About Us

Welcome to our little corner of the web where two “shutterbirds” chronicle, through images and prose, our outdoor explorations and discoveries particularly as they relate to birds and their habitats. We find ourselves in good company here along the Texas Gulf Coast – a mecca for birds and birders alike.

As beginning birders in 2009, we relied on photography to help identify birds that, as novices, we couldn’t identify in the field. Even with our “starter” telephoto lens, we occasionally got good images–which led to an upgrade–which led to an upgrade. You can see where this was going . . . Now, three years later, we find ourselves climbing another learning curve with a bird photography blog as we continue to work to improve our technique as well as our depth and breadth of knowledge.

We set up this site to share our experience and to learn more about birding, ornithology, and digital photography. We welcome legitimate comments and queries. Enjoy!



Chris Cunningham grew up among the frozen wastes of Minnesota with interests in nature and science. As an undergraduate he was most interested in geology, paleontology, and geophysics. He continued his graduate studies in geology, paleontology, and biology.

Chris learned the basic elements of 35mm film photography from his father and used this elementary knowledge to document field work and to produce photos to illustrate lectures, papers, and publications with his Contax/Yashica equipment. Up until recently, however, he generally thought of photography mainly as an illustration tool without much consideration of the aesthetic or artistic aspects of the medium. Although, truth be told, general elements of design and aesthetics started to creep into his thinking as a paleontologist and natural history museum curator in the mid-1990‘s while working with exhibit designers and artists. Chris currently teaches physics in Houston.

Chris Cunningham on tundra above cliffs with sea bird nesting colonies, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska
Chris Cunningham on the tundra above cliffs with seabird nesting colonies, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska.



Elisa Lewis first caught the camera bug in a middle school photography class back in the 80’s where she learned to photograph, develop, and print with black and white film. (Remember film?) At that time, her primary subject matter involved a particularly compliant pet cat. Since then, her photographic interests broadened to include the entire animal kingdom and beyond, albeit with a special emphasis on birds. A biologist and botanist by training and science educator by vocation, she is interested in the power of images to inspire discovery and stewardship of the natural world.

Sit and wait photography at San Luis Pass, Galveston Island, TExas
Ornithological Extremist: Elisa practices sit-and-wait tripod photography along a tidal channel, San Luis Pass, Galveston Island, Texas.

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