Stephen Ingraham

Stephen Ingraham is primarily a writer, with a strong background in both science and education. He got interested in birding in 1987, on a family vacation to Tucson. He started writing about optics for birding in 1988, producing a series of general "what's out there" pieces for WildBird Magazine. Recognizing the need for more serious objective testing and reporting on optics, he established a small circulation news letter, Better View Desired, in August of 1992. BVD emphasized "no holds barred, no no-nonsense, practical comparative testing" of binoculars and scopes for birding. Over the next few years his reviews found their way into an increasing number of birder's hands and began to get the attention of the optics manufacturers. The BVD "Reference Set," "Reference Standard," "Best Buy," and "Product of Special Merit" designations became much prized and respected indicators of quality optics in the birding community. His reviews were regularly quoted in advertisements for Nikon, Swift, TeleVue, etc. In 1995, when Pete Dunne stepped down, he took over as editor of the American Birding Association's Birding Magazine "Tools of the Trade" column. In 1996 BVD went online for the first time, and in 1998 became exclusively a web publication. As a web presence, Better View Desired gets thousands of visitors a month and has become, for many, the first and last resort for optical information. For the past several years Steve has also presented optical workshops around the country, at the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR, at the Nikon School of Birding at Horocon Marsh NWR in Wisconsin, at Maine Audubon Spring Optics Clinics, and at recent American Birding Association conventions in Arizona and Colorado.