I would like to introduce you to our staff. Each staff member listed contributes to this site in ways too numerous to mention. While they each have a title remember that their contributions always exceed that description. I will be forever grateful for their time, guidance and the enthusiasm that they bring with them.
Debbie Ferrell - Publisher
My interest in nature began many years ago while living in Missouri. There, where I spent much of my childhood at my grandparents' home, I began a lifelong appreciation and respect for nature.
In my late teenage years I purchased my first camera, a Pentax K1000. I began photographing flowers growing in my grandmothers' yard. My attempts at portraiture were disheartening and I quickly returned to the subjects that I loved. Birds and mammals were beyond my reach since my longest lens was a 200mm, so I contented myself to continue with the flora that was so abundant.
Texas became my home in 1986. Shortly after moving I realized that this state offers an abundance of wildlife and that yearn to capture natural beauty on film returned once again. After years with the K1000, I decided that it was time to move to another camera body. The Nikon 8008S was my next purchase. Soon I added the Nikon 500 F4 manual focus lens to my equipment. I was now finally able to photograph birds.
The Nikon was a great addition allowing me to capture portraits of birds. Action shots were difficult to say the least and I decided that auto focus was necessary. capturing birds in flight and mammals scurrying demanded a very fast and accurate auto focus system. I then switched to the Canon system. I now use the 40D, and have the following Canon lenses; 100-300, 400 5.6, 500 4.0 IS. I also use teleconverters, and extension tubes along with my 550 EX flash. I still miss film but I also appreciate what digital technology can do.
My organizational affiliations are with NANPA, Audubon, Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy.
You can visit my personal website at Debbie Ferrell Nature Photography
I live in the Houston area with my two best friends, Bud, a mixed breed and Riley, a female Irish Terrier.
Bill Horn - Senior Editor
Bill Horn has been doing photography for over 25 years (both as a serious amateur and part-time professional) - initially as a photojournalist and now focusing on Nature and wildlife. For the past five years Bill has been seriously involved in Avian photography and working on documenting (on film) the "Birds of Oklahoma". He is a lifelong resident of Oklahoma and lives with his wife, Carla, on some acreage about 15 miles east of Oklahoma City.
Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma and went on to attain his Masters of Arts in Business Management from Webster University. He has worked as a civil servant for the past 20 years and currently serves as a Computer Analyst with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
One of Bill's main goals is to publish "Birds of Oklahoma", a book illustrated with images of and information about the state's varied species of birds.
Visit Bill's site at Birds of Oklahoma.
Deb Barker - Field Correspondent
Although Deb Barker loves all types wildlife, aquatic environments hold a special fascination for her. Deb has enjoyed being in and on the water all of her life. In fact, her mother tells that Deb could swim before she could walk.
Snorkeling began at an early age and she received her scuba diving certification when she was a teen. It was a scuba diving trip to the Cayman Islands in the mid 1980s that was the catalyst for her underwater photography endeavors. She distinctly remembers how awestruck she was at the spectacular beauty of the Caribbean reef environment. Deb was immediately hooked. "I was taken with the idea of being able to document and bring back, on film, some of he incredible beauty and interesting creatures encountered on these trips. The images made it much easier to share my encounters with friends and family. It is my hope that those viewing my images will come away with a deeper appreciation for the environments I photograph and feel more strongly about the need to preserve them."
Since that first trip to the Cayman Islands, Deb has been on numerous dive trips to quite a few other Caribbean island locations. More recently, she traveled to the Galapagos Islands, Cocos Islands, Yap and Palau - all in the Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea.
For her underwater photography, Deb uses the Nikonos V system with dual SB 105 strobes as needed, 15, 20 and 35mm lenses, close up kit and various extension tubes for macro work. Deb says that her love for wildlife is primary, photography secondary. Recently, her interest in photography has grown to include photographing terrestrial wildlife. A generous friend entrusted her with his retired Nikon FE2 with Nikkor 80 - 200mm zoom lens to help her get started. She also uses an Olympus C2100UZ digital camera. Deb expects that this activity between dive trips will help improve her underwater, as well as terrestrial, photography skills. She resides in St. Petersburg, FL.
Visit Deb Barker's Nature Photography at http://www.debbarker.com.
