The Full Story
I am an Australian wildlife photographer, specialising in native birdlife.
I am a self-taught photographer. My interest in photography became a passion over ten years ago when I quit my job as a lawyer and began volunteer work with BirdLife WA. Since then, I have been working to produce images for use by conservation organisations across Australia (for free), as well as teaching the art and ethics of bird photography through workshops, talks and articles.
In 2018 I became the first Australian woman to win a category (Invertebrates: Behaviour) in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the world's foremost nature photography competition. My other major achievements include Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year (Portfolio Prize 2016) and Bird Photographer of the Year (Best Portfolio 2020, Silver Award Birds in Flight 2019 and Creative Prize 2018).
In October 2021 I had a book published by Australian Geographic titled "For the Love of Birds - Australian Bird Photography."
Leading By Example
In my book, For the Love of Birds, and through my website, I want to show people that you can practice low impact bird photography and still get beautiful, popular and award-winning bird images.
None of my images are taken using call playback, or of birds at nests, of flushed birds, of ‘farmed’ birds, using live bait, using full flash at night (or at all; in fact I don’t even know how to use one), by going into restricted areas, and/or any other methods that deliberately disturb animals or their habitat.
About this Website
When I first started raising the issue of ethics in bird photography about 10 years ago I met with a lot of resistance, especially from established bird photographers in Australia. Some of them still do many of the things I have mentioned on this website, adamant that they are doing nothing wrong (see my article Common Excuses for Bad Behaviour by Bird Photographers).
On the other hand, the vast majority of photographers, when informed about the potential impact, readily want to do the right thing and are happy to alter their behaviour. It is to those photographers that this website speaks.
Below is a message which I received last year:
‘In the process of learning photography I've come across a lot of people/resources, but they seem to focus on perfect photos rather than the animal’s wellbeing. I've used calls [call playback] a few times and it allowed me to get a bird to sit right in front of me for a moment while I quickly snapped a photo.
But I've now realised it is more important to observe the beauty of the animals (which is how I first got into this hobby) and possibly miss out on a photo if it means they're not interfered with.
So basically I just wanted to thank you for showing that bird photography can be successful and fun while being ethical. Because this aligns my values with my passion and allows me to enjoy the birds whole heartedly.’
As noted in the message above, there are a lot of people/resources on the internet that focus on the perfect bird (or animal) photo and fail to consider the impact of the things they teach on their subjects, let alone raise the issue of ethics with their viewers/followers. Unfortnately, there is also a reluctance on the part of other nature photographers to call out unethical behaviours.
The purpose of this website is to fill the void left by the collective silence of the majority on these issues through education and guidance about what kind of photographic behaviour is and is not likely to negatively impact wildlife and its habitat.