented a talk to visitors and fellow photographers on my work with fellow ICPA winner and conservation photographer Sam Owen at the public opening of the exhibition on Saturday 30 June.

The Underdogs project has enjoyed great success internationally. This prestigious award is the project’s latest achievement in a list that includes the 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and an ILCP exhibition in the United States.

See the Underdogs gallery on my website or get your signed copy of the book via the online shop.

Join Me – New 2013 Estonia Photo Tour Dates

Posted in Conservation Photography, European Wildlife, Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

Discover one of Europe’s most exciting wildlife destinations with two international award-winning wildlife photographers. Join myself and Estonian photographer Remo Savisaar in May 2013 on a 9-day photo tour as we travel from coast to forest and from bog to riverbank photographing Estonia’s wildlife and wild places.

This exciting new photo tour combines specialist photographic tuition with expert wildlife guiding. We will be photographing bears, birds, beavers and Estonia’s famous bogs, amongst other wild things and beautiful places.

There are only six places available on this trip, so check out the full itinerary on my website and then contact our travel partners Estonian Nature Tours to secure your place.

See the full itinerary on my website conservationphotojournalism.com

Join me at the Rutland Birdfair…

Posted in African Wildlife, Conservation, European Wildlife, Photography, UK Wildlife, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by Neil Aldridge

I’ll be at the British Birdfair in Rutland this August delivering a talk and promoting my 2013 photo tours. Join me in Lecture Marquee 2 at 2.30pm on Sunday the 19th of August where I will be talking about Africa’s wonderful Limpopo Valley and sharing my experiences of this true Land of Giants.

Over the course of the three days I will also be spending time on the Estonian Nature Tours stand talking about our 2013 photo tours to this exciting European location. We’re relaunching our tour for 2013 so come along and find out about photographing Estonia’s wildlife and wild places in the company of myself and leading Estonian photographer Remo Savisaar.

I have also donated a signed copy of my new book Underdogs to the Birdfair auction (lot 18). This is a great chance to get your hands on a copy of my new book and make sure your money supports international conservation efforts. To date, the Birdfair has raised nearly £2.5million for conservation efforts.

See you there…

Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com

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

Join me in Estonia in 2012…

Posted in European Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by Neil Aldridge

Done Africa? Looking for a new adventure? I have teamed up with leading Estonian wildlife photographer Remo Savisaar to offer just six people the chance to discover and photograph one of Europe’s wildest countries. This exciting new 9-day photo tour combines specialist photographic tuition with expert wildlife guiding.

Join us as we travel from the capital Tallinn to the Baltic coast and Saaremaa Island where excellent birdlife, coastal landscapes and vast forests await us. After leaving Saaremaa we will head east in search of beavers, bears and bogs. For a full itinerary, head over to my website.

With the tour limited to just six guests, Remo and I will have the chance to work both with the group as a whole and with each guest individually to develop specific skills and interest. Estonia is an exciting location full of opportunities for photographers of all levels. At the end of my first trip I didn’t want to get on the plane home and we’re confident you’ll feel the same. So why not take a look at the itinerary we have in store?

Bear & Marsh Harrier images © Remo Savisaar – visit Remo’s website

More information on my website at conservationphotojournalism.com

Wild Estonia

Posted in European Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by Neil Aldridge

Estonia’s bogs, ancient forests and meadows support a diversity and abundance of wildlife long forgotten in most European countries. This richness makes the country a pleasure to explore as a photographer and wildlife watcher. Estonia is fast becoming one of Europe’s birding hotspots and having watched short-toed eagles, nutcrackers, honey buzzards and three-toed woodpeckers during my recent trip, I can see why. It can also be one of the best places to see some of Europe’s large mammals like bear, wild boar, elk, lynx, wolf and beaver.

With food plentiful and the forests thick with growth, summer can be a difficult time to see these large mammals but it was the wealth of healthy ecosystems supporting this wildlife that really drew my attention as a photographer. The dedicated portfolio on my website is just my take on why Estonia is so special and why I cannot wait to return. Keep an eye on the Safaris & Workshops page for details of how you can join me on an exciting photo tour to one of Europe’s smallest but wildest countries, organised in partnership with Estonian Nature Tours.

It is not only wildlife that is intrinsically connected to Estonia’s various habitats though. Many people still gather wild food in the forests, fish the large lakes and hunt for meat. This connection with the offerings of the land reinforces just how important Estonia’s landscapes are. However, many Estonians that I spoke to fear that the awareness of the importance of the country’s habitats is being lost. Wildlife tourism through local pioneering companies like Estonian Nature Tours not only helps to celebrate Estonia’s natural heritage but it generates valuable income for local economies. And one knock-on effect of a successful eco-tourism industry is increased protection for wildlife and wild places.


Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com

Ripples in the reeds

Posted in European Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2011 by Neil Aldridge

‘Beaver!’ Remek’s outstretched arm pointed to a shady patch in the shallows under some river-side vegetation. My usually sharp eyes struggled to find anything vaguely animal-like in the dark waters. A sudden loud splash signalled where the young beaver had grown tired of my ineptitude and disappeared beneath the surface, slapping his tail in disgust as he went.

I was on the Emajogi, a river in southern Estonia, with wildlife filmmaker and photographer Remek Meel. Having watched, researched, filmed and photographed beavers in his native Estonia for almost all of his life, Remek has become the country’s beaver specialist. It is these years of experience of looking for beavers that makes Remek able to locate them simply by looking for what he calls ‘strange ripples’ coming from within reeds or from under overhanging vegetation. Perhaps that’s where I was going wrong – I was looking for mud-brown creatures against a mud-brown, shadowy backdrop in the fading light just before sunset.

As we went on and I had slipped into Remek’s method, it became easier to spot them. We were picking them out at such a rate that we eventually lost count once we passed the mark of Remek’s record for an evening’s Beaver watching. It was at this point that it became clear just how healthy the Beaver population has become in Estonia. Beavers were once ruthlessly hunted in Europe and by the start of the 20th Century had disappeared from all but a handful of waterways in Germany, France, Norway and Belarus. Reintroduction programmes and the introduction of protection measures have seen them make a remarkable comeback across the continent though. The UK is following suite now too with breeding, monitoring and reintroduction projects developing across the country, such as the one at the renowned Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands.

The close viewing opportunities and Remek’s infectious enthusiasm for these semi-aquatic mammals make spending a day on the Emajogi River with him an absolute must for any wildlife watcher or photographer visiting Estonia. A selection of Remek’s work can be seen on his Nature Observer website but to be shown how to look for those ripples in the reeds yourself, contact Estonian Nature Tours directly.

Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com