Archive for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

I am the 2014 European Wildlife Photographer of the Year!

Posted in African Wildlife, European Wildlife, Photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2014 by Neil Aldridge

It’s with humility and immense pride that I can announce that my photograph ‘Living Rock Art‘ has won me the overall title of 2014 GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

The photograph is an artistic take on two blesbok antelope stampeding across the plains of South Africa’s Kariega Game Reserve. The shot was entered in the competition’s Nature’s Studio category before being awarded the overall title by the panel of judges. However, it’s a photo that very nearly didn’t happen…

I was in South Africa working on a story about the rhino poaching crisis and one particular rhino named Thandi that had survived a brutal attack by poachers. I think I had photographed Thandi from every possible angle so my guide – and now good friend – Brendon Jennings and I decided to take a break and explore the floodplains of the Bushman’s River. That’s when we found the herd of blesbok.

With the light on the plains fading fast, I decided to switch to a longer exposure and shoot in a more artistic style than my usual documentary approach. I stepped off the side of the vehicle to use the vehicle as a blind and to get a ground-level angle of the animals stampeding past. That’s when I heard a loud crack…

My ankle had turned in a hole. I landed in a heap in the dust. The pain was unbelievable but, fortunately, I had somehow planted my tripod and camera safely as I fell. I was able to sit up just in time to see the blesbok approaching. I grabbed my camera, locked my focus on them and panned smoothly as they careered past. Only once they had disappeared in a cloud of dust did I turn my attention to my injuries.

My fall may have been but the picture was no accident. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I know that, but I was working hard to capture their movement in a still photograph. What I hadn’t banked on was that the shapes created by their striking black and white leg markings would so closely resemble Bushman rock art, which influenced the title of the image.

I collected my prize in Lunen, Germany at a ceremony marking the competition’s 14th year surrounded by incredibly talented photographers that I have nothing but respect for…which makes this win all the more special.

I’m pleased to say that my success in the competition was not just restricted to Africa’s plains. My photograph of a shoal of tiny Okavango robber fish swimming up the Selinda Spillway in northern Botswana was selected as Highly Commended in the Underwater category too.

All of the winning images can be seen on the competition’s website www.gdtfoto.de

You can see my winning shots and more on my website www.conservationphotojournalism.com

Vote for the meerkat…

Posted in African Wildlife, Photography, Take Action, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2014 by Neil Aldridge

My black and white photograph of a meerkat standing on the edge of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans has been selected in a special 50th anniversary People’s Choice vote in the coveted Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. There are some exceptional pictures in the shortlist taken by some great photographers but please visit the voting page and vote for the picture as your favourite.

(c) Neil Aldridge

The photograph was selected as a finalist in the competition alongside ten more of my pictures. While it would have been nice to have had more success after having so many make the final, it’s a pleasure and privilege to be involved in this special 50th anniversary competition. You can vote for the meerkat and see the other shortlisted shots on the competition website at:

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/wpy/community/peoples-choice/2014/28/sentry-duty.html

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

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

Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Posted in African Wildlife, Conservation, Conservation Photography, European Wildlife, Exhibition, Photography, UK Wildlife, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2010 by Neil Aldridge

My image ‘Survivor‘ has been announced as part of the winning portfolio of the coveted international Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. This image of an alert and vulnerable alpha female African wild dog was chosen as one of the top shots in the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife. You can see the photograph and the stunning exhibition of all the winning photographs at the traveling exhibition in more than 70 cities worldwide, as well as the 20th portfolio book of winning images.

Being a part of the launch and celebration at London’s Natural History Museum during the international year of biodiversity has been something special and the messages from this portfolio have been perhaps more poignant than ever, not just from within this category highlighting the plight of endangered species, but with the advent of the new Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year category as well.

I will be giving a talk about this photograph and elements of my Underdogs project at the Natural History Museum at 14.30pm on Saturday 23 October in the Attenborough Centre as part of the Nature Live series of events.

Visit my main website at www.conservationphotojournalism.com