Born and raised in the Midwest, Gail Suberbielle has lived in Louisiana for almost 25 years and considers herself a true Southerner. Her interest in nature, particularly birds, began at an early age on family camping trips. Equipped with bird and wildflower guides, Gail’s parents instilled in her and her two brothers a lifelong love for and respect of nature.
As she grew to adulthood, birds became symbolic of beauty and freedom in her life, and Gail began a serious interest in bird-watching. A long-held interest in photography was sparked by two dear friends and talented photographers, Ken and Kristie, who inspired her and taught her some tips with her point-and-shoot camera. Gail had been longing for a DSLR camera, though, and her husband Brian surprised her with one as a Christmas gift, with a bigger lens the following year.
In May 2015, Gail and Brian had the good fortune to visit St. John in the USVI. There, amid the lush beauty of this tiny wild island, she got the first photos that she ever really liked and felt had some artistic merit. When her mom moved to Louisiana that fall for what they knew would be her final months, she allowed Gail to photograph her, which she did until the day before her mom died, as a way for Gail to process the pain of impending loss. Those photos and her writing about the experience can be found on earlier blog posts on this site.
In April 2018, Gail began to realize there might be a way for her to combine her lifelong love of birds and nature with her newfound love of photography. A birthday trip to Grand Isle, La., for the annual migratory bird festival produced a number of photos and exposed Gail to many species she’d never seen before … including the birder’s “Holy Grail,” the painted bunting, the last bird on her mom’s bird life list, and one she never got to see.
She then began to explore bird photography enthusiastically, at her dad’s in northern Michigan, the LSU lakes, her in-laws’ in New Iberia, but especially right in her own backyard and lovely tree-lined neighborhood.
Gail’s philosophy about birding mirrors her philosophy about life, that you just have to “look up.” She views the stillness of waiting and watching the birds as a spiritual experience, with a meditative reverence about God’s presence in the natural world.