Bristol

Stampeding antelopes by Neil Aldridge wins top European wildlife photo

Living Rock Art by Neil Aldridge Image copyright Neil Aldridge
Image caption This stampeding blesbok antelopes photograph won the overall European Wildlife Photograph of the Year

A photograph of stampeding blesbok antelopes on the plains of South Africa's Kariega Game Reserve has won best European Wildlife photograph.

The image, called Living Rock Art by Neil Aldridge, aims to "capture the energy and movement of the blesboks in a still frame".

Mr Aldridge of Kenn, North Somerset, said when he saw the image on the back of his camera he "knew it was special".

Even so he said he was "speechless" when the award was announced.

Image copyright Neil Aldridge
Image caption Lions photographed as part of Neil Aldridge's work as a conservation photographer

Mr Aldridge - a conservation photographer - was in South Africa working on a story about the rhino poaching crisis when he found the herd of blesbok.

He said capturing the shot was "difficult" involving slowing down the shutter speed to capture the movement and having to pan smoothly as the antelope ran past.

Image copyright Neil Aldridge
Image caption Thandi the rhino was captured after surviving a brutal attack by poachers

To give the picture even more impact he chose to shoot from ground level but that decision almost proved costly.

As he stepped down from his vehicle there was a loud crack as his ankle turned in a hole causing him to collapse in a heap.

Image copyright Neil Aldrige
Image caption Red squirrels were photographed for conservation features

"The pain was excruciating... I thought I had broken my ankle," he said.

"When I looked up, the antelope were still coming so I grabbed my camera, locked my focus on them and fired off a couple of shots as they stampeded past.

Image copyright Neil Aldridge
Image caption Endangered African wild dogs were photographed for a book about their plight

"I actually hadn't envisaged that the result would so closely resemble Bushman rock art."

Mr Aldridge is a contributing photographer to the BBC Wildlife Magazine, Wild Travel Magazine, South Africa's Go! Magazine and has published a book Underdogs about the endangered African wild dog.

Image copyright Neil Aldrige
Image caption Neil was commissioned to photograph badgers for a feature on the badger cull debate

He has twice been a winner of British Wildlife Photography Awards - first in 2011 with his story documenting a country shoot and again in 2013 with his badger bovine TB vaccination story.

Mr Aldridge collected his prize in Lunen, Germany last night at a ceremony marking the competition's 14th year.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites