I have always loved nature but my passion for photography developed much more recently. I was born in the UK and moved to Sweden in 2010. Inspired by the beauty of this country and its nature I began my journey to become a nature photographer. My most memorable experience was a close encounter with a Great Grey Owl. Being just a few metres away from this beautiful bird that I had always dreamt of seeing in the wild was phenomenal and moved me to tears. While in Sweden I completed a Diploma in Photography. In 2012 I moved to North America and while I was sad to leave Sweden I was excited to explore a different country and its nature. I am an avid birdwatcher and the prospect of being able to photograph so many new species of birds was very exciting to me.
Since moving to Illinois I have become very active in the field of conservation and am involved in several projects and organizations in Lake County. With the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) I am a member of the Volunteer Stewards Network carrying out habitat restoration which involves removal of invasive species such as Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard and planting of native species. I am also one of LCFPD volunteer photographers providing them with nature photographs taken in their Forest Preserves and an LCFPD Education Volunteer that leads bird and nature walks. I am president of the Lake County Audubon Society where one of my roles is to maintain their website and Facebook page. I am a bird monitor carrying out bird surveys for the Bird Conservation Network (BCN) and represent Lake County Audubon Society at BCN meetings. I am also the Lake County Representative on the BCN Survey Council. BCN Survey Council members review survey policies and protocols, maintain contact with land managers and promote conservation action. Other bird monitoring projects I am involved in are Bluebird (LCPFD), Wood Duck (LCFPD) and Purple Martin (Purple Martin Conservation Association) nest monitoring. I also monitor butterflies for the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network. These conservation activities have led to some fantastic opportunities to develop my photography skills and it is wonderful to interact with nature.
I also specialize in zoo photography, capturing portraits of endangered species to highlight the importance of their conservation.
I am Vice President of North Shore Camera Club where I regularly compete and have won many awards. I am also active in Chicago Area Camera Clubs Association (CACCA). In 2017 I was awarded the William J. Cody Award by CACCA for my contribution of articles to their newsletter. In 2018 I was very honored to be awarded the Kohout Nature Award by CACCA. This award is given to an individual who best exemplifies the spirit and efforts of John, ASPA and Kitty Kohout in nature photography. An interest in nature that goes beyond merely taking photographs is required, and photographic accomplishment alone is not sufficient to qualify. The importance of preservation and respect for nature and promotion of nature and nature photography by teaching programs must be a part of the person’s attitude in his or her photographic endeavors.
I would like my images to convey my passion for nature and hope that they inspire people to appreciate the beauty of the planet on which we live.
I have given several presentations locally on my photography. I am available to speak on these topics and others:
1. "Nature Photography -- My Experiences in Sweden and Lake County". I gave this program at a Lake County Audubon Society meeting in March 2015 and at Evanston North Shore Bird Club in April 2017. It detailed what inspired my passion for nature photography including photographs from an amazing experience with Great Gray Owls in Sweden. I talked about the difference in bird species between Europe and the US and gave some nature photography tips. I also showed images and talked about my experiences with volunteering, birding and nature photography in Lake County. This was a 90 minute program.
2. "How to Find and Photograph Owls in the Wild" I gave this program at a North Shore Camera Club Meeting in March 2015 and at Brushwood Bird Photography Club in September 2016. It also included information on my experiences in Sweden, nature photography tips, birding and nature in Lake County. This was a 90 minute program. I presented a 60 minute version at Riverwoods Nature Photographic Society in September 2017 and at CACCA in November 2017.
3. "The Art of Nature Photography". I taught this lesson on nature photography at Click Incorporated in Libertyville in May 2016. This is a more technical based program giving information on how to get started in or improve your nature photography. I also talked about Lake County nature and birding. This was a 2 hour lesson. I also presented this as a 2 hour program for Lake County Camera Club in January 2018 and a 90 minute version at the PhotoKenosha Group in June 2018.
4. "My Experiences of Bird Monitoring and Birding in Lake County": I gave this program at a Conserve Lake County member's meeting in June 2016. I spoke about monitoring Bluebird nest boxes and being a Purple Martin house landlord. I also talked about Bird Conservation Network monitoring and my favorite locations for birding in Lake County. This was a 30 minute program. I gave an expanded 45 minute version at Sedgebrook in September 2017.
5. 4-H Nature Club at Brushwood Center: I was invited to teach at this photography club for kids in June 2016. The first session involved teaching the children the importance of light in photography. The second session was on composition. Each of the 30 minute presentations was followed by a nature walk to put into practice techniques to change lighting on nature subjects and create good composition.
6. "My Adventure in Costa Rica": I presented this 30 minute travelogue program at North Shore Camera Club in May 2017.
7. "Emma England Nature Photography": this presentation showcased the best of my photography. It featured lake county nature and zoo photography. It was presented to the Optimist Club of Deerfield in December 2017. This was a 30 minutes presentation. I also presented this to Deerfield Rotary Club in April 2018.
8. "Bird Brains? New Research Presents Fascinating Evidence of Avian Intelligence": this was 1 hour presentation for Lake County Audubon Society in February 2018 which was about the latest research in avian intelligence.