A life of photography and conservation: Calumn Hockey talks with News Of The Area

Calumn Hockey at home in the Nambucca Valley.

NAMBUCCA Valley resident Calumn Hockey is a professional self-taught photographer and NOTA was lucky enough to catch up with him while he was between jobs at his parent’s farm in South Arm.

In 2023, one of his photos was chosen as a finalist in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition.

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The photo, taken locally in Nambucca Heads, shows how land clearing and housing developments have encroached upon habitat for koalas and other wildlife.

“It was great to finally get noticed,” he told NOTA.

“I had been entering every year for about seven years.”

But Calumn is being modest.

He has rubbed shoulders with the best in his field many times in the past eight years of his professional career.

In 2022, Calumn was awarded Highly Commended in the British Museum-run Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the category of photojournalism.

His photograph, titled ‘Up a gumtree’, captured activists up a large eucalypt in Tasmania.

The same year he took out first prize in the Canopy Awards, a photo competition run exclusively to protect rainforests.

The passionate warrior for nature conservation is often working in partnership with the Bob Brown Foundation.

Last week he returned from a contract with the group, photographing in Cloud’s Creek.

Other clients he has worked with include GoPro, North Face Australia, the Natural History Museum and Landcare.

His work has helped to shine a spotlight on the erroneous behaviour of timber industry crews working in forests all over Australia.

The best thing about his profession as an adventure and conservation photojournalist is the travel, Calumn told NOTA.

“Seeing the places I’ve gotten to go to, like (Mt) Kosciuszko or the West MacDonnell Ranges was really cool,” he said.

“But you can’t go past New Zealand either,” he said.

Next week the prolific traveller is visiting one of his favourite countries, Vietnam.

In September he will be in the Pilliga region of Australia photographing an ultramarathon.

Calumn has mainly worked at locations in Australia, South East Asia and New Zealand, but the avid shutterbug never knows where he will next be called into action to photograph nature under attack.


Calumn’s photograph of Nambucca Heads was a finalist in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition.

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