Nature and photography have always been closely linked for me. Birds have been my passion since my earliest memory. For much of that time, bird photography was equal parts lust and frustration as I dreamed of images that I knew I could never capture with the equipment I could afford. So I focused on other subjects, and by happy coincidence my work and aptitudes preadapted me for the digital age. I immersed myself in imaging software and techniques even before digital cameras were a practical reality. The invention of digiscoping, a makeshift coupling of a point-and-shoot camera with a telescope, finally let me taste the thrill of long-lens photography. I was hooked before I started!
In 2005 I took the plunge and invested in a "dream" setup of professional camera gear. The years since have been the fulfillment of my initial dream and the inception of many new ones. I have traveled more widely, observed nature more closely, and experienced life and light more richly than I had ever imagined I might. My love of birds, even the most common and "unspectacular" species, has been reborn and amplified. I have made wonderful new friends and worked with some of the finest photographers alive. I have learned volumes about the art and science of photography as well as the private habits of birds and other creatures, and I have discovered an unending source of fascination, challenge, and continued growth as a photographer and biologist.
I draw many kinds of inspiration and insight from nature, from artistic to scientific to philosophical. For every image I capture, I see a thousand I wish I could. I still feel that every image is a gift, and I am honored to be able to share some of them with you.
David Seibel is a native Kansan and lifelong birder. He holds a Ph.D. in ornithology from the University of Kansas and is a biology professor, author, poet, and popular lecturer as well as an avid nature photographer. His passion for birds has taken him to three continents, eight countries (including a transformative expedition to Amazonian Brazil with his daughter Emily), most of the lower 48 states, and Alaska. An expert in field identification by sight and sound, he has seen more than 630 species in the United States, and over 400 in Kansas alone. His knowledge of birds, photography, and computer technology converged in 2003 when he undertook the art of digiscoping (super telephoto digital photography through a telescope), which quickly propelled him into a second career in photography with professional Canon equipment. He has now captured tens of thousands of digital images of birds and has hundreds of published photos to his credit. An award-winning faculty member at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, Seibel has also published several scholarly and educational works and is a coauthor and contributing photo editor for the authoritative Birds of Kansas, published in May 2011 by the University Press of Kansas.
Photograph courtesy Bret Gustafson, 2005