Chris was born in Southampton in 1961 and as soon as he was crawling around suburbia ladybirds were being desiccated in matchboxes and tadpoles 'tortured' in jam jars. Husbandry skills improved and the menagerie expanded to large collections of reptiles (inside) and birds of prey, foxes, badgers, squirrels etc (generally outside). A precocious young scientist, swat and nerd- in-training he studied kestrels, shrews and badgers in his teens and undergraduate days at the Zoology department of Southampton University. He also embraced Punk Rock and played in a band, and the DIY ethos and determination to never take ‘no’ for an answer are forcefully retained. Post graduation and a cancelled PhD, (the badgers were getting a bit much), he began taking still photographs and trained as a wildlife film cameraman. The photography continues with exhibitions and invitations to judge prestigious competitions. In 2010 Chris was awarded the Dilys Breese BTO Medal for ‘his outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences’. In 2014 Chris became the President of the BTO, a position he will hold for four years.
Peter has worked in the Photographic and Sports Optics industry for over 30 years. Since 2007 he has been with Swarovski Optik as the Country Manager of the UK and Ireland. Peter has an interest in all types of outdoor nature activities which he likes to enjoy in the company of his pet dog Alfie. A particular fondness for birds and an enthusiasm for the work of the British Trust for Ornithology, has resulted in a committed relationship between the BTO and Swarovski Optik. Participating in and supporting Bird Photographer of the Year is a natural progression of this alliance. His knowledge of birds and appreciation of quality optics will provide a discerning input to the judging process.
Originally trained as a zoologist at Bristol University, a spell in bookselling and a specialisation in entomology resulted in a career in publishing. Now Publishing Director at William Collins, where he has worked since 1987, Myles is currently responsible for the science, outdoor and nature titles, including the renown New Naturalist series. He has always held a deep fascination of the natural world, with a particular fondness for the fauna of Suffolk and the Outer Hebrides. Having used thousands of images over the years to illustrate these books, he knows a thing or two about what makes an image stand out from the crowd. Myles is delighted to be a part of the judging process and to publish the first Bird Photographer of the Year book.
Mark Avery is an author, writer and blogger - and an environmental campaigner. He is a scientist by training and worked for the RSPB for 25 Years - 13 of them as its Conservation Director. He does know one end of a bird from another, but hasn't taken a photograph for ages. Links: Dr Mark Avery Birdwatch , BBC Wildlife's Power List , Inglorious: conflict in the uplands , Behind the Binoculars, interviews with acclaimed birdwatchers (with Keith Betton)
Jeff joined the staff of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in 1970 and has enjoyed several different roles over a 40 year period. He is currently Head of Marketing for the BTO and oversees all publications produced by the Trust as well as its photographic image library. He has been a keen and active birder and bird ringer since an early age. Living in Norfolk has afforded him the opportunity of working with several Breckland bird specialities, including the Stone-curlew, a species which has fascinated him for 30 years.
Alan Capel has worked in the Photography Industry for over 25 years. Whilst working as a freelance cartoonist he stumbled across the world of stock and, except for a brief sojourn trying to sell expensive photographic art on the internet, has been here ever since. Alan started as a picture researcher at Tony Stone Images, the company then became Getty Images and he held a number of senior positions as the company shifted from analogue to digital. Alan joined Alamy shortly after its inception in 2000 and as Head of Content is responsible for Alamy’s images and the recruitment and management of the contributors who provide them. The site has over 56 million stock, news and historical pictures from over 40,000 photographers and over 600 picture agencies. He developed Alamy’s strategy for social media and was most recently responsible for their mobile phone app ‘Stockimo’. He is a regular speaker at Photography industry events and undertakes talks to students, opening their eyes to the possibilities and pitfalls that await them in ‘the real world’. He is a published photographer but much prefers drawing to taking pictures and has co-authored four cartoon books. He is a lapsed ornithologist and has held a fascination with Birds of Prey since childhood.
