Born and raised in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, Chris developed an early affinity with the coastal saltmarshes and their birds. Discovering a waxwing eating cotoneaster berries in the front garden during the winter of 1963/64 was probably a defining moment in fostering an interest in nature, and learning that a schoolfriend had similar interests led to many shared birdwatching excursions which continue to this day. Photography seemed to be a natural consequence, although it was pretty rudimentary at that time. His first camera was a second-hand Zenith B, bought for £15, and resulted in some badly developed Ilford HP4 in the school darkroom.
After gaining a joint honours degree in zoology and plant biology from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Chris began a career with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - first as a nature reserve warden, then research biologist, and ultimately staff photographer for 14 years. The photography is largely self-taught, but was greatly encouraged by a friendship with Bobby Tulloch during three summers working in Shetland in the early 1980s. By now the proud owner of an Olympus OM-2, Chris remembers a significant first week on the isle of Yell, when he was fortunate enough to be able to photograph a bearded seal, a red-footed falcon, and a school of pilot whales, as well as the red-throated divers he was studying. There was no going back!
Since 1998, Chris has worked as a self-employed professional nature photographer for clients such as English Nature, WWF-UK and RSPB. Author of "Photographing Wild Birds" and winner of a number of awards in international competitions including the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in 2007. His work is regularly published in "BBC Wildlife and RSPB's "Birds" magazines, for example. Chris continues to be passionate about all aspects of nature and wildlife photography, and its role in conservation. The NPP is a great way of sharing that love with others, gaining inspiration and exchanging ideas.
Web site: http://www.chrisgomersall.co.uk