Perry Cho's bird photos are so sharp the tiny details have attracted the attention of artists across the country, but when his vision suddenly went blurry this year he was worried.
The Warrnambool photographer, who usually raises thousands for charity each year with his calendars, said the condition which required cataract surgery meant he hadn't been able to produce the popular item this Christmas.
"I haven't been photographing for six months," he said.
But the stunning bird images in his previous calendars are now highly sought after by artists who are drawn to the detail in the images.
A photo of his pink robin from the 2022 calendar has now been turned into a painting which has been used on the latest collection of Maxwell & Williams cups, drink bottles, tea towels and oven mitts selling in homeware stores across Australia.
"It's really not my photograph but it's the artist's art work that they put on the cup," he said.
"She found my photo online and then she messaged me and asked if she could use my photo for her Maxwell & Williams."
Mr Cho is so touched by the gesture that he has already bought 10 cups.
The artist, Katherine Castle, said she found the images on Facebook and was grateful he allowed her to use them for her work.
"His work is amazing. You can see all the detail. It makes my job so much easier," she said.
It is a high point for Mr Cho after a year in which a health scare kept him away from the hobby he loves.
"There's no calendar this year because of my cataract. Back in May my cataract went bad I couldn't even read an email," he said.
"I always knew I was getting cataract but it just went really, really bad.
"It was very frustrating. For the first three weeks I didn't say anything to anybody and then it got worse and worse and I went to see the optician.
"I found out it was really bad. For some people it just goes bad, just like that."
But it wasn't until August that he was able to have surgery, and with it taking six weeks for the iris to settle down there was little time left to organise a calendar for this year.
Mr Cho said his sight came back almost instantly after the surgery, but the four-hour wait to see if the surgery had been successful was not easy.
"It was very scary," he said.
"I was nervous because I didn't know if it was successful and if I'd be able to see ever again because my right eye is blind.
"When I was seven years old I played with a rubber band and hit my eye."
Mr Cho said his vision was now better than ever.
"My vision is better than it was before but I tell you what, I was so worried," he said.
"I can see the birds better now."
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