Andrew has enjoyed a lifelong passion for wildlife which has given him a sound grounding in the natural world. After many years in the state education sector, Andrew was awarded an MBE in 1995 for his outstanding contribution to environmental education through his work at a Hampshire field study and education centre. He is a seasoned wildlife photographer and his pictures have been used to illustrate countless books, magazines and newspapers worldwide. Also an author of note, Andrew has written over 20 books on natural history, co-authoring many more. Now retired, he spends his time on the lecture circuit, lecturing for the likes of RSPB and National Trust, not to mention dozens of local natural history groups and societies. Andrew is also an active tour guide, leading natural history trips all over Europe.
Amy is Editor in Chief of Digital Photographer, Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative magazines. She's been a journalist for over ten years and has a great passion for photography, with a particular interest in photographing the natural world. Previously, she has worked as Editor of Photography for Beginners magazine, before taking over as Editor of Digital Photographer, an international magazine that aims to teach new skills and offer inspiration from the world's top photographers. She works closely with major camera manufacturers such as Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fujifilm, so is often one of the first to preview exciting new cameras, lenses and more. Living in the stunning surroundings of Dorset allows her to get out and explore with her camera frequently, trying out new techniques, developing her skills further and reviewing the very latest photography kit. Links: Digital Photographer, Advanced Photoshop, Photoshop Creative
Nigel Redman has been an active birder since the mid 1960s. He was a publisher by profession, and for 20 years was Head of Natural History for Bloomsbury Publishing, which includes the Christopher Helm, T&AD Poyser and New Holland imprints. He also works as a bird tour leader and since 1982 has guided more than 100 tours for Birdquest, including many to Asia and eastern Africa. He is a former chairman of the Oriental Bird Club, has served on the councils of the British Ornithologists’ Union, the Ornithological Society of the Middle East and the African Bird Club, and has been a member of the editorial board of British Birds since 1998. Links: Where to Watch Birds in Britain , Birds of the Horn of Africa
Paul graduated from Imperial College London in the 1970’s with a degree and PhD in zoology. After 5 years of post graduate research at Sussex University, he embarked on a career in photography and writing. Over the last 30 years or so Paul has written and co-authored dozens of natural history books on subjects ranging from birds to seashore life. A professional wildlife photographer, his images have been used to illustrate the books he writes and have been widely published elsewhere in books, magazines, newspapers and online. The founder of Bird Photographer of the Year he also runs Nature Photographers photo library with Rob Read.
David’s passion for birds started at an early age, he was photographing them by the age of 13 but while at school always had ambitions to be a sports photographer. After a few years as a building society auditor professional photography became a reality, in 1992, having already started working with Tony Stone Images. In 1993 David started a photographic agency specialising in birds. He ran this for over a decade until giving it up to concentrate on his own work as the digital age took hold. His first book was published by Harper Collins in 1996 and he has gone on to write or collaborate with authors on over 40 titles. These include the best selling Bird Photography Field Guide and the widely acclaimed Birds and People. He writes a monthly column Focus on Birds for Wild Planet Photography Magazine, and is a regular contributor to Amateur Photographer Magazine. He has been a frequent speaker at photography events both in the UK and abroad and has held a number of exhibitions of his work. David has received a number of photographic awards including the European Nature Photographer of the Year documentary award in 2002 for his work on Emperor Penguins and more recently won a Natures Best Award for his work on Mongolian Eagle Hunters. He lives with his family in North Norfolk and when not travelling or photographing his other passions in life include F1 motor racing, cooking curries and managing his 4 acre ancient woodland close to Holt, in which he often sits under an old oak dreaming of being a sports photographer one day!
Katie Wilkinson has a degree from UEA in Graphic Design and since then has eight years experience in the publishing industry, most recently as art editor for Bird Watching magazine. Her work has covered a wide variety of subjects ranging from angling and fish keeping to railways and country walking, and has helped fulfil a lifelong love of the great outdoors. Her personal passions include formation skydiving (301 jumps and counting), hillwalking in the glorious Lake District, and in the Lincolnshire countryside from her home in Stamford. As Katie routinely vets and edits covers for Bird Watching magazine she's looking for colourful images which capture movement in a crisp and clear way.
