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BirdLife Photography Biennial Conference

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Meet our Presenters

The 2024 BirdLife Photography Conference programme features many of Australia’s leading bird photographers and our keynote speaker, Richard Flack, South Africa’s premier bird photographer.


Richard Flack (South Africa) | Keynote Speaker

Richard is a husband, dad and professional wildlife photographer from South Africa. By capturing birds in their unique and magnificent environments, he hopes to promote Africa’s birdlife and raise funds for their conservation.

Richard has become well known for his creative approach to his art and teaches creative photography online and at various locations in Africa. He has been recognised in the world’s top wildlife and bird photography competitions having recently received a bronze award in Bird Photographer of the Year 2022 and having his work displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.

He has also written articles for and provided portfolios to some of the top birding and wildlife magazines worldwide and has been commissioned to develop portfolios for lodges, train field guides and provide expert advice.

We are extremely excited to have Richard at our 2024 conference in the Adelaide Hills. He will present on both days of the conference on the following topics:

How do we take great images so we can make a positive difference? and How do we unlock our unique creativity so we can reach our potential as artists?


Find Richard online:


David Stowe (New South Wales)

David Stowe been a full-time professional photographer for almost 30 years photographing mostly people, however his love of photography started with nature and the environment.

Whilst Sydney is home, his heart is constantly drawn to the bush or outback in search of rare and beautiful birds and the sense of peace that being in nature brings.

His photographic career has seen him win numerous awards including the overall winner of the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year, and three-time winner of the AIPP NSW Nature Photographer of the Year.

He also achieved a double Master of Photography with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.

A critical and creative thinker, David has had the immense honour and pleasure of being part of the judging panel at the state and national AIPP awards as well as the Birdlife Australia Photography Awards.

David’s current passion has seen him become focused on education and teaching others about photography and how to get better images of birds and wildlife. In 2017, he and great mate Henry Cook started Flock Wildlife Photography Tours to further that vision.

His ultimate aim is for his images to bring joy and inspiration to people and show the importance of protecting our natural history.

David will be treating us to a talk titled, Composition: The Art of Seeing.

Find David online:

Duade Paton (Victoria)

Duade has a passion, some say an addiction, for bird photography, and loves nothing more than being out with his camera and enjoying nature. 

He enjoys all types of bird photography but has a special interest in shorebirds and waterbirds. He gets a lot of joy and satisfaction when his photos are used in campaigns to help protect Australia’s wonderful birds.

Duade loves sharing the joy of bird photography with others. His YouTube Channel, where he shares his tips and tricks for taking great bird photos, is one of the most popular in the bird photography world with over 73,000 subscribers.

He is very much looking forward to chatting and engaging with everyone at the conference and is happy to answer any questions people may have.

Duade’s much anticipated talk focussing on getting the most out of your camera gear is titled: Go to camera and lens for bird photography

Find Duade online:


Shelley Pearson (Western Australia)

Shelley has more than 15 years’ experience photographing birds and has spent countless hours studying the light, environment, and of course, birds, to capture something unique in her images.

In the earlier years of her photography journey, Shelley focused solely on capturing bird behaviour but as her confidence and skills grew she started to experiment more with light and found her preferred artistic style.

Shelley’s passion is to inspire and motivate others to express their creative artistry when photographing birds. She has been running bird photography workshops for many years, and in recent years has gone professional. One of her focus topics is teaching clients the importance of light and how to shoot creatively into the light to create dramatic images. This combined with teaching the skill of taking complete control of the camera, gives her clients the tools to capture beautiful images.

Shelley’s inspiration comes from light, water, and the natural habitat. When presenting, she uses a variety of images and videos that clearly demonstrate the concepts she teaches – concepts critical in helping photographers understand how to use the environment to obtain those special shots.

You’ll enjoy Shelley’s talk on this topic called: Photographing birds creatively

Find Shelley online:


Nicolas Rakotopare (Queensland)

Nicolas is a Gold Coast-based conservation and nature filmmaker/photographer and Associate Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers. 

Originally from Madagascar, Nicolas has now been in Australia for 15 years and have spent most of my career documenting wildlife, science, nature and conservation for NGOs, documentaries, science communication projects and more.

Nicolas’s film-making skills are in high demand. He has shot and edited dozens of nature and conservation films for organisations like Threatened Species Recovery Hub, Channel 4 (UK), the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and more Nico has had footage broadcast by BBC Earth, Netflix, ABC, SBS, PBS and other services.

He was recently awarded for his rainforest photography and won two categories at the Canopy Awards 2022 and was shortlisted in the 2018 Birdlife Australia Photography and Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Awards.

