An interview with Dustin LeFevre
I grew up in the foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains and developed a deep love of the outdoors through a childhood of exploration. As soon as I picked up a camera I was hooked. My passion for photography and my love of the outdoors have grown together ever since and at times have bordered on obsession that has shaped my life in many ways. I even met my wife Emily through photography by purchasing a lens from her on the local classifieds. Any chance I get, I can be found wandering the desert, looking for cool rocks and seeking conditions that make for unforgettable images and experiences.. As I have progressed, I have really enjoyed sharing my experience and knowledge of photography through workshops throughout the Southwest. If you are reading this, you probably also have a love for photography and I hope to run into you out in the field some day.
How I got to know Dustin.
Like nearly all of my photography friends I got to know Dustin through social media, we both moderate at @jaw_dropping_shots on instagram and I again have loved following Dustin's work. He has some amazing photographs in his gallery and seems to keep his work so pure which is a breath of fresh air these days.
When and how did you first get interested in photography?
You could say photography was in my blood. My mother was always, always taking photos with us. I have always had the need to create which started with drawing but once I picked up a camera I didn’t want to put it down.
2.- If you could go on a photo shoot with anyone who would it be and why?
I am fortunate to have a wife that is also an incredible photographer but I think the spirit of the question is a photographer that I don’t generally shoot with. I am inspired by so many people’s work and there are many I would love to spend some time shooting with. Guy Tal has a special way of seeing the desert and portraying it so masterfully. His way of creating soulful images from the unexpected and his thoughtfulness in his approach to photography have inspired me for years. It would be interesting to gain insights into his creative process.
3.- If you could give a younger version of yourself a bit of advice on photography what would it be?
This is a difficult one. I feel like photography has been an incredible journey and I would hate to rob my future self of that experience. My only advise would be that images can be made in any type of conditions. I have had a lot of fun chasing that epic light and remember feeling disappointed when that epic sunset or storm didn’t materialize. I am sure there have been countless opportunities for creating that I have missed because conditions weren’t what I was hoping for and I didn’t adapt. Slow down and develop a connection with the landscape you are exploring and when things don’t work out according to plan, let your plans change.
4.- If you could only pick 5 photographers to follow on Instagram who would they be?
are simply way too many talented photographers on Instagram to try to
narrow it down to 5. I think it is beneficial to see a lot of
different styles as we are all developing our own simply so we can
know what is possible. But be careful who you follow as their work
will inevitably influence your own work. Try to be mindful where your
inspiration is coming from as to not stray too far from your own
What's the number one place on your photography bucket list right
I think as photographers our bucket lists are eternally growing. Right now I’d settle for anywhere that isn’t home right now but as we have been asked to stay home for COVID-19 I have simply found myself missing my Southern Utah Desert even more. I have developed a deep love for the area over the years and I really am drawn back to it more than anywhere else in the world. I have been really lucky to be able to live so close and visit often over the years. So while my bucket list is full of a thousand places and ideas in the back of my mind, it will have to wait until I am ready to take a break from the Soutwest Desert.
6.- Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Almost exactly where I am now but hopefully with some better honed skills. I do not have lofty photographic ambitions from a professional stand point. I simply aspire to be able to continue to create images and to thoroughly enjoy being lost in those moment.
7.- What is your top photography tip for anyone looking to improve their photography?
We can learn lot from tutorials and mimicking other photographers but there is no substitute for actually shooting. There is no faster or more effective learning tool than practice. Every time we shoot we learn something more and grow as photographers. Never stop learning.
8.- What was the worst mistake you made on a shoot?
You would think I would learn my lesson but I often find myself leaving the vibration reduction on my lens while shooting long exposure tripod landscapes. It may not be the worst thing I have done but since I have done it so many times now it is rising quickly to the top. I can deal with an improper exposure or high ISO left on at sunrise from a long night of Milky Way shooting but its impossible to fix a blurry image from VR.
9.- Who inspires you as a photographer?
This list is huge! I get so much inspiration from the thousands of photos I see weekly that it feels wrong to single out a few people. But I will try anyway. Emily Dickey (@ienjoyhiking), Guy Tal, Benjamin Everette (@bejamin),Jared Armijo (@away_i_flew), David Muench, Jack Dykinga, Alex Burke (@alexburkephoto), Paul Nicklen, Erin Tolie (@erintolie, and Dag Ole Nordhaug (@dag.ole.nordhaug). The list is basically endless! I am also greatly inspired by painters Ed Mel and Ken Harrison (@kenharrisonartist). If one of my images could portray the feelings that their paintings do, I would consider myself lucky.
10.- What does photography mean to you?
Photography is both a way to satisfy my drive to be creative and a vehicle to push me into a deeper connection with nature. I love being outside and without photography I would still be hiking and camping but would I be getting up for sunrise or noticing the way the light hits the mud cracks? Probably not very often, Even though I love those things, photography encourages me to see the world during the best light and to be fully present in those moments of beauty.
11.- What is your favourite hobby outside of photography?
I really enjoy cooking which can give me the same ability to create that I get from photography with the benefit of being able to eat my composition. I also really enjoy camping and hiking which are wonderful hobbies to go along with photography but are enjoyed weather there is a camera with me or not.
us three things people may not know about you.
I can not eat Gluten. I have a big rock collection and Photography is not my full time job.
13.- Which Genre of photography do you love most?
Easily landscape photography, specifically in the Southwest. I am the happiest when I am in the desert among the alien rock formations and endless views.
14.- What music do you listen to while editing photographs?
I actually don’t think I have ever listened to music while editing now that you mention it. Occasionally I will play a podcast or stream some Netflix in the background though.
15.- What's your best bit of photography gear in your bag?
I never want to forget my rocket blower. It keeps my lenses and camera clean from dust and even waterfall spray. I don’t love touching the front element on my lenses and its rarely needed as long as the contaminants are blown off quickly. If you have shot with me I have probably noticed dust on your lens and blown it off without asking.
If you enjoyed Dustin's work then please follow his photographic adventures on Instagram and check out more of his work on his website where you can also purchase some of his prints.
Finally what are you most looking forward to in the next year Dustin?
I am currently working with an awesome group of photographers on the Outsiders Photography Conference. We have one in Telluride, Colorado October 2-4, 2020 with an all star cast from Paul Nicklen, Sean Bagshaw, and Jennifer Renwick! It has been an incredible experience working with the Outsiders crew to put this event together and I can not wait to meet and learn from everyone! Learn more at Outsidersphoto.com! You can also share your photos with a like minded landscape community on our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Outsidersphoto/
Thanks again for taking the time to read this interview, they have been a real eye opener for me.
Please check out my blog home page to see the other interviews with some of the best photographers out there.
Lots more still to come in the next few weeks also.
See you out there,
Kieran Hayes Landscape Photography Ireland 16th of May 2020 5.0 39 My interview with Dustin LeFevre
Landscape Photography Ireland