Photographer Dustin DeBoer
Q: It seems you are very passionate about helping people to “Reflect, Relax, and Rejuvenate” through your photography, has this always been a passion or did a significant event in your own life encourage and motivate you to enter this journey?
While there have been a number of events in my life that propelled me in that direction, it has always been the mission of my life and photography. Both of them are meant to not be just about me. The Lord saw fit to save me from colorectal cancer when I was only 26! Why? What did He really want for my life? That process caused me to think back on my life thereby helping me move forward in a new direction. I went back to graduate school after that to focus on my mission, using the outdoor environment to help people live a life of meaning rather then live a life of mediocrity. The starting of that process is to relax and look at your life with the intent of seeing what makes you come alive.
“Go and do that because what the world needs is people who are alive!” – John Eldridge in Wild At Heart
For others and me this process often happens in an outdoor educational setting. Second, is the aspect of reflecting, a longer time of review to find out what your story is. Then, you can seek to adjust that story by rejuvenating your life to live that life of fullness. For me, this process can be summed up in the verse of, “Be still, and know, I am God.” That is another way I state the concepts of relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.
Q: Helping others find their passion for living seems like it could be a daunting task. Have you ever felt you let those whom follow your work down in some way and if so how?
I have never felt it was a daunting task because I know I cannot do it by myself. That is where faith comes into play. I am to give my best to what I do and in doing so I feel I do not let down my followers. I seek to serve my Lord to the best of my ability. That is as much as I can do. However, where on an earthly plain I do feel I let people down is by not staying in closer touch with people once they are on my social network. That is something I do have to work on.
Q: In regards to your Eagle Eyes photo that inspired me to contact you, what was your motivation for the shot?
That day was a great day in 2009 when I was out doing what I need to do to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate. That was the day I spent planning a photography class trip over to the Mississippi River. I was with one other photographer, Robert Nix of Simply Photo, that day. He and his wife are members of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. The four captive eagles were there. They are there due to injuries, as they would not survive in the wild. Being that close to our nations majestic bird, 4-6 feet, was a special treasure. What motivated me to take this shot, I was that close to this majestic bird and it posed for me. I wanted to capture these birds in their entire splendor. This was one image of forty I took of these eagles.
Q: As every photograph is open for interpretation by the viewer what does this photograph say to you?
To me, this and the other images of these eagles, golden and bald, speak to the awe inspiring nature of this great country we call the USA. These birds, while powerful, can be quite the characters. Although they have significant power, they use it appropriately. While they are beautiful birds, closer encounters may not result in such splendor. Yet as a whole, they are wonderful birds that are symbols of our freedom. We have a great land that we live in with all of the varied people and places to explore.
Q: You have a large number of wide and varied photographs; do you feel you have a specific niche for one type of photography over another? (Do you feel landscapes are your strength over portraits etc.?)
Yes, travel, landscapes, and adventure are my strengths. Second would be event photography or photojournalism. Just look at the Arabian Horse images on my web site to see my work with the later categories. Then compare them to my overall galleries and I think you will agree. Over all though, my niche is my nature, when I am forced to get out there and relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.
Q: What was the most challenging subject you ever tried to shot and why was it difficult?
People and the posing of them for portraits. I am not comfortable positioning people’s faces and other aspects of portraits. Although I can do them, I am not really fulfilling my mission in doing portraits.
Q: What and where was your best shooting day?
There have been many. Among the best of them were three days of shooting. They are all detailed in my book. One was at Mt. Rainier National Park when I spent the whole day out taking photos and reading a book while laying in the lava rock. (To view an image from that day,click here). It was a great day away of reading, writing, and shooting.
I also think of another day when I went to go get a sunrise image also in Washington State. I was working for Youth Dynamics. It was a busy summer as I talk about in my book, Relax, Reflect, and Rejuvenate. Nevertheless, one day I decided I would get up early to go up the mountain forest service roads to the fire tower lookout to capture a truly stunning scene. Click here to view it.
In each case, I was fulfilling my mission and that is when I do my best work!
Q: Did you ever have a shoot on one of those days when everything went wrong?
Yes and no. Most of the time my nature photography works fine no matter the conditions. You work with what you get for weather and surroundings. When it comes to taking portraits that is a different story.
One event I was at was mainly for portrait photography. It was my first real gig for portrait work. While I thought I knew my camera well, I learned I did not know as much as I thought I did. I had to quickly learn how to use an external light source with my camera. That is not a good situation, learning how to use your camera with an external light source while at the actual event. The other photographer that was there proved to be invaluable to me. It was his light set up and his backgrounds. Therefore, he saved the day. He was there to help but I did not realize how valuable he would be for such an event.
If so can you look back on it and just laugh?
I cannot really laugh at it. That is not my way of processing the experience. Rather, I look back on it to remind myself that when I think I have learned many things, I am just beginning to learn! I do not know it all.
Q: What happened?
The other photographer took most of the portraits under the lights. I took the outside images. That was fine with me. The inside images turned out fine for the most part. People were pleased. However, they were not my photos. I am very thankful to Robert Nix of Simply Photo, another FAA member. In the end, we worked so good together that we gave each other reference on LinkedIn.
Q: Do you feel as if you have learned there is all to know about photography or do you feel there is more to learn?
I have more to learn by far!
Q: What is your next goal or project that you will be sharing with your fans?
My next project is two fold. One, I am working on my business and marketing plan to help turn this venture around to profitability rather then investment. This is being done with the help of Renee Phillips. Two, I am seeking to improve my web site functionality. To do that, I have a huge learning curve ahead of me. Learning new web tools, scripts and more is a huge time investment on my end. In the end though, I will be creating a venue to sell my work in addition to a learning center branch of my business. Within the selling side of the site, I am also going to create a Fan section where I will interact more with my fans. There will also be additional resources there for those who take my classes. Speaking of classes, I may be offering internet based classes in the future also. If that is not enough, I eventually would like to feature some other up and coming photographers work as well. First things first though, getting the ROI out of my business and marketing plan.