With video such a big part of modern camera equipment, Nicolas will present on Filming Birds: the technical aspect for better storytelling and capturing behaviour.

Find Nicolas online:


Raoul Slater (Queensland)

Raoul has been photographing for 40 years and mastered 35mm, medium and large formats and the wet darkroom before moving on to digital in 2009.  

His interests are eclectic: ceramics, pre-sapien humans, mathematics, fine art, botany and fungi, the history of photography and comparative anatomy. These interests are filters on his photographic lens.

Raoul’s presentation at the Gold Coast Conference in 2022 was one of the most well received by participants. This year he will focus on how we as photographers interact with our camera and subject and is titled, Left hand, right hand, eyes and brain

Find Raoul online:


Nathan Watson (Western Australia)

Nathan has a passion for bird photography and his creative use of light and other techniques enable him to capture artistic images that showcase the beauty of his subjects.

His home on the south coast of Western Australia is rich with flora and fauna and bucket-list species, but it’s the more common bird species that have given Nathan some of his most creative shots.

Those shots have won Nathan multiple awards in the BirdLife Australia Photography Awards, as well as being shortlisted in the international Wild Art Nature Photographer of the Year in 2022 and commended in 2023, finalist in the 2023 Bird Photographer of the Year, and a finalist in the 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

In his talk, Photography is an art form, and light is the essence of art in photography Nathan will share some of his award-winning work and other images, talk about his approach to capturing those images, and the different lighting scenarios you can look for in the field to take your own wall-hangers.

Find Nathan online:


Athena Georgiou (Western Australia)

As a child Athena spent many wonderful times in South Africa’s Kruger National Park where she learned to wait silently for animals, birds and even dung beetles to emerge from the long grass. She learnt the infinite art and gift of patience – a key attribute required for bird photography.

After moving to Australia, Athena became a birdwatcher. Australia’s exotic parrots and noisy birds inspired her to plant a bird-attracting garden in the early 1990s. Of course, she then had to buy a camera to record them all as they arrived. Her love of bird photography blossomed in tandem with her garden.

Although not a professional, Athena has had many of her photos published in Australian Geographic, calendars in Australia, Cyprus and South Africa, and delivers workshops on Sony cameras.  Some of Athena’s photos have been used by BirdLife for various causes, including the anti-duck hunting lobby in South Australia.

Athena will deliver a light-hearted talk titled: Stay calm, put the camera to your eye and become calmer.

Find Athena online:


Keith Lightbody (Western Australia)

Keith has been photographing wildlife since his teenage years, and particularly enjoys the challenge of photographing birds in flight. 

In recent years he has run many bird photography workshops and freely helps individuals with camera setup and technique. As a hang-glider pilot he also flies with birds.

Keith will be giving a highly anticipated talk on one of the bigger challenges in bird photography: The Art and Science of Photographing Birds in Flight.

Find Keith online:


Michael Snedic (Queensland)

Michael Snedic is an accomplished bird and wildlife photographer, a writer and an experienced tutor. His photos and photographic articles have been published in numerous publications both in Australia and internationally.

Michael has been photographing across Australia and overseas for the past 29 years and tutoring for 20 years.

Michael is a Nikon School tutor in Queensland. Some of the magazines he contributed to include Australian Photography, Australian Geographic, Wildlife Australia, Australian Birdlife the UK’s prestigious BBC Wildlife, to name a few.

Michael will be presenting his talk entitled: Bird photography – it’s more than just portraits.

Find Michael online:


Luke Paterson (Northern Territory)

Specialist guide and owner of NT Bird Specialists Birding & Photographic Safaris, Luke Paterson, has been photographing birds and wildlife of northern Australia’s remote tropical savannah’s for over 22 years.

Post-study conservation endeavours first took Luke to the Broome Bird Observatory as an Assistant Warden, where his childhood passions for photography instilled by his father, triggered a love of bird photography. 

Acute sight, hearing and immense local knowledge of northern Australia’s flora and fauna cycles aids the production of Luke’s photographic outcomes and more importantly, sets guests up perfectly to capture wonderful images of their own.

Luke’s expertise lies in combining years of in-depth professional knowledge with finessed ethical field craft to share the joys of bird photography with guests from around the world, as well as working with Aboriginal ranger groups, national parks and supporting local communities to survey and promote the benefits of responsible tourism.

Spending countless hours exploring the bush has only made his passion for birding and wildlife photography grow stronger. Luke personally enjoys the challenges of capturing birds in flight and behavioural patterns, as well as more traditional bird portraiture. 
Luke loves a challenge and will not give up easily.

Luke’s conference presentation is appropriately titled: A guide to photographing northern Australia’s tropical birds.

Find Luke online: