In our last article we explored the artistic talents of Devon LeBoutillier. This month bears witness to the fact that creativity can be a form of inheritance when we delve into the work of her father, Guemes Island nature photographer Chris LeBoutillier. The gifts of a good eye and patience are key to his work. “My typical photoshoot day usually involves getting up before sunrise, because you need to be out when wildlife is most active. Sometimes I get extremely lucky, and the animals will practically pose for me. Other days, I could spend hours deep in the woods and see no wildlife.”
Nature itself is what inspires Chris. Being able to show a part of the world that many are unable to see is inspiring in itself. He hopes when people see his photos, it will help make a difference in protecting and appreciating nature and its wildlife. Wildlife and nature photography has always been his biggest passion. Ever since high school, being behind the camera and surrounded by nature was where he felt the most comfortable. Chris is quoted as saying “There is just something unique about being able to capture the beauty of animals and landscapes. They are both raw, and in the moment. You can’t tell nature what to do and that’s what makes it special.” The “wait for it” moments that he captures are all the better because they bear witness to his dedication to his art and the hours he spends silently waiting for that perfect shot.
The rest of his artistic process is spent at the computer. This consists of going through hundreds of photos, choosing the best of the best, and making edits. The basics of photography haven’t changed much over the years, but newer and better technology has allowed Chris to improve his practice over time. As cameras, lenses, editing software, and social media improve, he is also able to improve alongside them. “I can capture higher quality photos and use platforms that allow me to share my photos with thousands of people,” said Chris. He is a popular favorite on several Facebook groups and spends a bit of time responding to comments on his work.
I asked what brought him to Guemes Island. “After many years of visiting family friends here, my wife Gail and I decided to purchase a piece of land in the hopes of building a summer home.” In 2013 they sold their Redmond home and Chris, Gail, and their daughter Devon moved onto beautiful Guemes Island.
Most of us don’t traipse around the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, so Chris is rarely seen in person. Devon said that he’s like Sasquatch – everyone knows of him but have never seen him. Since Chris was out in the field, I asked Devon what he does when he’s not out taking photos. She replied “that is pretty much all he does. 😂 On the off-chance he’s not on his computer doing, guess what, editing or posting to Facebook, his retirement focuses on eating, sleeping, and breathing photography. You can also find him watching old western movies, doing work around the house, riding his electric bike, or going on hikes (to take photos of course).”
I wondered if Chris had another direction he’d like to take his passion. He has always wanted to photograph exotic animals around the world, but he’s not sure he will ever follow up on that. “The US holds enough beauty and variety in it to hold me over for the rest of my artistic career.” I think I speak for everyone when I say that we’re all grateful for Chris’s dedication to capturing the beauty of our home.
Purchase his photos & products at his website www.fastflash.com
Items also available at the Red Snapper in Anacortes.
Follow him on Facebook to see what he is up to and see his recent photos: www.facebook.com/LeBoutillier.Christopher
“Chris is like Sasquatch – everyone knows of him but have never seen him. So since many of you have not seen him, I added some pictures that he is going to kill me for posting.” – Devon LeBoutillier
You can see where some of his adventures and photos have been taken on iNaturalist.