My Story

My interest in the natural world and photography goes back to my early childhood and by my early teens I knew that I wanted to be a nature photographer and writer. After some delays and detours which included dropping out of school, training as a kindergarten teacher and paediatric nurse and subsequently working for ten years with terminally ill children on an oncology ward which ended with a minor burnout, I moved to Ireland in 2002 and started to work as a freelance photographer.

Four years later my first book The Fertile Rock – Seasons in the Burren was published and was followed by many others including Ireland’s Coast, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, The Wildflowers of Ireland, Ireland’s Heritage Trees, This is the Burren and the Crossbill Guide to Ireland. My first book in German Irland Fotografieren saw the light of day in 2019 and since then I have managed two more publications in my mother tongue: Licht, Farbe und Form in der Landschaft und Reise durch Irland. Although most of my books deal with the Irish landscape, nature and built heritage, I was lucky to also be assigned projects very much out of my comfort zone: I dabbled in the world of food photography for The New Irish Table and portrait photography for Burren Dinners.

All those books led to a series of commissions in the Irish tourism sector for which I had the pleasure to work for clients like Tourism Ireland and The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

 

While traveling all over Ireland and making pretty pictures for books and tourism brochures had its moments my heart was always set on working in nature conservation and I was the happiest when I got a chance to work on - mostly unpaid - conservation projects. I was the staff photographer fort the Irish Peatland Conservation Council during the development of the Bog of Allen Nature Centre, a contributing photographer and author for the Irish Wildlife Trust and I represented Ireland for the international Meet Your Neighbours biodiversity project. In 2020 I was appointed an AnTaisce Climate Ambassador and joined the writing team of Nature First. In the following year I was invited to join the Greensod Ireland Biodiversity Ambassador programme.

 

Everything changed in 2020 and 2021 when the Covid-19 pandemic put a sudden end to my reasonably successful photography career. With tourism on hold for two years I found myself effectively unemployed and was forced to reconsider my livelihood. A new start came in the form of the local grassroots project Loop Head Together where I found myself planning and implementing community projects, first and foremost the Wild Loop Head programme. This eventually led to a position with AstonECO management. At the same time I was assigned to write a natural history guidebook for the Crossbill Guides Foundation, a Netherlands based not-for-profit organisation focusing on nature tourism and education, and after the book was finished I was asked to stay on to implement a partnership programme and help develop new guidebooks. On top of that new book projects are emerging… for me at least the Covid pandemic has been a blessing in disguise.

My Gear

Over the years I have been working with a wide variety of cameras and lenses. When I started taking photography seriously in my late teens the Canon EOS 50 became my first “proper” camera. This was replaced a few years later by a Minolta Dynax 7 and Bronica ETRSi outfit.

I switched to digital in 2003 with the Sigma SD9 and SD10 but also treated myself to a Hasselblad xpan, probably the most enjoyable camera I have ever owned. After finishing my first book the Sigmas got replaced by the Canon EOS 5D and subsequent models which were my workhorses for over 10 years.

When mirrorless cameras appeared on the scene I tried out pretty much every system from Olympus Micro Four Thirds to Fujifilm GFX medium format but eventually switched to Sony. At the time it made sense, Sony’s high resolution sensors and AF technology made it perfect for any assignment the tourism sector threw at me. Personally however I never really warmed up to Sony and went back to Olympus cameras when I wanted to really enjoy my photography.

When my circumstances changed I gave up my Sony equipment and completed my Olympus – now OM Digital Systems – outfit, which I mainly use for wildlife and macro photography:

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Olympus 8-25mm/4

Olympus 60mm/2.8 Macro

Olympus 300mm/4

Olympus 2x converter

For landscape photography I recently discovered the L-mount system (which is a collaboration of Leica, Panasonic, Sigma and DJI). While it is not a camera for everybody, for me the Sigma fp L has become the ultimate camera for landscape photography:

 

Sigma fp L

Sigma I series lenses: 20mm / 24mm / 45mm / 90mm

Sigma 100-400mm/5.0-6.3

 

Plus tripods, filters, cable release and other bits and pieces

 

To process the images and to write my books and articles I use a MacBook Pro with Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar 4, Helicon Focus and Topaz DeNoise, Sharpen & Gigapixel… and Microsoft Word.