A Special Interest Group of BirdLife Australia

Follow Us!   


My wife, Sara, and I arrived early on the Saturday morning as we were setting up the BirdLife Southern Queensland table, but even at that time, there was already a good crowd in the foyer.  You could absolutely feel the positive vibes.  Familiar names in emails and Zoom calls became faces to remember and to connect with directly after the past few years of isolation.  Even friends separated by distance were given a chance to meet again face to face.

By the official start time of the official conference, the foyers were a buzz of observation and excitement.  Two years of hard work by the committee was about to come to a head and people were ready to learn and improve their skills.

I don’t think anyone was disappointed.  Tim Van Leeuwen, BLP’s President, set a good foundation encouraging people to take advantage of the learning opportunities and to develop long-term networks.  Presentations of life memberships to Ian Wilson and Glenn Pure and the Tom Oliver Award to Keith Ross-Jones further set the scene of what can be achieved by contributing to BirdLife Photography and becoming involved in a broader community.

Graham Cam’s opening presentation, Birds Inspiring Art - a Timeline of Human Endeavour, was not the sort of talk I think most people were expecting but having said that, it was a fascinating talk looking at bird photography from a totally different viewpoint and has already started discussions by the next organising committee of the broader range of topics to include.

For a single-weekend conference, the broad range of topics and interests was impressive. I must congratulate the committee for organising these into themes that were consistent.  There was little movement between sessions offered in the two rooms indicating that people were interested in the “themes” presented.

Credit to all the presenters for their effort, commitment and passion put into presentations - especially considering that all of this was done in their own time as volunteers.  All of those that I attended were world-class presentations.  I was lucky enough to fill in at the last moment and gave a presentation on Bird Photography for the Absolute Beginner.  Whilst up against a few big names and short notice, I had an excellent audience who were truly interested.  The questions were inquisitive and were from photographers who truly wanted to learn.  I think this was true for the majority of questions that I heard fielded throughout the conference, which makes it all worthwhile for presenters.  This continued in the presentations delivered by the ‘Ask the Experts’ and during breaks having many people join in for the fun and interesting discussion.  It was a privilege to be able to do this and I thoroughly enjoyed our talks.  The one thing we did learn is that a large TV is small in a big area and a massive screen is too big close-up.  And that a laser pointer does not show up on a digital screen, which left a lot of presenters waving an electronic device in the ether.

The raffle!  What a response.  The BirdLife Southern Queensland table was helping the BLP committee by selling tickets.  One of our volunteers (Bridget) was manning the table on the first break.  I remember saying to Sara, that we should check up on Bridget and see if she needs help.  We showed up in the exhibitor room and attendees were queuing out the door.  “I think she needs help”, was an understatement.  We had to send someone to go out to buy more raffle tickets and I had to head back to the car to get more pens so we could get people through.  The raffle was a cash deal, which we need to reconsider in the future.  But a bit of a giggle.  At the beginning everyone was dipping into their wallets and car storage bins to find change.  Then someone discovered there was an ATM in the foyer and we started to get 20’s and they obviously ran out and we started to get 50’s.  And then they must have run out by the end of the conference, and we were getting 100’s.  Luckily, we seemed to have acquired a lot of 20’s and 50’s.  Of course, this would not be possible without the extremely generous support of all the companies who generously supported the conference with their donations.  Attendees were also queuing at the sponsor’s tables to try out the equipment and take advantage of some exceptionally special deals.

Conferences are measured by the food.  I have truly not seen so much exquisite food - from morning tea to the conference dinner.  The conference dinner was excellent.  I would like to congratulate everyone for the solidarity that was offered.  I will get in trouble for this, but I find that bird photographers can be a socially isolated group of people.  I have to say by the end of the dinner I think everyone had found connections and there was laughter and tall stories being told everywhere.

The conference organising committee should be highly commended for the excellent job done putting this together.  For a group of volunteers, they have put on a world-class event.  If you have any questions about the Adelaide event in 2024, my only recommendation to you is to not delay in booking a ticket – you may miss out.  It is a wonderful learning experience and an opportunity to the development long-term relationships.  It is already in my calendar.

Copyright © BirdLife Photography 2016-24.  Website design and programming by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Website Administrator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Website Content Manager: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..