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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

TOA 2019

The Tom Oliver Award is a Special BirdLife Photography Award established in 2014, in honour of a dedicated BirdLife Photography member, Tom Oliver, whose passion for bird photography and in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of this photographic genre were enthusiastically shared with anyone who sought his company.  Sadly, Tom is now longer with us, but his zeal for educating others lives on through the Tom Oliver Award.  This perpetual award has been made possible by a generous bequest to BirdLife Photography from Tom’s wife, Di Oliver.  BirdLife Photography extends its gratitude to Di Oliver for her generosity.

The Tom Oliver Award is currently offered bi-annually; the inaugural Award was made in 2015.  It seeks to entice photographers and/or photography-educators to create an original and inspiring educational resource enabling bird photographers to advance their photographic knowledge-base and technical competencies. This definition is deliberately broad to encourage lateral thinking and innovation by award entrants.  These resources should promote best practice in photographic techniques and could include aspects such as:

  • photographing small birds
  • photographing birds in flight
  • capturing interesting behaviours
  • compositional elements
  • post-production techniques and workflows
  • ethics in bird photography

 Entries for the 2019 Award closed on 15th July 2019.


Our inaugural award presented to Brian O’Leary provides an example of a high quality entry.  It comprised an illustrated e-book describing a technique to attract and photograph birds at close quarters using medium format telephoto lenses, and an accompanying video presentation of photos and videos captured by the technique.

The 2017 Tom Oliver Award, for the creation of educational resources specifically targeting bird photography, was won by Georgina Steytler - Wild and Endangered -  who submitted an e-book "The Art of Bird Photography".  The sub-title tells what it's about - 10 inspirational ideas to help you turn common birds into Art.

The 2019 Tom Oliver Award was won by Con Boekel, for his Photo Essay "Bird Photography for What?",  This work adresses issues that bird photographers might care to consider while engaging in their profession/pastime.



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The Our People page, in the About Us section, contains email links to each of the committee members.