Warren Williams - Senior Contributing Columnist
Warren Williams bought his first 35 mm camera more than 30 years ago, a Minolta, and has stayed loyal to the brand ever since. Although Canon and Nikon have many enviable features, Warren says he is too old and has too much time and money invested in Minolta to change now. His initial interest was in sports photography but he soon became fascinated with the pursuit of wildlife images and an occasional landscape. He has been shooting nature and wildlife for over 25 years now and has visited 26 National Parks as well as numerous wildlife refuges. He says his most fascinating photo experience by far was in Kenya, East Africa. A journal and photos of that adventure can be seen on his website at Warren Williams Photography - Images of Wildlife and Nature.
Warren is retired from Southwestern Bell Telephone and lives in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. He spends most of his time doing slides shows, writing, and, of course, taking more photos. His work has been published in magazines, books, calendars, and post cards. His photo credits include (but aren't limited to!): Outdoor Photographer, Nature Photographer, Outdoor Oklahoma and many others too numerous to mention. Warren has also won numerous awards both locally and on a national level.
In addition to his excellent photography, Warren is bringing us a bit of humor each month in his hilarious adventures (or perhaps "misadventures" of many of his photographic journeys.
Gordon ILLG - Senior Contributing Columnist
Gordon ILLG grew up in the desert of Southern Arizona, and spent as many of his formative years as possible hiking in the Western U.S. After the University of Arizona stopped offering him scholarships and grants, he graduated with a degree in Wildlife Biology, and worked at a variety of unrelated jobs while trying to learn what the dials on his camera did. For nearly four decades now, he has been taking photos, and a few of them have been pretty good. He and his wife, Cathy, have been working full time as professional nature photographers since the turn of the century. Their work has appeared in nearly every major nature publication in North America, including covers of Backpacker, Defenders, Ducks Unlimited and National Wildlife. Several of their images decorate the tails of Frontier Airlines jets, and they have both earned awards in the Nature's Best and Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contests. Their first book, Dynamic Wildlife Photography, was published by Amherst Media in 2004. With the exception of the Images for Conservation Pro-Tour, they now devote most of their time to the instructional photo tours they lead under the name Adventure Photography.
With the advent of dependable autofocus, they switched from Pentax to Canon equipment, and currently have more gear laying around than they know what to do with, including a 30D that failed the "dunk" test. They now reside in the suburbs of Denver, although home is coming to mean a larger chunk of the world all the time.
Richard Ditch - Senior Contributing Columnist
Richard Ditch been looking at birds and taking their photographs since the early 1970's, when he caught the "birding bug" from a friend at work. He was very active as a birder when he lived in New Jersey (1970-1994), maintaining lists of all the birds he saw each year in the state and elsewhere. Rich was a volunteer and field trip leader at the Owl Haven Nature Center (part of the New Jersey Audubon Society) and was a member of the Board of Directors for many years, along with being a frequent contributor to their quarterly magazine and to Records of New Jersey Birds. After moving to Phoenix, AZ in 1994 as a result of a job change, he found the birds to be a lot different and went through a rapid period of learning new species and new forms of species than in the East.
Richard is another of our contributing columnists with his excellent monthly articles on Species Profiles. Please take some time and visit his website located at: Birds in Nature - Images of Wild Birds.
Chris Gamel - Contributing Columnist
Chris Gamel has conducted wildlife research around the world, including raptor biology in southern California, tropical reforestation in Australia, and wildlife management in Kenya. His behavioral study on Elf Owl habitat use in south Texas appeared in the Journal of Raptor Research. His work on Cape fur seal reproduction in South Africa resulted in a doctorate from Texas A & M University. He has published numerous articles on the natural world and recently served as an editor for Wildlife in focus: the coastal bend wildlife photo contest I.
In addition to his literary works, Chris is an accomplished photographer who has won recognition in both the Valley Land Fund and Coastal Bend photography contests. His wildlife images have been published in a variety of venues, including Birding, Wildlife in Focus: the coastal bend wildlife photo contest I, Creatures on the Edge: wildlife along the lower Rio Grande, La Prensa Grafica, and the Pitzer College External Studies Department. Most recently, Chris's capture of an egret in flight received the Grand Prize in the 2004 Utah State Fair Photography Contest. He has been an active member of the North American Nature Photography Association for the past six years and serves on the Education Committee. When not in the field, Chris works as adjunct faculty at Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College where he teaches classes ranging from wildlife ecology to Photoshop for photographers. To see more of Chris's photography, visit his web site at www.Animal-Antics.net.