As a Zoology graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he came to Australia in 1971 and did a Ph.D. in animal behaviour at Sydney University. Then followed a career in information systems until, in 1993, he got the opportunity to combine zoology and computing in fisheries modelling and stock assessment.
Early attempts at capturing birds on film in Ireland were constrained by inadequate equipment. In 1988, Ian bought his first single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, a Canon T70, with an 80 - 300mm zoom lens and became seriously interested in bird photography.
He moved to digital photography 2001 in the form of "digiscoping" using a Nikon Coolpix 990 and a Leica apochromatic spotting scope.
In 2003, Ian took early retirement from James Cook University in Townsville, North Queensland, where he still lives to concentrate on bird photography.