With 10 years experience in the Photography Industry Rob is the library manager and picture researcher for Nature Photographers photo library, an agency specialising in UK natural history images. An active photographer with a keen interest in the natural world, his images have been widely published in books, magazines, newspapers and online. He is also a published author having recently written and collaborated on a number of natural history field guides. Rob is an integral part of the Bird Photographer of the Year team having responsibility for organising the competition, overseeing the judging process and curating the content for the book.
Paul became a serious birdwatcher at the age of twelve, note-taking and record-keeping enhancing his enjoyment of ornithology. The early years were spent around Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire. There, as a teenager, he trained to be a 'ringer', served as a volunteer warden and ran a nest box study; in addition he sat on the Reserve Management Advisory Committee as well as its Bird Records Panel. Since Leaving Nottinghamshire in the early eighties, his roles have included being bird recorder for Christchurch Harbour and a member of the Dorset Bird Club Committee and Records Panel. At various times he has lived near the southern edge of the New Forest, at the base of Spurn Point, close to the north London reservoirs, and on the Isles of Scilly. Currently Paul resides in west Norfolk, where he is the Media Manager for the British Trust for Ornithology.
Paula Stevens is the retiring Director and General Manager of Fixation (UK) Ltd, the renowned London Professional Camera Repair and Services company. For over 28 years Fixation has been dedicated to caring for the equipment needs of professional photographers from every discipline, including many of the UK’s professional wildlife image-makers. She has also taken photographs professionally for events and marketing for some major customers such as Shell, Telecom Italia, Stanley DeWalt, and Dorna Sports, promoters of MotoGP. Besides a full-on career in the photography industry, Paula has had a life-long interest in wildlife, ecology and conservation, and has been a member of the RSPB (Sorry BTO!) and Suffolk Wildlife Trust for over 30 years, and is a keen bird-watcher both at home and when on holiday in Andalusia. She hopes to be spending a lot more time photographing birds and nature in the coming years. Paula is looking forward to using her knowledge of many bird species to appreciate the difficulty of the subject matter, as well her understanding of colour and photographic technique in the judging process.
Amy-Jane Beer is a biologist with 18 years experience in wildlife publishing. She is former editor of Wildlife of Britain and Animals Animals Animals magazine and currently edits Wildlife World magazine for the People's Trust for Endangered Species. Amy has written and edited more than 30 books on a variety of wildlife subjects, and contributes a monthly column and regular features to BBC Wildlife magazine. She is particularly keen on celebrating and protecting the everyday wildlife that enhances our lives in uncountable ways.
Lee Morgan and Lindsay Janes are a husband and wife team of naturalist/photographers with extensive experience of photographing birds and other wildlife around the globe. Both are qualified ecologists, each with more than ten years experience of working as professional wildlife guides, and both have been pointing their cameras at wildlife for more than 25 years. From their home on the beautiful coast of Vancouver Island they operate Lutra Wildlife & Wilderness, a small wildlife travel company that offers a variety of expertly guided wildlife and photographic tours from the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific Coast. Both work closely with wildlife everyday and consider themselves lucky enough to be regularly exposed to some of the world’s great wildlife spectacles.
Max Hellicar is a 16 year old birdwatcher and wildlife photographer based in south Essex. Max has had a massively keen interest in all things nature, especially birds, since the age of four and has been an avid birder and wildlife photographer ever since. Max is also a volunteer at RSPB Rainham Marshes, where he hosted a photographic exhibition in 2015 and will be hosting another this autumn. Max will be studying countryside management for two years, starting in September 2016, and hopes to go into a career involving ornithology and conservation in the future.
Maria lives in the beautiful countryside of Somerset where she grew up having spent many years stomping the Mendips and beyond. Her upbringing instilled a love of the countryside and the natural world that led her to a career in the outdoor clothing and products industry. She progressed from her 'dream job' as a buyer within a large company to setting up Country Innovation, a business that she still owns and runs. Maria strives to give something back to the natural world she loves, and is involved in conservation projects such as Simon King's Wildlife Project and Lynx on the Brink. With an enduring fascination of bird related objets d'art, Maria's house is filled with pictures and sculptures. Her appreciation of the countryside and attention to detail brings an unerring eye to our panel of judges.