A MONMOUTH teacher is taking early retirement to concentrate on a new career after discovering a hidden talent for wildlife photography.

Linda Wright, 58, developed an interest in photography seven years ago when she bought her first digital camera and took it with her on walks in the Wye Valley.

Despite never having taken lessons, she has had her work featured in wildlife calendars, magazines, websites and on a CD cover and has won various photography awards.

Ms Wright started capturing images of wildlife on the banks of the River Wye in 2003 and found her best pictures were of birds in flight.

In 2004, she took a six-month sabbatical from her job as a biology teacher at Haberdashers School for Girls and volunteered at the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) in Newent, Gloucestershire.

She said: “I had my camera with me all the time and took thousands of photos of large birds, like eagles and vultures, flying.”

She began uploading her work onto picture agency website fotoLibra, which displays photographers’ images enabling companies to purchase them.

One of her photographs appeared on the cover for Manchester indie band The Courteeners’ single You Overdid it Doll, which reached number 28 in the UK chart in February, and another, of an eagle’s feather on water, was purchased for the New Scientist’s 2010 calendar.

She has also won various awards, including the Nikon WWT Photo of the Year Award 2007 for her picture of a swan and KLM and Canon speed competition for her swooping albino kestrel image.

Ms Wright visits the ICBP most weekends and captures hundreds of images - her current camera, a Canon 7D with 300mm lense, can take eight frames per second.

She has also begun writing about photography for online magazines and running workshops for local camera clubs.

“I don’t have enough hours in the day for my photography,” she said.

“If I’m not out taking pictures, I’m putting them onto my computer and it looks like it’s going to be a new career for me.”

Ms Wright will leave Haberdashers after 34 years next month to focus on photography and teaching photography at the ICBP.

To view more of her work, visit her site by clicking the link below.