Meet the Young BPOTY judges - Freya Coursey

Freya Coursey.jpeg

I am a 23 year-old, self-taught wildlife photographer from Aberdeenshire, currently based in Glasgow. My passion for all things wild began at a young age, but photography helped to develop that interest by teaching me to look closer a the natural world. I have a Bachelors degree in Zoology, and am now studying for a Master of Research in Ecology, focusing on the biology of tawny owls. Although my research keeps me busy, photography provides a welcome break from studying. I tend to avoid using photography hides, and prefer taking walks and photographing what I encounter. I enjoys the connection found in photographs when the subject is aware of the photographer's presence.

Below Freya shares some of her own photography.

Clouds and corvids On a particularly beautiful evening, I decided to climb the hill behind my parents’ house. These Rooks were flying back to the rookery, and looked gorgeous silhouetted against this sunset. I used my 300mm lens to focus on this dramatic section of the sky and waited for a couple of Rooks to fly through it in order to capture this image.

Gull chicks and lichen The Isle of May in the Firth of Forth is filled with fluffy chicks in the summer, creating fantastic opportunities for photos. However, you need to be careful not to approach them too closely in case you stress the parents. I was lucky enough to find these chicks waiting on an rocky outcrop covered in this beautiful bright yellow Caloplaca lichen. A parent returned soon after to deliver them an unrecognisable piece of meat….

Puffin portrait A few summers ago, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks on the island of Mingulay in the Outer Hebrides to help carry out censuses on seabirds. I had the evenings off to do what I wanted, so of course I spent as much time as possible taking photographs! These Puffins were particularly photogenic, and not scared of humans, so I spent most evenings amongst them, enjoying their quiet humming calls. I took this photo with the setting sun behind the puffin, creating this slightly backlit image.

Singing Robin Evenings might be my favourite time to photograph, partly because I love the blue light, but also because I’m not a morning person! A few minutes after the sun set, I heard a robin singing his heart out. He was perched high above the surrounding vegetation, so I crouched low down to get some gorse in the foreground in order to frame the Robin.

Tawny owlet The late Eric Hosking, godfather of bird photography, famously lost an eye to a Tawny Owl.. This fact was certainly in my mind whilst I was taking this photo! Apart from that, it was a joy watching these owlets slowly work out how to use their wings. I had to work quickly though, as they would only become active half an hour before sunset. Due to the lack of light, this photo was taken with a relatively low shutter speed, requiring the use of a tripod.

Terns squabbling. Arctic Terns are an absolute joy to watch. You can see why they’re nicknamed sea-swallows. They’re so agile and elegant in the air, despite their constant squabbling with neighbours and humans alike. Fortunately the sky was overcast, so correctly exposing this airborne argument wasn’t too much of a challenge.


Rob Read